Tackling some of the big questions of life and engaging people in talking about the Christian faith has been the aim of events at Burghead Free Church of Scotland.
Interview evenings have been held including talks from Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, Eddie Murison, a former criminal and interviews with Paul and Sue Hopkinson, who spoke about God and grief.
Families were invited to see Stephen Allison, a magician and former member of the Edinburgh Magic Circle, perform his show ‘The House Always Wins’.
Rev Peter Turnbull, of Burghead Free Church, said: “Life is short. Wrestling with the big questions is really important. There are big questions like: what I am here for? Who is Jesus? What does he require of me? What does he have to do with me?”
The Real Life events, which have been open to the community, have been addressing these questions and sharing the good news of Jesus. They have also been an opportunity to talk about the difficulties of life and how God can bring us through those dark times.
Church members Paul and Sue Hopkinson spoke about experiencing the grace and help of God following the death of their son, David, in 2008.
Sue said: “I was very shaken but around the time of David’s death I felt so carried with this inner strength and the strength given to me by other people. There was practical help and spiritual help.
“It’s all very well believing when things are going well, when you’re successful and happy, but if the unthinkable happens will your faith hold. For me it did hold, and in fact it strengthened.”
Paul reflected that the pair had known that God was with them throughout. He encouraged people to think about life and faith in God, saying: “Each moment in your life is precious; seize the moment and give each moment to God.”
Moving experiences of how God has been with people in the darkest of times and has changed their lives were shared throughout the fortnight.
Eddie Murison spoke about his difficult upbringing and the subsequent path he took into a life of crime, violence, gangs, stints in prison and the underlying fear he faced throughout his childhood and teenage years. But God transformed his life after a Church of Scotland minister visited him in prison.
Eddie said: “He came to tell me the good news but he didn’t tell me he had his whole church praying for me – I had no chance!”
He recalls how a church minister spoke the truth of God’s love and shared the gospel with him.
Eddie said: “I wasn’t a gangster – I was a scared boy who hurt because I didn’t want to be hurt. But God got me in a corner and sent someone to me to say that I love you. Powerful words. It’s changed my life.”
It was a pivotal point for Eddie. God began to change his heart and gave him a real love for Christ and to share the gospel with others.
Rev Peter said the fortnight was a great opportunity to share the good news of Jesus in the community.
He said: “We’re now looking forward to following up these events with a three week ‘Hope Explored’ course which gives folks an opportunity to think more deeply about the Christian faith and explore the Hope that Jesus Christ offers by looking at Luke’s gospel in small groups.”
Interviews and events from the fortnight are available to view on the Burghead Free Church of Scotland Facebook page.