Kilrenny Church Chronicle for Sunday 21st June.
Monday 22 June 2020
KILRENNY CHURCH CHRONICLE
ISSUE 14 Sunday 21st June 2020.
Kilrenny Church website
East Neuk Covid19 Emergency help numbers:
0800 999 6543 - 07818 414178.
or telephone (01333) 311408
Worship and personal reflection:
''our homes are in a Real and Important way the places of worship''
Mathew 10: 24-39
Praise CH 4 Hymn 251
I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard my people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people’s pain.
I have wept for love of them.
They turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak my Word to them.
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord.......
I the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them.
My hand will save.
Finest bread I will provide
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give my life to them.
Whom shall I send?
Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.
Take Up Your Cross
(Matthew 10: 24-39)
In Matthew 10:5 through 23, Jesus has just given his disciples the "limited commission" to preach the good news of the kingdom to the people of Israel. Having given them their instructions, he then warns them about what to expect, and it is not pleasant. He cautions them to be wary of men, because men are not to be trusted. Men will try them in the courts. They will beat them in their synagogues. They will be brought before governors and kings because of their commitment to Jesus.
Jesus encourages them with the promise of inspiration during these hardships, and assures them that they will always say that which God desires. In verse 21, Jesus continues his warning to the apostles with descriptions of family betrayals of disciples as a consequence of following Him. In spite of the predicted persecutions and hardships, Jesus expects His disciples to remain faithful, even unto death. He offers them some comfort with the promise that God's judgment upon Israel will be soon.
Today happens to be ‘Father’s Day’ in the secular world, and the role of a Christian Father and a Christian Mother is more important today than ever before; ‘family’ relationships can be the glue that holds society together.
Our passage today talks a little bit about what it takes to be a good Christian, a good follower of Jesus. And it implies some things about being a faithful Christian parent.
To summarise Matthew 10:24-39
 "A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master;
 it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, (Satan) how much more will they malign those of his household!
 "So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.
 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.
 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
 And even the hairs of your head are all counted.
 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
 "Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven;
 but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
 "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
 and one's foes will be members of one's own household.
 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Today’s reading isn’t the easiest of readings to comment on, and I must confess I cast an eye over the alternative readings listed for today in the lectionary. But; our faith isn’t meant to be ‘comfortable’, so I stuck with Mathew’s gospel with all the uncomfortable messages it contains. Jesus wanted us to hear this, so why should we ignore it?
If we were asked today to name some characteristics of Jesus, what would you name? If you were describing the personality of Jesus to someone, what adjectives would you use? In this reading, Jesus is not portrayed as most people imagine him to be; GENTLE, FORGIVING, and LOVING. We normally hear how Jesus loves His enemies, cures the sick, and feeds the hungry. The Jesus we see in chapter 10, verses 34-39, is not the Jesus we normally hear about. This is where Jesus is being "brutally honest”, He holds nothing back here. "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword"(v.34).
What a shocking statement! Jesus "did not come to bring peace, but a sword”! Why would He say such a thing?
What Jesus is doing here is He is correcting false assumptions about what the Jewish Messiah's mission was. According to Isaiah 9:5-7, the Messiah is described as the "Prince of Peace". The interpreters of the Hebrew Scriptures took that to mean that the Messiah would be the "Prince of Peace" ON EARTH. That, however, was not Jesus' mission. The ultimate goal of the Gospel was, and is, not harmony on earth, but PEACE WITH GOD (Rom.5:1).
Jesus says, "Do not think that I came to bring peace ON THE EARTH", but He did come to make peace between God and humanity (Rom.5:1).
I think we would all agree that peace does not come easily. Right now, all over the world, wars are being fought. And it would be ignorant for us to suggest that these countries are enjoying being at war. Peace is always preferable, but the reality is, when two sides strongly disagree on something conflict is inevitable.
The same goes for the Gospel. The goal of the Gospel is NOT conflict - with God, or with each other. The goal of the Gospel is "peace with God" (Rom.5:1). The difficulty is that the Gospel is such a penetrating message that it acts like a "sword". It pierces the consciences of humanity and calls us to love God more than we love ourselves.
Jesus warns us that profound conflict should be expected between those who accept the Gospel and those who reject it.
When you go to work, what do we usually talk about; Sports? Fashion? Home repair? Anything and everything, but seldom religion.
