Culloden, 2013

At the Culloden Cairn

Culloden, 2013

Culloden Anniversary Service

Yesterday we attended the Culloden Anniversary Service. There were 300 + people in attendance at the cairn on the battlefield. The annual remembrance service was initiated by the Gaelic Society of Inverness in the 1920s. The Rev. Roddy MacKinnon said a prayer and the new Chief of the Society, Sheriff Roderick John MacLeod, gave this year’s address in which he spoke powerfully of the effects of this momentous and tragic event in the history had of the Gaels. A ‘seismic event’ but certainly not the only one. Others were the fall of the Lordship of the Isles in 1493, the Clearances and the Great War. They all, sadly, contributed to the decline of Gaelic and Gaelic society. The inscription on the cairn says: ‘THE BATTLE OF CULLODEN WAS FOUGHT ON THIS MOOR 16TH APRIL 1746. THE GRAVES OF THE GALLANT HIGHLANDERS WHO FOUGHT FOR SCOTLAND & PRINCE CHARLIE ARE MARKED BY THE NAMES OF THEIR CLANS.’

Lady T. at heavengate

The thoughts in today’s diary entry made me think of Margaret Thatcher. She was given great gifts of body and mind when she was alive. Would she have to give an account of how she used them? I imagined this conversation snippet between herself and St Peter at heavengate:

St Peter: (looking in his book) And your name is?
M. T.: Lady Thatcher, of course. I was the British Prime Minister.
St Peter: Hm, sorry, but your name seems to be missing. Of course, it could just be me; it’s a big book, there are so many names. What was your first name?
M.T.: Margaret …
St Peter: O, yes, here we are. I’m afraid there’s no admission for you.
M.T.: Sir, how could that possibly be, after all the good work I did for my country, indeed for the world …?
St Peter: You are the person who said, ‘There is no society.’
M.T.: (loudly) Yes, yes, but what I meant …
St Peter: Hush, hush, there is no shouting allowed here. You see, it’s the perfect society in here and people who shout at others aren’t allowed in. By the way, where did you pass over …? Ah, I see it, The Ritz wasn’t it … That means I have to pass your case on …
M.T.: What do mean … could I see your boss? Pass it on to whom?
St Peter: To a Mr Lazarus. He’s with Abraham. Cases like yours are passed on to him. He was very poor in life, a beggar …
M.T.: I am flabbergasted. What atrocious service!

DIARY – Tuesday 17th July 2012

We went to Portree in the morning for a few things … a quiet day on the home front. Writing my diary entry most of the afternoon … wrote some of the children’s Gaelic novel at night … about a third of the way through.

The treasure of the heart

Thinking about Luke chapter 12 and how it speaks to me: ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ (verse 34) How very true that is in my case. I spent years writing poems and publishing them and this gave me great pleasure and I thought I was somebody. That’s where my heart was. Now I’m more and more aware of the evanescence of such things. Although Milton said, ‘Fame is the spur that the clear spirit does raise/(That last infirmity of noble mind)/ to scorn delights, and live laborious days’ (Lycidas) he also said in the sonnet ‘On his Blindness’: ‘God doth not need / Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best / Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state / Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed, / And post o’er land and ocean without rest; / They also serve who only stand and wait.’

A master-servant relationship

The condition of our heart at the end of our life is much more important than anything like personal wealth or fame that we leave behind us in the world of time. Luke 12:37 talks about the master- servant relationship, or the Christ-person relationship. ‘It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.’ I take this to mean what a person does with his or her life, and his or her condition at the end of life. Later he says to the disciples, ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded ; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much will be asked.’

Is there an afterlife?

I am now a believer in the soul and that it survives death in some form. (That is for further discussion in another diary entry.) I believe at death the soul – or consciousness in some form – is separated from the body and is brought into the presence of God. The believer can feel experientially this process beginning in this life. Introspection tells her whether she is right with God. She knows and experiences this mainly by the inner workings of the Spirit. Not an absolute end at death then. There is a hereafter. Traditionally, it has been called heaven and hell.