Sunday 23rd. February, 2014 – A Happy Sunday 


The flowers in Church this morning were given by my mother (today would have been my father’s ninety-third birthday)


Today must have been one of the most blustery days of the winter so far. Extremely windy, not a little rain and really quite cold. Mix and I walked and then I had breakfast before Mum, Rachel and I set off for Gavinton Church.

It was a special service today because, as visitors, we had Joan and Dawn from the Berwickshire Christian Youth Trust where both are members of the management committee. We learned that the Trust has two of a staff who work with young people (Mark and Stewart). They spend time in both primary and secondary schools in the area and arrange camps and other events to support young people who are trying to live out a life of faith in a secular world.

Joan and dawn used the initials of the trust to provide us with some insights into their thinking. B is for bread – a staple food throughout the world (life changing if you don’t have it) and faith is our staple food in a life of Christian pilgrimage – the trust exists to share faith. C is for candle. Even one candle in a dark room makes a difference. It gives hope of more light but a candle flame has to be protected else it will go out – the trust exists to protect the faith of young people who are learning to live a life of faith. Y is for yeast. Yeast makes flour and water grow into loaves of bread. Young people, properly supported, change their own communities. T is for torch – bring all the candles together and a great flame is produced. The trust exists to arrange events such as camps at which Christian youngsters can learn from each other and grow in faith.

Dawn spoke of the difference that the trust had made in the lives of young people over fifteen years – a boy had grown in faith and now works in forestry in India, helping the community there in a practical way and also sharing his faith; a girl had become a teacher and now runs a Sunday evening activity for young people at her church; another girl had trained and was now in Africa learning to be a missionary. Little things lead to greater things.

And how can we help? The trust needs people who are prepared to give their time, perhaps to go along to a Scripture Union event at a local school. It needs people who will bake cakes or donate tins of biscuits to be enjoyed at local events. It needs people to support its work in prayer; and it needs people to donate money as each year it costs something like £40,000 just to keep it going. Here in Gavinton Church there is a collection for the work of the BCYT on the final Sunday of each month.



After the service we joined everyone for tea of coffee in the Church hall


Our Bible readings were the Call of Samuel, the reading from the first letter of Peter about living stones, and the passage from the sermon on the mount about being salt and light to our generation. After the service we went for tea and coffee in the church hall and then we came back to Mount Pleasant where I did some accordion practice and watched the final of the Olympic ice-hockey (Canada 3 – Sweden 0) before lunch in the farm house. We ate well: tuna pate followed by chicken casserole and roast potatoes.

After lunch I settled down in front of the stove to watch some of the ice spectacular and then the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics. It seems to me that it has been a superb Games. I was gobsmacked by the closing ceremony. I hadn’t known what to expect – I suppose something music-based like the London one – but, good as that was, this was superb. I loved the way that the Russians had handed the direction over to an Italian to look at their culture from the outside; I loved the themes which emerged – the sea, Russian music, Russian literature, Russian dance and, of course, the Russian circus. I loved the life and vigour and humour. I loved the use of the whole space (from massive floor to roof). I loved the huge cast and the involvement of children. I loved the giant puppets and the reference back to the last time that the Olympics had been celebrated in Russia. I loved the crowds and the enthusiasm of the chair of the organising committee and I really loved the appropriate words spoken by Mr. Bach of the Olympic Committee with his emphasis on peace and respect and tolerance – words which need to be heard world-wide because the picture of the athletes from all over sharing in an Olympic village is a powerful one for all of humanity.

Of course, it all cost a huge amount of money – but its legacy may be huge as well and I gather that the world cup will use some of the same facilities – but our Olympics cost a great deal of money as well and many people consider that that was money well spent. Still, all I started off to say was that I thought that the closing ceremony was immense and that all of the children who took part, and all of those who watched it in the arena and all of the competitors who were there, will have had an experience which they will never forget. Now bring on the Commonwealth Games!

In the evening Rachel and I had a snack together and watched Mr. Selfridge before walking the dogs and retiring to bed.

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