When your family gathers at Christmas, what do you talk about? Anything and everything, but not usually religion. Why? Because honest, from the heart, discussions on religious beliefs inevitably causes conflict. Even with fellow Christians, conflicts arise when it comes to getting straight the message of Jesus.
Nowhere in this section is there the sense that we should run from this conflict either. It is presented as an inevitability. A man’s enemy WILL be the members of His household" (v.36). That doesn't give us permission to be obnoxious for the sake of the Gospel. This does not give us permission to pick fights with people who don't share our views. We are still required to be gentle, patient, loving, and gracious towards everyone. The cause of conflict SHOULD NEVER BE our personality or our manner of presentation. The only legitimate cause of conflict is the CONTENT of the message. An abrasive personality should never be the "sword" - the content is the "sword" - the Gospel is the "sword".
After warning His disciples about the potential the Gospel has for conflict, Jesus reminds them of their need for loyalty. Jesus tells them that "he who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me" (v.37).
Now Jesus isn't calling us to dislike our family members. And even though Luke's version would have us "hate" our family, we must conclude this to be relative. Scripture is clear in its command for us to "honour (our) father and (our) mother"(Ex.20:12). And Scripture makes it clear that we should love our spouses (Eph.5:25).
So, what is Jesus getting at here? Quite simply, He wants us to make Him our first loyalty, and to emphasise this, He names the two things most precious to us: our family and our own life .
Those of you with aging or ailing parents, think about how you devote yourselves to seeing that they are looked after. Those of you with children, think about to what extreme you would go to, to defend, protect, and look after your children. You invest your valuable time and resources in them on a daily basis. Quite frankly, you put your "heart and soul" into your care for them.
Then we read this passage, "he who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me".
If we work hard to love, and care for, our parents and children that is expected; Jesus is NOT asking anyone to abandon their love and care for family. What Jesus is calling for here is, that you put the same energy and care into your relationship with Him, as you do with the people you love most. In fact, He calls for more. This is the mark of a Christian disciple: ONE WHO PUTS JESUS FIRST.
Christians should be known as hard workers at work. Christians should be known as good parents and committed spouses. But above all, Christians should be known as people committed to Christ; committed to Him above all else.
And just in case those listening to Jesus' message still haven't figured that out yet, He drives the point home with this challenging statement: "He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it"(v.38, 39).
What does Jesus mean, "take (our) cross"? Some people describe their chronic illness as a "cross" to bear. Others will name everything from their nagging boss to their car trouble to their mother-in-law as their "cross" to bear. But this is NOT what the word "cross" meant to a first century audience. The "cross" did not call to their minds the idea of long-term difficulties or troublesome burdens. Even though Jesus had not yet revealed how He would die, the disciples knew the meaning of cross bearing well enough. To bear a cross was to shoulder a heavy wooden beam on the way to one's execution.
No, this doesn't mean disciples of Christ should go and get themselves killed. Christianity does not teach salvation by martyrdom. What Jesus is calling for here is loyalty so profound that one should be willing to make the most extreme sacrifice if necessary.
The apostles of Christ did just that. According to the Bible and a book written by cleric John Foxe, first published in 1563, titled Foxes’ Book of Martyrs all of Jesus’ original 12 Apostles were martyred except for Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus and the Apostle John who died of old age at the end of the First Century. At least 6 of them were executed by crucifixion.
In the 20th century Europe, few, if any, of us will ever be in danger because of our belief in Christ. Yet the Word of God still challenges us to make sacrifices for the sake of the Gospel. And making sacrifices of time and resources is never easy. In fact, sacrificing may make us quite uncomfortable and cause us distress. But this is the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ. This is not to present the Gospel as some charity case that needs our contribution. Not sacrifice to a "charity case", but sacrifice to a God who came to us in human form and made the ultimate sacrifice - He died for us.
He died because He loves us. And He wants our loyalty not simply because we owe it to Him. Christ desires our sacrifice to have the same motivation as His - LOVE.
May you resolve today to follow Christ no matter what the cost is. And may you resolve to follow Him day after day because you love Him.
Let us pray
Lord, give Your people Your peace that we may shine brightly in a dark world.
Grant us the courage to live faithfully even in the midst of hard times.
Let our fear of You be the beginning of wisdom rather than allowing the fear of the world to drive our actions.
