Port Ban at Easter

Port Ban at Easter. It’s cold but not frosty. Very little sign of new greenery emerging yet, except for some clumps of daffodils, bravely thrusting their striking yellow against the dull greens and browns of last year’s vegetation. Last night, the sea across to Jura was a strange colour tinted by a green-brown reflection from clouds, themselves illuminated underneath by a sun partially obscured by mists as it dipped away behind Jura’s striking geology. Some hardy campers grace the site with their colourful tents, but the noise and excitement of the season’s heights strangely absent. There seems to be an air of expectancy, a temporal pause, a lack of something in the atmosphere. The creation of a new Spring seems to be waiting. Waiting for some warmer air perhaps? But it will happen. And when it does there will come an explosion of growth. In a few short weeks the trees will be in leaf, grass will need cutting, ferns waist high. Wild flowers will abound.

But on that first Easter Saturday, the world was on hold. Jesus was dead and buried. The Sabbath rituals going ahead. The Jewish leaders satisfied that their problem had been dealt with. But Heaven was looking on, in expectancy. In a few hours the greatest event this world has ever seen, was about to take place. In a spiritual explosion of eternal significance, Jesus came back to life, conquering the grave. Like the Spring soon to come, it was unstoppable. No power on earth could confound God’s master plan.

In this age of global political instability, most put their hope in things settling down to a point where their comfort is undisturbed again. But there will be a next time. And the cycle of mayhem will restart. But the cross, the empty tomb, the risen Jesus – these were once only events that established stability in the universe; the stability of God’s Kingdom. No political mayhem here!

So this Easter Saturday, I’m grateful, grateful for a God Who, by His grace, has given me the opportunity to be part of His plan, and that one day I’ll experience my own Easter Sunday. Hopefully not just a few hours away! But it will come one day, when the final bit of God’s plan for me clicks into place, and the jigsaw of my life is completed. May all of us who have a relationship with Jesus, experience the reality of Easter afresh this year. And as the old chorus says, “And the things of life will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

How are you getting on with your jigsaws?

Good Friday

Good Friday 2018. I wrote in my prayer diary this morning. “How can the Creator of the Universe do so much for those so little?” This is a question that the secular world cannot grasp or answer, because of denial. Denial of God, denial of our origins, denial of the amazing love and presence of a God Who loves us, without limit. There is no end to God’s love and commitment for us. There is nothing we can do to stop it. We can’t deny it is there. All we can do is accept it, secure in the knowledge that He is always there for us. And how can we respond? The only way is through acceptance of the fact of the Cross at Calvary – where Jesus died so that we can live. Forever. And leave our sins, our struggles, our worries, our fears, our confusions, our sicknesses, right there in His presence. To die on that Cross with Him. And we know how it ends up – Sunday’s coming!

My Bible reading this morning took me to 1 Corinthians 1:18, “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction.” But it’s not foolish to me. The message of the Cross gives me a hope and a future. So this morning, I am sitting here with a grateful heart. Still wondering, “How can the Creator of the Universe do so much for those so little?” But accepting its reality. Perhaps you can too.


A dear friend passed away yesterday, a fine Christian man. By today’s expectations, he wasn’t old, just mid-70’s. But he had been battling, uncomplainingly, with a rare form of blood cancer, for many years. But there came a point, earlier this year, when he felt the battle had to end. But his Godly faith ensured his place in eternity, and the questions we discussed will have all been answered. His worldly suffering is behind him. He is in Heaven now, filled with inexpressible joy. Secure in Jesus’ presence. In my last conversation with David he said, “Christians don’t have to be afraid of death, do they?” And neither was he.

And as my prayers passed to his wife and family, my thoughts turned to his legacy. Everyone I have spoken to have good memories of David. His wit, his charm, his kindness. His willingness to do anything for anyone. His legacy can be seen in his family, the community (all the bulbs he planted in the last year or two are bursting out of the ground in flower, celebrating his selfless hard work), in the memories of the many people who had the privilege of knowing him. Someone said to me today that whenever she and her husband had a conversation with David, he always left them with a smile on their faces. But that was David, enriching all who came into contact with him.

