Who Am I?
What a glorious Lord! He who daily bears our burdens also gives us our salvation.
In the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic work Les Misérables, the protagonist Jean Valjean comes to a crisis point in his life when he becomes overwhelmed by his guilt as a former criminal and convicted felon. In a strikingly emotional scene, Valjean asks the penetrating question, “Who am I?” As he considers his past, his present, and his future, he wrestles with the reality of his guilt and his deserved condemnation before man and God.
He is forced to question his identity and his integrity and to reckon with the innocence of a man falsely accused because he has been wrongly identified as Valjean. Though Valjean has escaped being known as a convict by changing his name and identity, he has to come to grips with the truth about who he really is—a convict whose prison number is 24601.
Many readers of Les Misérables don’t know the significance of that number. Literary scholars argue that Hugo assigned Valjean that number as a way to identify himself with his protagonist, because it signified the date on which Hugo believed he had been conceived—24 June 1801 (24-6-01). Hugo was identifying himself with Valjean as a sinner not simply from the moment he first sinned but from the day of his conception. Hugo very well could have had in mind what David confessed: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5). That’s who I am: my identity, by God’s grace, is in Christ.
It is a rather surprising statistic that over ninety-two percent of all university students, according to recent studies, don’t really know who they are. The Bible says that man is an immortal soul. When God made man in the first place, He created him and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). One’s soul is the essence, the core, the eternal, and the real person. And he will be restless until he opens his life to Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord.
Only through the Spirit’s work in us through the gospel of Christ does God show us who we really are so that when we are moved by the Spirit to ask, “Who am I?” we can humbly and boldly declare: “I was conceived in sin, born a sinner, deserving of condemnation, but I have been born again by the Spirit, have been united to Jesus Christ, and am bound for glory. That’s who I am: my identity, by God’s grace, is in Christ.”
Who am I? The best answer is the same one that Paul gave two thousand years ago. “But by the grace of God, I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10a).
What say you? Who are you?
Love in Christ,
Almighty God, Father of us all, you are always with us
and we can only ask your forgiveness for the many times we forget this in our daily lives.
We thank you that we are created in your image and are loved without limit.
Help us to discover our true selves and to accept our need of you.
We bring all our burdens to you, Lord, our faults and hang-ups, our doubts and fears.
Lord, you know us – better than we know ourselves. You know our needs
– and the greatest is you - to know true peace of mind and soul that we are yours.
Forgive us for the times we feel our faith is weak and we’re just a “dead loss”!
But you are a God of mercy and you can change us.
Help us to see things with your eyes, to speak with your lips, and to love with our Saviour’s heart.
We depend on your mercy and trust in your love to overcome all that is evil without and within.
In Jesus’ name
PRAYERS AND WORSHIP RESOURCES
Opening the Church for Private Prayer
The Scottish Government announced that churches could open for private prayer from Monday 22nd June 2020. Since that time, our church has been looking at how we can offer this opportunity whilst keeping volunteers and visitors safe by minimising the risk of COVID-19 infection.
A dozen or so of our members have volunteered to host openings and we are aiming to open twice a week for an hour on each occasion. However, before we set a start date for this, a number of important steps have to be taken. These include:
• the need to undertake both a detailed property risk assessment and COVID-19 risk assessment;
• the church cleaner undertaking a deep clean of the areas open to visitors - the sanctuary and front entrance;
• the planning of cleaning during and between visits;
• the purchase of recommended disposable protective wear and cleaning materials for the cleaner and volunteers;
• removal of church Bibles and soft furnishings;
• the introduction of a one-way system and designated pew usage which gives our sanctuary the capacity to hold 30 people when observing the 2m social distancing requirement;
• production of welcome signage and guidance for visitors;
• revisions to fire evacuation procedures for the areas in use; and
• the production of a volunteer handbook to promote the well-being of all users.
As yet, a date for opening can’t be agreed until our risk assessments and preparations have been scrutinized and found sufficient by the Church of Scotland. Please be patient, and bear with us until then!
Check back here for updates.
Welcome to Blairgowrie Parish Church's website.
We’re a Christian community in the beautiful Perthshire town of Blairgowrie.
We are a church family of ordinary people who have experienced God’s love in Jesus. We seek to live and teach the Christian faith so that people can understand it and respond to the message it offers.
Whatever your reason for coming here – whether you are in need of help; searching for a church; looking forward to your wedding or baptism; exploring faith or simply planning to visit the area – come and visit us, we'd love to welcome you.
Rev Benjamin J A Abeledo