Help us to embrace our heavenly citizenship and live strangely in the midst of a world that needs to know You.
Show Your mercy and heal those who are suffering in Your fallen creation.
Most of all Lord, come, restore the world You have made and make all things new. We pray that Your will would be done. Amen.
(With thanks to George Walker for leading worship this week)
Praise: CH4 533 Will you come and follow me
Let us pray (Allan)
A Prayer for this Day
Thank you for this morning, the start of a new day with unknown challenges and pleasures ahead.
A new start with the mistakes, failures and regrets of yesterday gone forever.
This is going to be a good day, one when we’re glad to be alive.
A day to love, give thanks and seize the opportunities you present to us.
I start this day with you in my heart and mind.
As I prepare myself, give me the armour, shield and breastplate to go in to battle for you with the sword of the spirit in my hand.
Break my fast with your daily bread, the Bread of Life, to sustain me throughout any trials and hungers I may encounter.
Help me to keep my mind focussed only on that which is important, all too easily I wander in my thoughts and lose sight of that which you have tasked me with.
All too easily my mouth drops its guard and I upset or offend those dear to me and, yes, even You Lord. Help me to be aware of the hurt and wrongs I can do in just a few words, and guide me in my speech and language.
As I go about my daily tasks, help me to seek excellence in my achievements. Not to make a name for myself but to make a difference.
Help me to treat each and every person I encounter on my travels through this day with respect and love. If needed, let me forgive them any wrongs they may do me and may I recognise and ask for redemption any wrongs I in turn may cause to happen.
As I walk through this day keep me from stumbling from the straight path you have led me to. It can be so easy to diverge from this path, Lord keep my eye on that road ahead, may it lead straight to you, so that at the end of this day I pray I have made you proud that you asked me to follow you.
And then as this day comes to an end, I am so grateful you have been with me, your presence felt as I muddle along.
And then, tomorrow as it begins again, let me live the day as though it were my last, giving thanks for every good and perfect gift you choose to give and seeing me through another day.
One of my favourite hymns is this one for closing the day.
Praise: CH4 220 The Day Thou Gave us Lord Is Ended.
The day Thou gave us, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest.
We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.
As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.
The sun that bids us rest is waking
Our brethren ’neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.
So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
Thy kingdom stands, and grows forever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.
Our Lord's Prayer,
Our Father, which art in Heaven
Hallowed be Thy name
Thy Kingdom come
Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil
For Thine is the Kingdom
The power and the glory.
For ever and ever. Amen
(Thanks to Allan for leading our prayers each week).
Jim (McKane) offers a suggestion, for inclusion in our personal prayers, to remember families dealing with schooling as best they can, as well as those helping with local food banks and indeed those using them.
Sunday Worship on Radio 4 at 08:10 Songs of Praise on BBC1 Sunday 1.15 pm.
Church of Scotland - Kirk Services online
www.churchofscotland.org.uk/worship Rev Dr Amos Chewachong:
Rev Ian W. F. Hamilton
“A CLEAN SLATE!”
I once overheard two friends talking and as their conversation progressed it became apparent that the one had offended the other. “I’m really sorry that I said what I did, please accept my apology.” “Oh well,” said the one offended, “tomorrow we begin a new week and with a new week we all get a clean slate.”
Intrigued by the response I set out to discover just exactly where the saying had come from! It goes back to the days when schoolchildren didn’t use jotters. Instead when they were doing their work in class they would write with a slate pencil on a slate!
But there was one problem. When the children made a mistake there was no way of rubbing it out! Only when their slate was completely filled up were they allowed to wash it clean…hence, a “clean slate!”
There’s a lovely bible story concerning someone who was given a clean slate, his name was Peter.
When Jesus was arrested Peter denied three times that he had ever known Jesus. “I swear I do not know him,” Peter said. However when Jesus’ sufferings were over he returned to Peter and said, “Peter, do you love me?” “Yes Lord, you KNOW that I love you,” responded Peter. Here was Peter’s “clean slate” - his chance to start afresh as Jesus washed Peter’s past denials clean from the slate.
Some words from the children’s hymn sum up Jesus’ loving, forgiving strategy quite succinctly:
“JESUS LOVES ME, HE WHO DIED, HEAVEN’S GATE TO OPEN WIDE; HE WILL WASH AWAY MY SIN, LET HIS LITTLE CHILD COME IN.”
