Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Walk on, Walk on....

I'm really pleased to have had the opportunity over the last week or so to visit Scotland, partly to support More than Gold 2014 as it seeks to support the Church in responding to the opportunities that will come through Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and partly to experience and interact with other Christian events and initiatives that are taking place.  More than Gold is a great resource for the Church.  I have been fascinated again though, just as I was with London 2012 (the Olympics) at how difficult it can be to motivate Christians and churches to see the opportunities that are present to engage with people through these Games.  I hope and pray that as Glasgow 2014 draws nearer so more and more churches will open their premises and their hearts in welcome and hospitality and seek to find ways of connecting with visitors and the community around them.
The stained glass window of John Wesley

Having arrived in Inverness late on a Saturday night I was really pleased to be hosted overnight by the Revd Nigel and Mrs Kim Rodgers.  They were a model of Christian hospitality.  Nigel is the Minister for Inverness Methodist Church http://www.invernessmethodist.org.uk/ and it was good to share in Sunday morning worship there.  This year is the 250th anniversary of the first visit of John Wesley to the town and there is a rather nice stained glass window in the church to commemorate this.  When he visited all those years ago Wesley was prevented from preaching outdoors because of the rain but was invited to preach in the High Kirk.  See the accompanying pictures of the stained glass window, a model of the High Kirk made by some of the young people of the church and a photograph of the High Kirk itself.

A model of the High Kirk

The High Kirk itself

Then it was on to Fort William to share in a Sunday evening service which was a dedication service for the West Highland Way Bible Relay due to start the following morning. There is a posed photograph at the starting point of the West Highland Way on the local church website http://www.thedmac.co.uk/welcome.htm just before starting.

The idea was to carry the Bible on the route but also to give out Penny Gospels on the way.  Almost immediately we had an opportunity to give out a gospel.  As we reached the end of Fort William High Street we met a woman who said "I am lost".  What a gift to a Christian.  She meant she could not find the Council Office, but we made sure we explained what we were doing and gave her a Penny Gospel as well!

A Penny Gospel being given out by churches
as part of the More than Gold 2014 initiative
I was prompted to think of the song "You'll never walk alone" often associated now with Liverpool Football Club but with a history that goes back further than that.  As a few Christians set out along the West Highland Way with a Bible and some gospels I was convinced that they were not alone.  I was sure that at each change over of the relay there was one who continued the walk - Jesus himself.  At the end of Matthew's Gospel in the Bible (Matthew 28:19-20) he said that he would be with us "to the very end of the age" as we went making disciples.  What a wonderful promise for those walking the West Highland Way, and indeed for all of us.  As we go through life and meet both joys and challenges what a comfort to know that we do not have to walk alone.  So walk on, walk on, and remember the promise of Jesus that when we allow him to he will walk with us.

More to come on the Scotland visit.....