MacKenzie Commemoration

The commemorative stone in the grounds of Castle Leod
Castle Leod

Castle Leod
In the castle drawing-room

A set on the whistles

At Castle Leod, Strathpeffer

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned attending the annual remembrance service at Culloden Battlefield. Afterwards, at the invitation of Iain Blake, fellow-poet, I attended a more private ceremony at Castle Leod in Strathpeffer, the home of the present Chief of the Clan MacKenzie, otherwise know as Caberfeidh (meaning ‘deer’s antlers’). There is a memorial stone (shown above) in the grounds of the castle that commemorates the service of the MacKenzies to the Jacobite cause. A simple ceremony was held at the stone. We then retired for a ceilidh and readings in the castle. The 5th Earl of Cromartie read excerpts from a journal written by one of his MacKenzie ancestors who had fought at Falkirk in the 1745 campaign. Intriguing stuff! Interestingly, I learned that Caberfeidh has been to Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College, where he was learning Gaelic.

More Christian musings

There follows more musings from a Christian point of view. I’ve conveniently added headings to enable anyone who’s not interested to skip some, or all, of my cogitations! (or sermonising? as some may say) Hopefully, there might be a snippet or two here and there which might be of interest.

Wednesday 18th July 2012

Work – a kind of prayer

Working on translations etc. today. Even for people in our situation, retired and on a pension, it is a good thing to work. Apart from being a healthy thing to do, it’s sometimes necessary to supplement one’s income. And as for taking one away from serving God, one can pray and be conscious of God even when working. Working indeed can be a kind of prayer. Even the apostle Paul had a part-time occupation as a tentmaker.

What’s happening next?

My sister, my niece and her husband were up for dinner. Margaret loves to cook for people and she’s a great cook. In the morning I phoned Broadford Hospital and spoke to the surgeon’s secretary. We thought the chemotherapy sessions might be in Broadford and I wondered if they knew anything of what’s happening. She didn’t know much except that Margaret was down for chemotherapy in Broadford. She said she would phone back. She did later in the afternoon and confirmed that a letter had been sent by the surgeon in Fort William to Raigmore and that we would probably get a letter from the oncologist before long.

Jesus, the realist

We don’t know what the future holds, but there is no point in getting morbid. It is much better to be positive, to trust God and hope for the best. As I said previously, I’m sure if humans followed God’s law perfectly that there wouldn’t be so much disease and suffering in the world. At the same time, we have to be realists. No-one was more a realist than Jesus. His words to Peter were ‘but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go’ (John 21:18) and are taken as a prediction that Peter would be crucified. Jesus asked the disciples to follow him although he knew they would suffer for his sake and meet a violent end; which is what happened, to all except John. God, in the person of Jesus, endured the cross and, therefore, knows what it’s like to be finite and human and to suffer.

Love and suffering are linked

Interestingly, Jesus asks Peter the question “Do you truly love me?” three times before this prediction and after that he says to him, “Follow me!” That is, the question of loving Jesus as the Son of God is closely linked to suffering for him. Love and suffering go hand in hand. But the promise is that the suffering is worth it for the glory that will follow. The existential question of love and suffering are at the heart of the Christian religion. Loving others and suffering with them is the real meaning of Christianity. Sometimes we have to suffer ourselves in order to understand the suffering of others.

Love, the law of the spiritual world

Jesus, in other words, doesn’t want a suspension of the laws of nature (that is, miracle) but he does want us to believe in a spiritual world, where Love is the main law. The world of nature, or the fourth world, is the rough ground in which the seeds of the spirit grow into flowers. It is the file which, through love and suffering, files down the roughness and hardness of the immature soul. This intermingling of the natural world and the spiritual internal world is the nursery of soul-making. Jesus is the teacher and tutor at this intersection of worlds – the message of God to the world.