Jesus gives all of us a CLEAN SLATE – “the Bible tells us so!” (Ian)
Postcard from Kingskettle
Rev Michael Allardice
We have all done things in our past we’d rather forget and hope that others don’t get to know about. Things happen within families: words said, acts committed that are the cause of pain and regret. Likewise, every society has its dark past. The more you study the past, the more you’ll find shameful incidents and examples of intolerance. Recent events in the United States have reminded us of the undercurrents of racism that bubble close to the surface of that society and have led to the resurgence of the Civil Rights movement and Black Lives Matter. In Britain, we cannot claim any superiority.
Our involvement in the Slave Trade from the 1500s through to the abolition of slavery in 1807 (although it would be 1833 before it was finally abolished), means we have little to claim in terms of moral high ground. Those of you who know Glasgow well, will be familiar with the magnificent Merchant City and George Square, the very visible display of wealth the city earned from the Tobacco Trade, the third side of the Atlantic Triangle that took slaves from Africa to the Americas, Tobacco from the Americas to Scotland and guns & other goods to Africa as payment for the human cargo. History is rarely glorious, and the role Scotland played the slave trade needs to be acknowledged and understood.
As a historian, I appreciate that sometimes history throws up “facts” that people struggle to accept or find difficult and would prefer to avoid or ignore. However, we must understand that history cannot be neatly packaged up into episodes that only project those things we are comfortable with. The same can also be said of the history of the Church. From Biblical times onwards, there have been things within the history of our faith and Church that I’m sure many of us would be happy to cover up and ignore. Slavery, the place of women in society, same-sex relationships; all these issues and more have had to be re-evaluated over the centuries as we have come to understand better ways to live together.
The desire to remove symbols of colonialism and oppression is understandable, however the danger is that simply removing them doesn’t resolve the underlying issue of acknowledging the pain and suffering these symbols represent. Anyone who has visited former Communist countries will be aware of what are sometimes called “statue cemeteries” where Lenin, Stalin and others have been consigned to a dumping ground on the outskirts of towns and cities to quietly rot. Surely, this abandonment of history is just as bad as leaving them in place – we ought to ensure that if symbols are removed, then they must be placed somewhere where they can be explained and contextualised appropriately. Understanding our shared history is crucial to creating a future when people can grow together and bring good from all the pain that has gone before.
All of this may seem a little esoteric for those of you living in the East Neuk, far away from the centres of power and mercantile enterprise, but we should never forget that many sailors from the local villages were involved in all sorts of escapades over the centuries – not least Alexander Selkirk of Lower Largo, who became Daniel Defoe’s inspiration for Robinson Crusoe. History is always just around the corner and in places like Kilrenny or Cellardyke, we are never far from it. Much of that history should be celebrated, but where there is darkness to that history, we should acknowledge that history as well as the pain it may have caused and look to how we can make amends or at least ask for forgiveness.
One aspect of gaining that understanding is asking for forgiveness from those we’ve wronged – both on an individual level and at a community level. When Jesus was asked which was the most important commandment, He responded with the classic response: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind…and love your neighbour as you love yourself”. This simple statement of faith boils down all the theology, philosophy and ideology into a straightforward credo that ensures we can all understand the need to treat everyone we encounter in a way we would want them to treat us: with respect and with love.
As individuals, we need to keep this simple mantra in our hearts, but as a society we can also improve the lot of all those around us with the same straightforward approach.
I want to finish with a note of positivity. This week, one young man has made a real impact by telling his story of growing up in poverty and asking that children from poor communities be remembered this Summer to ensure that they get at least one meal a day. Marcus Rashford is now a very highly paid Premiership footballer playing for Manchester United and could be forgiven for sitting on his laurels, seeing his family right and ensuring his own future is secure. His letter and campaigning for free School meals over the Summer holidays has ensured that thousands of families will have one less thing to worry about. Likewise, the older generation in the form of Captain Tom, now Sir Tom Moore has shown that a simple act of kindness can be turned into a magnificent inspiration for fundraising.
Loving our neighbours can come in many forms, but most importantly we need to acknowledge the humanity we find in each one of us. Love has the power to overcome so many obstacles.
