Today we did a longitudinal drop of 50 miles from the point of yesterday's walk along the coast of Portobello to pick up St Cuthbert's way at Melrose. The extraordinary journey began with the most wonderful hospitality in Edinburgh by a fellow seminarian at Coates Hall which was our Theological Seminary. ...
It was good to catch up on the good old days of Hogwarts Sorcery tricks of becoming a Priest, a Deacon or 'oh sorry we trained you to be nothing because I don't like you!' There was a 'Dr Death' and then 'the boiled lettuce on two legs!' The sorcerers collective was quite out of this world. I only am repeating what I heard. Please do not shoot the messenger, just love him. It was all meant well except that pansy who dramatized everything with, ‘I can’t cope!’ Life was so beautiful.
We lived in Coates Hall and it was the early days of PCs and Macs with auto correct. Those who had a career before coming into the Coates Hall had fancy Macs. However, the auto correct turned Coates Hall into Coitus Hall! How clever they were to know the minds of those whose hearts were fixed on God !!!
By the way, what you read here has a lot of ‘imagination’ in them. So, please stop reading this as you would read the Bible. Well, Bible needs a load of holy imagination! Some the stuff you read there !!! I know them all too well. Let me digress a bit.
The Church I grew up had services that were about three hours long. They were Orthodox enough but not nine hours long like the real Orthodox services. So, the only choice to survive the length of the service was to read the stories in the Bible, over and over again. Some of the stories required imagination beyond imagination and no wonder my Master of Theology thesis was on Holy Imagination: from Order to Celebration i.e. 1929 Scottish Liturgy to 1982 Scottish Liturgy. I have regrets about my thesis now, because some of the Mindless Collects that appear in some of our authorised Liturgies nowadays have a feel of ‘what shall I do today because I am bored!’ Prayers that arise from a lifetime of praying them in our hearts and minds before putting them down in words with pen and paper are different from prayers written out of tapping the keyboard out of boredom! God help us!!
Now going back to the ‘imagination of our hearts’! The Blog here is a work of Ella Boo, Mark Walker and Nigel Lammas. Ella is the key contributor and if you have any questions you must take it up with Bishop Ella! She is gaining some serious global following. When I read this out to her, Mark says, ‘She is meditating on it’
Let’s consider some boring bits of the day. We stopped at Dan Browns ‘Roslyn Chapel’ looking for … you know what I mean! I remembered those good old days of going there to sing Choral Evensong on the Feast of the Ascension. The first year (1995) I was so excited that I could see the Lord wanting to get out of that place with speed! A vertical launch!! It was nothing to do with the choir of St Peter’s, Lutton Place where I did my curacy! Returning there after all these year and being asked to pay £10 to get in!!! I posted something on the Facebook page standing outside the chapel which is now fenced off! How desperate we are to commercialise life!
I was dropped off at Melrose Abbey and I was all feeling all ‘holy’ to walk in the footsteps of St Cuthbert, only to discover that the original place where he began was 5 miles away from the present abbey! It reminded me of my time the Holy Land where everything has multiple versions of everything. There are five possible places where Jesus was born. I visited at least two places where Jesus was baptised – one was green and filthy and the other was shallow and muddy like the Red Sea!
I began the walk with a dubious prayer and came to a point where there road had a fork! The left looked broad and gradual and the right looked the place I remember from Mastrick in Aberdeen. So, naturally I chose the broad and shallow, ignoring the warning from the Lord, ‘the road that leads to life is narrow' and in my case steep. The spirit warned me I am making a mistake so I asked a couple who were most lost than I was. The man took out pages of printed directions and started shuffling! Thankfully, I noticed someone walk past with a jumper which had the Historic Scotland logo on it. I asked him for direction and he walked with me to the point where I could see the tiny signpost which was link someone’s back garden. After a drop of five meters it was hike up of five hundred meters. There was that deep sense of the Risen Lord’s presence.
It was about 30 minutes of steep hill, I was thanking God for loosing two stones between Epiphany and Easter, preparing for this Walk22. It was well sign posted by St Cuthbert! It is very impressive how diligent those saints were unlike our times where the diligence is specialised in something else – disabling others – ‘we do not want people like you here!’
The sign posts suddenly began to disappear and some of them, I am told 'vandalised'. I thought all this sounds very familiar to me these days where 'spiritual and ritual' vandalism has become the norm in the name of ‘efficiency’. As I was descending I received a call from someone who is in the process of discerning vocation in the church! It is a joy and a blessing to hear from young people contemplating vocation in the church! I told him, I made six attempts to stay clear of the ‘Church’ and was tricked on the seventh time! How I wish I had the tenacity to resist! I could have tried vocation in the church when things went wrong in real life. Instead, I was robbed from a well paid job that my brother thought I have gone mad. And the church I grew in prayed the God will annihilate me for betraying the Fellowship of the Ring! I now feel that their prayers are being answered!! What all we do for the LOVE OF GOD.
As I was descending with the signposts getting mixed up with local walk signposts I pulled out Google Maps and followed it faithfully! I know now you are expecting to read how that ended up being a disaster!! All I had to do was to walk on water to cross the river. It eventually got to me destination not before meeting Val with Ailsa. I asked her for direction and told her what I was doing. She said, without hesitation, ‘You are NUTS’ I did my usual 'Isaac laughter' and she realised I was metal kind of nuts as opposed to the fruit kind! I said, I do both! Life is so beautiful out in the world because the spirit of the Risen Lord is out there! How I wish we ‘Episcopalians’ can get out more into the real world. We would have less problems and more joy in the Lord.
It is time for bed and the temperature outside is -1. I am thinking I am not doing artic expedition!