Rev Janice Aiton


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 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

ACTS 1: 1-2

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?

ACTS 2: 5-7

I don’t know if you have heard of the butterfly effect. Edward Lorenz was a physicist working in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the computer modelling weather systems. He devised a programme which, once he had typed in certain meteorological observations, could calculate at least in theory, what the subsequent weather pattern would be. One day he made a mistake, instead of typing into his computer a piece of data consisting of six decimal places 0.506127, he accidently only inserted the first three digits 0.506. He being a thorough researcher decided to redo the programme, although intuition assured him that such a small error, one in a thousand could not possibly affect the results significantly.

To his amazement when the computer gave the new results, it was completely different from previously. Lorenz could not believe it as he later explained, it was just as if a tiny atmospheric disturbance in Peking, no greater than the beat of a butterfly’s wing should a week or so later give rise to a force twelve hurricane in New York. Hence the name of his discovery “The Butterfly Effect.”

It is this butterfly effect you see operating not in meteorology this time but in history. The ripples of Jesus’ life became tidal waves. Jesus’ death and resurrection had set in motion ripples that were to expand first in Jerusalem, but then in Judea and Samaria and finally to the ends of the earth. We see a minor Jewish sect transform into a major world faith through the spoken word and practical action.

This butterfly effect can happen today in the way we live and treat others. This week is Christian Aid Week and we think of the poverty and starvation many are struggling with in Zimbabwe. I think it would be great to see the little we give here in Scotland having a butterfly effect in Zimbabwe offering them hope, life and transformation.

Reflect on this video and consider how the disciples spread the good news by word and practical deed and in what ways does Christian Aid do that today, and how might we participate in that?



PRAYER ( Adapted from Christian Aid Resources 2022)

Creator, Son and Spirit,

we gather together,

online to seek Your presence in our time of meditation.


Meet us at our point of deepest need.

Connect us with the needs of others.

Equip us to join in your creative work.

Transform us more into your likeness.


We gather with Janet, Jessica and Jerina

and their communities in Zimbabwe

May their stories make us hungry for justice

and even more impatient for change.


We gather with all of creation;

with the mountains and the hills.

We shall burst into song,

with the trees of the field

we will clap our hands.



St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.

St John’s Bellringers on Border Life video


Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.


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