We should never forget our history, but it cannot be neatly packaged up into cosy tales, it must be acknowledged that there are dark parts to our past and we ought to recognise those aspects of our history just as much as the heroic episodes of chivalry. Black lives matter, all lives matter equally, and we must stand up in our communities to speak for those unable to speak for themselves. Whether it is poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia or any other form of discrimination, we need to stand up and be counted with those who need us most.
The Kirk Session is in receipt of a lengthy document - Guidance on the reopening of Church Buildings - issued by the Church of Scotland, together with advice from St Andrews Presbytery.
It sets out a range of essential requirements for health and safety which must be complied with before re-opening the Church.
Worship cannot, under Government rules, commence until, at the earliest, stage 3 of the release from lockdown.
The Kirk Session is currently making plans to ensure full compliance with the health and safety measures to enable worship to recommence in Kilrenny Church as soon as it is permitted.
Congratulations to Christine and Tommy Morris, who I understand celebrated 65 years of married life earlier this month. Our best wishes to you both and we look forward to seeing you both again in Kilrenny Church hopefully in the not too distant future.
Happy Birthday wishes to Susan Arnott, (who I believe is 21 again!!)
Autumn unveils a Celtic cross
In the heart of the woods in the Irish border village of Killea in County Donegal, a 'mysterious' Celtic cross appears each autumn.
This giant 100m (328ft) long Celtic cross first appeared in the autumn of 2016, baffling passengers flying overhead towards City of Derry Airport.
It was the inspiration of a local forester (Liam Emery) who planted two species of trees. The main body of the cross is Larch, which turns gold in autumn, creating the Celtic cross, in a forest otherwise planted with Spruce.
MAKE HASTE SLOWLY
Two wee stories to share about patience, a virtue we all need to cultivate, and which is a very vital element in the Christian character.
1. There is an old story of an American millionaire who came upon a gardener mowing the lawn of one of the colleges in Oxford. 'I sure would like a lawn like this back in my home in Chicago. How do I get going?'
The old gardener said with a smile: 'You'll need some of our native soil'
'Oh, that's okay,' said the go-ahead American, 'we'll soon have a few hundred tons of that shipped over.'
'And some grass seed,' said the gardener. 'Okay,' the American agreed.
'And you must take care the ground is drained and levelled to begin with,' the gardener explained.
'And you need a good top dressing. I'd sow the seed in the autumn; and the grass requires rolling and cutting in the spring, and then rolling and cutting again all the summer through.'
'I get you! And how long do we have it rolled and cut?'
'Well, if you want one anything like this, then I should say two hundred years would do it.'
2. Susanna Wesley taught all her children at home, and taught them well.
'I wonder at your patience,' her husband said to her on one occasion. 'You have told that child the same thing twenty times.'
The wise mother of John and Charles answered: 'Had I satisfied myself with saying it only nineteen times, I should have lost all my labour.'
Romans 5:3 'But we glory in tribulation also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope'.
News of those wearing a Dog collar!
Doddie's diary and the trials of Ann
Doddie is an outdoor kind of guy. If he were human he would definitely be a sportsman. He already shows great potential as a golfer as he has had many holes in one: - holes in one’s jumpers, holes in one’s trousers and holes in one’s socks! He would be up for any water sports, especially ‘wild swimming’ (clean water is not so attractive). He is a quick learner only having to be shown once, and thanks to Alfie Arnott he now knows the best way into the burn. However, once in he is reluctant to come out, he wants to wallow in and eat the mud. His new found lady friend Bella Bogle has also led him astray. She showed him the gate that he had never been through before was the way to a deep, dangerous and stagnant pool, which he discovered for himself the very next day. It’s not that I am a really mean Mum it’s just that the harness that fits a very fluffy dog behaves like a knitted swim suit when he is wet –Doddie becomes skinny and the harness becomes baggy and droopy and likely to snag on hidden branches. As to free fall sky diving – well he is up for that too. Scrambling through holes in fences made by foxes with a deep incline or drop is great fun. As all this happened over two days I am now eyeing up the possibility of Valium for my shattered nerves. Doddie's freedom has been restricted until a bit until older, stronger and maybe wiser (he may not achieve the latter). Ann
Susan and Alfie
Hello Everyone it's Alfie again.
I've had a very exciting week. It was my birthday on Tuesday and I am now 11 years old. Mum made me a birthday cake with sardines, smoked salmon trimmings, carrot and kibble. It was very tasty and didn't last long. I also had a walk with Doddie Thomson. He gave me lots of kisses! !!
