Sunday 6th. April, 2014 – The Fifth Sunday of Lent and we visit another church 

Here we are, Mum, Tom and Rachel, outside Cranshaws Kirk in the tiny and fairly remote village of that name

Up and showered before walking Mix and breakfasting in the farmhouse. We then set off for Cranshaws not really knowing how long it would take to get there. In fact we were in good time and we had a moment or two to have a look around before the service started.

The Church is an ancient building beside a tiny village which appeared to us to consist of a church, a village hall, the manse and just two or three houses. Everything seemed to be very old. I took some photographs:

This is a picture of the door through which we entered Church. If only it could speak it would have many a tale to tell

A view of the Church from the back. I was struck by how well cared-for the building is. I’m told that one of the local farmers makes sure that it is kept in really good condition

This royal crest is on the wall on the opposite side from the pulpit. I was told this morning that it is in the care of the Lord Lyon King of Arms and that it goes back to the visit of King James IV before Flodden. King James was taken aback that the minister neglected to pray for his royal personage and had this crest installed as a perpetual reminder of his (the preacher’s) responsibilities. (I noted that we did not pray for royalty in the service this morning)

An offering bag lying on the communion table – what’s special about this is that I was told that the offering bags in use here were donated by the Reverend George Matheson, the blind Church of Scotland minister who lived between 1842 and 1906 and who wrote ‘Make me a captive, Lord’ and ‘O Love that wilt not let me go’. I wonder what was his connection with Cranshaws?

There was a good attendance at the service. Up until now we have had a service at Gavinton and then, twice a month, there has been a service later on at Cranshaws. However, slipping attendances at Cranshaws had put the future of worship there at doubt. The solution agreed was to have only one service every Sunday: on the first Sunday at Cranshaws and on the second, third and fourth Sundays at Gavinton. If it keeps this little church alive I will be happy to make the journey here once a month.

In the old days this would have been Passion Sunday and Ann presented us with the traditional lectionary readings for today, including Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones and John’s account of the raising of Lazarus (on which she spoke, challenging us to respond to Jesus' question to Martha, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’)

After the service we shared in coffee at the back of the Church – it was just like being back at Arrochar!

There is always a happy hubbub after a service when things have gone well and everyone is content

We drove home, visiting the Co-op on the way, and soon it was time to lunch in the farmhouse. Sundays are excellent!

In the afternoon, while Rachel worked on her kilt, I watched cricket in the summer house. The English women had already lost out to Australia in the women’s final of the T20 cup and in the men’s final between Sri Lanka and India, Sri Lanka deservedly came out on top – it was good because some of their best players were playing their final matches before retiring from this form of the game.

It was an afternoon of sport, Great Britain lost their quarter-final match in the Davis Cup (Andy Murray just wasn’t good enough on this occasion), Lewis Hamilton won the Malayan Grand Prix, Oxford won the boat race after a clash of oars which broke part of the rigging in the Cambridge boat, and (keeping the best until last) Raith Rovers won the Ramsden Cup defeating Rangers 1 – 0 in the final after extra time. It was all very exciting! (In the middle of it all, Peter and Veronica arrived on their motor bike to visit Digger and Olive.) Rachel and I enjoyed afternoon tea with cream cakes in the Granary.

Rachel went off to the evening service at the Anglican Church in Berwick and on her return we had supper together and watched a bit of television. (The latest episode of Endeavour which was genuinely intriguing and quite fun. I also watched the News both on ITV and on BBC. On neither did it mention either that the England women’s team had been runner up in the T20 world cup, nor that Sri Lanka had won the T20 world cup – strange.)

It has been a lovely day – a relaxing day, and a happy day. But this week is going to be a busy one and a hard-working one.


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