We all leave a legacy after passing over the great divide. In their worldly life, Christians have a hope and future, and they leave a legacy of faith, exampling their trust in their Saviour. They leave memories that challenge the hopelessness of secularism and humanism. In recent weeks, two prominent men have passed away – Billy Graham and Stephen Hawking. Stephen left a legacy of being able to communicate scientific knowledge. Billy, a legacy of being able to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. One’s legacy will fade into scientific history, possibly important to man’s knowledge of the world around us, but insignificant and unimportant in God’s world. But Billy’s legacy has enriched the lives of thousands, and has enabled them to put their trust in the Saviour and has given them a hope and a future. His legacy is one of great eternal significance.

David didn’t reach thousands, as far as I am aware, but he has reached many and I pray that his memory will bear fruit, the fruit that lasts, in the lives of those God brought into his life. And I wonder if David right now is looking around Heaven for a place to plant a few bulbs.

I’m a Priest

1 Peter 2:9 “…for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” (NLT)

I’m a Priest! I’m not just any old Priest. I’m a Royal Priest. A Priest related to the King. Chosen by Him to be one of His children. And made Holy through Jesus’ redemptive work at Calvary. But what has that to do with being a pilgrim? Well, quite a lot actually. As I tramp my way through this life, along with all my fellow pilgrims, I have a duty to fulfil the next bit in the verse – showing others how good God is.

The world in my locality is a wet and slushy mess of ice crystals, the legacy of a blast of cold air meeting some warmer, moister air over the UK, the temperature and conditions being just right for a massive dump of snow. And it’s piled in heaps everywhere. Cold and wet, slimy and slippery, unwelcoming and unpleasant. A warming band of air is bringing some relief, melting and reducing the ice piles, but it’s a slow process. But that’s a bit like living in this world, populated as it is by a people experiencing the dump of darkness; of disease, grief, strife; relationships gone cold, sin abounding. I need to be diligent in facing into my responsibilities as a Priest of the High King, bringing the warmth of the goodness of God into the icy lives of those around me, who are heading for a lost eternity. Helping them to emerge from the dark places of their souls, praying that God’s love will melt their hearts, bringing His light to their lives.

Many years ago we used to sing a song based on this verse. Here are the lyrics:

For you are a chosen generation,

A royal priesthood, a holy nation,

A peculiar people,

That you should show forth the praises of Him.

Who has called you out of darkness,

Out of darkness,

Out of darkness,

Into His marvellous light,

Into His marvellous light.


I’m so thankful that someone put that verse to music – it’s been with me for over thirty years. Never forgotten!


More Snow

This has been a hard winter. Cold and ice in quantities not seen for many years. And today another few more inches of snow, blowing in a strong East wind, bringing drifts up to several feet deep in places. Our resident Westie, with his short legs, has quickly become disillusioned with this icy layer, and seems to have lost his appetite for his usual shenanigans. So our routines are disrupted. Activities and plans have had to be postponed and rescheduled. But this morning, before I lapsed into musings on the injustices of life, heading for a negative, downward spiral, I read the first verse of Colossians 3. Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of Heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honour at God’s right hand. The realities of heaven. Much more fruitful to muse on that! The snowy environment soon becomes an annoying nuisance, but Heaven? No cold, icy blasts there. No flurries of frozen water penetrating to where it is least welcome. No Heavenly Met Office, warning of a red zone of danger, spreading doom and gloom through the media outlets.

photo.JPGBut we have a different perspective. We can lift our spiritual and physical eyes up off the slushy ruts of living in this fallen world, and instead focus on Jesus, and our eternal home. Where our Saviour is preparing a mansion for us. What will it be like? No-one knows for sure. But it will be more like Eden than Edinburgh. Speaking of which, let’s be like the penguins at Edinburgh Zoo, a tourist video this morning showing them having a ball welcoming the falling snow. In the same way we can welcome the grace of God pouring out from His very throne, touching us with His love and mercy.

Well, the sun has appeared – time to clear the path yet again.