On Wednesday it was Mum's big birthday (she was not 11!!) We met her best friend at Silverburn for a socially distant picnic. We had a lovely time. Lastly, Mandy from the kennels came and picked me up to go and see my pals at doggie day care. What a busy week.
Hope all is well. Take care. Lots of love Alfie and Susan xx
Sheena and Hamish
2 weeks have passed since my last update on Hamish and his antics. This Monday he will receive his last vaccination and 7 days later we will be able to go outside the garden for walks for the first time; this is something we are both looking forward to. He is coming along well as he has had no social interaction with other dogs and people, it will be interesting to see how he reacts. The fun/interesting things he did this past week:- chasing after me as I was carrying a pot of hot chicken soup to the vestibule to cool (something I always do before putting in the fridge). When I lay the pot on the floor Hamish appeared and lay on top of the pot as if to say 'Mine' much to his disgust I removed him. Yesterday I went up to the top of the garden with him and as always, he started rummaging around in the flower beds getting more and more excited by the second. When it was time to go indoors I called him to follow me back to the house. He rushed by me at a rate of knots carrying what looked like a large clod of earth in his mouth (one of his favourite hobbies just now). In the kitchen, he ran straight to his bed to protect his precious find. Wanting to avoid the kitchen floor being covered in clumps of soil I distracted him by offering him some puppy treats - he immediately dropped his prize and I managed to retrieve the clod which to my horror turned out to be a headless baby rabbit! The Magpies are brutal this time of year. While he was munching his treats I quickly wrapped it up in kitchen paper and put the carcass into a plastic bag then the dustbin. Fortunately, by the time I'd done this he had forgotten all about it. Usually, cats are renowned for bringing back dead gifts to their owners - Hamish it seems is an exception to the rule.
Hoping everyone is safe and well.
A history lesson
(courtesy of Malcolm)
Do YOU remember the meaning and origin of old sayings & customs?
In 1500 Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water.
The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water,
Then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children.
Last of all the babies.
By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.
Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the Bath water!"
Allan & Sybil's Quiz answers
Here are the answers to the 13th quiz about local place names.
1) Lundin Links 2) Upper Largo 3) Colinsburgh 4) Kilconquhar 5) Earlsferry 6) St Monans 7) Pittenweem 8) Abercrombie 9) Kilrenny 10) Anstruther 11) Kingsbarns 12) Pitscottie 13) Largoward 14) Cellardyke 15) St Andrews 16) Arncroach 17) Spalefield 18 Boarhills 19) Ovenstone 20) Lower Largo.
Allan & Sybil's Quiz
Over the last couple of weeks our church should have been ringing to the sound of some glorious music from the East Neuk Festival. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be this year but here are twenty jumbled up musical instruments for you to unscramble. Not all of them will be found in an orchestra though. Hope you manage to hit all the right notes.
- ROBOT MEN (8)
- MELTED TURK (6,4)
- CD ON CAIRO (9)
- ALICE RIG CUTTER (8,6)
- HOAX OPENS (8)
- PLAIN HERON (6,4)
- MILD CURE (8)
- BED ALSO BUS (6,4)
- SCANT EATS (9)
- ROAM CHINA (9)
- RICHARD SHOP (11)
- DAMN LION (8)
- I PEN APPS (8)
- ATRIUM BONE (10)
- A RINGLET (8)
- WHINES PLENTY (5,7)
- BULLETS A BLUR (7,5)
- CRAIL TEN (8)
- PANDORA GIN (10)
- I DODGE DIOR (10)
The Naughty Choirboy
When I first heard about wee Tommy's predicament, he had my immediate support. For weeks he had been in trouble in both Sunday School and Church for fidgeting, giggling, being disruptive, and annoying his mother.
His excuse would always begin with "But the teacher said....." or, "But the minister said....."
I could sympathise with this, because, looking back over what many people thought were my "naughty" exploits, who was usually to blame? :- The Minister, or :- The Minister's wife!
My full support therefore was for wee Tommy on this particular Sunday when, before even leaving for church, his Mum gave him strict instructions.
"Now, Tommy, you'll sit beside me, you won't fidget, you won't wave to your pals, you'll sit and listen to the minister. Listen and learn! Got it?"
"Yes Mum, I promise," said wee Tommy.
