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Scottish Charity No. SC010818


Rev Owen Derrick - Happy New Year!!!

New Year is a time of great celebration in Scotland.  I’m not quite sure why it has developed into quite as big a deal here, although I might hazard a guess that the copious amounts of the alcoholic beverage bearing the name of the nation might have something to do with it!  And of course, no New Year party would ever be complete without a rousing rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” – penned by our national poet, Robert Burns. 

The words of “Auld Lang Syne” may give us a glimpse as to why we Scots choose New Year as a time of joyful reflection and remembrance.  Here’s the complete poem:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And auld lang syne! 


For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 

We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp! 
And surely I'll be mine! 

And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne. 


We twa hae run about the braes, 
And pou'd the gowans fine; 

But we've wander'd mony a weary fit 
Sin' auld lang syne. 


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn, 
Frae morning sun till dine; 

But seas between us braid hae roar'd 
Sin' auld lang syne. 


And there's a haun, my trusty fere! 
And gie's a haun o' thine! 

And we'll tak' a right gude-willie waught, 
For auld lang syne. 


This is a poem of friendship through the years.  It talks of childhood camaraderie that is little dampened by the passing of time and a bond that – even though the subjects have “wander'd mony a weary fit” and been separated by “[braid] seas” that “hae roar'd” – remains strong and trusty.

Perhaps there’s a lesson in this New Year tradition for us.  As we begin a new year, it is an opportunity for us to ponder our life journey and look back at the year – perhaps even the years – gone by with gratitude and love for those whom God has blessed us with in our lives?  The Bible is full of examples of the kind of time-transcending friendships and bonds that “Auld Lang Syne” hints at: David and Jonathan, Jacob and Esau, Ruth and Naomi, Paul and Timothy.  I’m sure you could add others.  Such friendships last a lifetime and enrich us in ways it is hard to explain, and easy to take for granted.

Yet even as valuable and life-giving as such bonds undoubtedly are, there is one relationship that each of us has that surpasses all others in its depth, width, height and breadth.  Through Christ, God has befriended us in a way no other friend can.  Before we were formed in the womb, God knew us (Jer 1:5), and God will know us for all eternity (John 3:16). 

So here’s another poem.  This one was written by Joseph Scrivens and it – like “Auld Lang Syne” – lifts up a valuable friendship.  However - unlike “Auld Lang Syne” - the friendship it lifts up is not a distant one, or one that has to suffer the pain of separation.    This New Year, let us reflect on THIS friendship and rejoice that, with all that has gone on between us and Jesus, this friendship is a very current one that we celebrate today – not just for Auld Lang Syne!

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.



Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.