Holding the Rope

“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

A slate engraving and a stone cairn were recently unveiled in Stornoway as the first in a series of events to commemorate the centenary of the Iolaire disaster (Here). Before being used by the navy in anti-submarine and patrol work, the Iolaire had been a luxury yacht prior to the First World War. It was 31 December 1918, the war was over, peace was restored amongst the nations, and, after four long years, the men who had served King and country were on their way home.

The Kyle of Lochalsh quay was crowded with servicemen, and the steam ferry, the SS Sheila, was soon packed to the rafters. The Iolaire was sent for from her berth in Stornoway to transport the extra men back home to Lewis. She was kitted out with only two lifeboats and 80 lifejackets as 283 servicemen made their way up the gangplank and onto the ship.

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The Road to Brexit

The UK joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, with membership confirmed by a referendum on 5 June 1975. The electorate expressed substantial support for EEC membership, with 67% in favour on a national turnout of 64%

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, withdrawal from the EU was advocated mainly by the Labour Party and then, from the 1990’s onwards, by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and an increasing number of Eurosceptic Conservative MP’s.

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At the Same Time, Righteous and Sinners

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26)

The Lord’s Supper was celebrated throughout congregations in Stornoway last weekend, where church members ate bread and drank wine to proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes. The question is often asked, who should partake of the communion and sit at the Lord’s Table. This question was addressed in the “fencing of the table” in our own congregation by the Minister, Rev. Stephen McCollum.

The fencing of the table is a word of explanation given by the Minister as to who ought and who ought not to participate in the communion. The idea is that the minister is figuratively putting a fence around the table to illustrate the distinction in the congregation. It is something which was traditionally practiced in Presbyterian congregations, dating back to the reformation, but seems to be seldom practiced in the Scottish church today.

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The Troubled Sea

“The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.” (Isaiah 57:20-21)

The Isle of Lewis is steeped in history, heritage and distinctiveness. It may seem strange to those of us who have been born and brought up here, but a visit to the Outer Hebrides is considered a must by many would be travellers. Travel blogs and tourism websites speak enthusiastically of the beautiful beaches, the stunning landscape, the welcoming people, the distinctive culture and the sense of tranquillity and escape.

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Whiter than the Snow

“Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7)

Last month, a small group of us enjoyed a visit to the Gambia, a small country on the West Coast of Africa. Gambia is well known as a beautiful and welcoming country, with temperatures in the mid to high 30’s at this time of year. It is a predominantly Muslim population, therefore Christ is known only as prophet, rather than as the Saviour of sinners.

Having felt the searing heat of Gambia, not known in our Hebridean climate, it was a shock to the system to come back home to the recent snowfall and freezing conditions. We may not experience as much snow as other countries, but snow is something that is never experienced in Gambia.

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Books of the Bible

The following rhymed couplets were first published around 140 years ago by the Trinitarian Bible Society, and are well worth memorising.

The 66 books of the Bible from the Holy Scriptures. They make up one book, for God is the author of it.

 

In Genesis the world was made by God’s creative hand,

In Exodus the Hebrews marched to God’s promised land.

Leviticus contains the law—holy and just and good.

Numbers records the tribes enrolled—all sons of Abraham’s blood.

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