That morning, the minister had selected as his text, Genesis 3: 19:- "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust and to dust you shall return." and Ecclesiastes 3: 20 "All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return."
Wee Tommy listened intently, his expression more and more strained, his face more pale by the second. At the end of the service, the minister was at the door bidding farewell to those leaving, keeping one eye on who put cash into the collection, and those who didn't, preferring to murmur "standing order" as they passed.
Then he saw wee Tommy's face. "Oh Tommy, you look very worried, what's wrong?"
"Well minister, did you say we are all dust before we come into the world, and we go back into dust when we leave?"
"Yes Tommy, I did say that. I'm pleased to note that you were listening."
Tommy could hardly contain himself.
"Well minister, I think you should come round to our house and look under the beds. I don't know whether they are coming or going, but there are lots of them under there!"
North Coast 500 by bike
Joe Hughes Part 2
For those who have read episode 1 we are now setting off on day 4 of our NC 500 adventure on the stretch from Ullapool to Kylesku with Christine acting as my vehicle back up and me on my trusty hybrid Kona bike. I scored each day out of ten for the quality of cycling experience and day 4 was marked as the best. Goodness knows why I should have chosen the hardest day of all. The morning cycle took us from Ullapool to Lochinver, starting with a fairly steep climb out of Ullapool and onto the plateau which stretched for miles and miles. The views over to Stac Pollaidh, my most favourite mountain in Scotland, were awesome and both Christine and I would stop involuntarily, speechless at the surrounding beauty and the calmness of the day. In 2016 the NC 500 was not widely known. The only cars were locals and this being Sunday, there was no commercial traffic and it seemed that the entire plateau was ours.
A stop off at Lochinver for lunch at the world famous Lochinver Larder brought the morning to a close. It was while eating a lamb filled crusty pie washed down with homemade soup that we got chatting to a group of cyclists who had come up from “down souff” especially to tackle the Lochinver loop that takes in the B869 to Kylesku. I had never heard of the road nor knew its notoriety. It looked benign on the map but I should have done my research. I set off on the afternoon stretch with the words of these fellow cyclists ringing in my ears, “That crazy wee road is torture!” At only about 25 miles in length it runs alongside the water for most of the way but it is like someone had taken both ends of the road and concertinaed it into countless peaks and troughs, with gradients of 25% common. If the Bealach na Bà was continuous but, dare I say it, bearable torture, the B869 was unbearable. The downslope stretches were too steep and too short to gain any momentum and the short steep climbs increased in gradient the closer you got to the top. Needless to say I was a spent force when I finally reached its end.
So day 4 came to an end and I marked it as the best yet! I must have been born a masochist! Only 62 miles and almost 4000 feet of climbing but never to be forgotten.
The weather up to this point had been mainly fair, broken cloud, a bit of wind but dry with lots of sun. By the start of day 5 the weather gods conspired to offer us up for sacrifice. The wind was now from the north and blew unrelentingly from the Arctic. The target for day 5 was to get to Durness. At 45 miles and little more than 2000 feet climbing this was supposed to be an easy day where I could enjoy a relaxed cycle under no pressure. It didn’t work out that way.
Kylesku to Scourie was OK where we stopped for lunch at the Post Office. One of the customers was an ex- soldier, a former mountain bike fan, but now resigned to looking after his sheep. He assured me that I would really enjoy the downhill gradient about five miles long down into Durness. What he didn’t factor in was the 40 to 50mph head wind and the driving sleet and snow that pock marked my face. Never have I had to work so hard to make distance on a terrain that cyclists usually love. Every time I eased my pace for a wee rest I seemed to be blown backwards uphill. And never before nor since have I felt the urge to jump off the bike and climb into the CRV for a cup of hot tea and a thaw out! The support vehicle and its crew were doing their bit.
Durness didn’t disappoint and the excesses of the day were soon forgotten as we sat in front of a log fire at the Smoo Hotel tucking into fish and chips and sharing local brews with a couple of Durness worthies! The latter half of April is right in the middle of the lambing season and our B&B owner, as well as hosting visitors from all over the world, was also a sheep farmer. He was up before daylight to see to his flock before heading back to his cottage to feed his human guests. That really is multi-tasking. What a man!
Day 6 took us across the north coast from Durness to Thurso. With a distance of 75 miles it was the longest of the entire route with about 4200 feet of climbs. It was on this stretch that the adventure lost its rugged wild beauty and gradually morphed into something more familiar. The road was wider, traffic was busier and the mountains were disappearing in the distance. Approaching Dounreay, Christine, in the CRV, was unmistakably tailed by two police cars, maybe thinking she was a Green Warrior out to do no good at the nuclear plant.
From Thurso onwards we headed for John o’ Groats and took the obligatory photograph at the sign post looking over the Pentland Firth towards Orkney.
We had covered a lot of miles by then and had lots to be pleased about but there was a little bit of sadness that we had seen and done the best bits and the remainder of the trip would be an anti-climax. The magic had gone. The A9 down from Wick to Inverness well and truly put paid to that. As the cyclist I had gone into survival mode spending almost the entire time trying to keep upright and gesticulating at cars and lorries for passing too close. So, by the time we reached Inverness we were ready to put the bike back on the top of the CRV and head down the road to Kilrenny, mission accomplished, Cancer Research UK benefitting from £3,500 of sponsorship money.
Within a few days of coming home and reflecting on what we had achieved and how much we had enjoyed it; nine days cycling, total distance 531 miles, total climbs 25,954 feet, we started to plan a re-run for 2017 with an amended route. And that’s another story. (Joe)
Congratulations to Joe on not only completing this epic cycle journey but in raising so much money for Cancer Research UK.
Cellardyke and Kilrenny’s Old Customs
(in the East Neuk 161 years ago)
Final - Part 3
No description of a place, however accurate can be counted adequate that makes no account of the changes among the people in their dress and modes of work. In both there has been quite a revolution. A brief glance at one or two must suffice. The first is the marriages. Gone are the famous Penny Wedding’s.
The lively scene which includes the famous fiddler Neil Gow, depicts the uniquely Scottish custom of wedding guests contributing a penny towards the cost of the festivities and a home for the newly married couple. No longer can be seen the long processions of the bride’s party going, it might be to Pittenweem or St Monans, to escort the bridegroom to the house of the bride’s father from hence marching in couples to the home of the newly-wedded pair, dancing and fun being carried on long after daylight had ushered in another day. No longer either are the women dressed in their pretty and expensive blue Duffle petticoats, with their becoming short gowns, showing their pretty- moulded arms, while no less marks were their neat feet shod in the smartest of Lorne shoes, their costume finished by a spotless apron and gay tartan handkerchief on their shoulder.
The men also can hardly be described as the “men in “Navy Blue” tweed now entering largely into their go-ashore dress. So struck with the absence of the orthodox fisherman’s blue dress was a certain clergyman who came to preach in a neighbouring church, that he asked where were all the fisherman. He was not prepared for the well-dressed fishermen of Cellardyke, as the only other fishermen he had seen proclaimed by their attire the nautical nature of their work. A fisherman’s wife, too, long ago stood for one who could, shiel ( take mussels out of their shells), bait and mend the nets. Nowadays it would be quite possible for any one, though not bred to it, to become a fisherman’s wife. No gathering of grass and no carrying of sculls to Anster are part of the day’s work, and thus the “midden’s” – caused by the mussel shells, a sore point with the Cellardyke bairns of that day - are amongst the things of the past.
While many changes in dress and methods of fishing have been noted, there is one thing in particular for which the fishermen are well-known their reverence for Sunday, today they can still claim that honour, and the hope may be expressed that the time will never come when they will forego their right to rest and worship which has so long characterised them. How one remembers the black line of people stretching from the beginnings of the Tolbooth and Windmills Roads to the entrance of the old village of Kilrenny as the Cellardyke folks wended their way to church (all folk walked to Kilrenny Church until a falling out with the minister of Kilrenny and Cellardyke Church was built, late 1800s). The younger portion of them sometimes removed their shoes and stockings before walking home, while the old women in their dark brown or purple merinos and Paisley shawls carried their Bibles and their hankies, fortified for their long walk with a bit of eppieringie in their hand, and in their pockets the almost sole confection of that day strong peppermints.
Now the town might fitly be described, parodying the old doggerel – “White and spotless ivery door, Wi kirk if no a steeple, Cellardyke is a clean toun, the pride o’ a’ their people” (Malcolm)
The Kirk Session wish you a very safe, healthy and happy week ahead.
To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
the God whom we adore,
be glory, as it was, and is,
and shall be evermore.