A group of 19 members of the IPC community returned from ten days in Scotland on Sunday, September 22 with hearts and minds filled with the beauty of that green land dotted with sheep, as well as a new appreciation for our Presbyterian heritage. Immigrants from Scotland bequeathed to us the worship, polity and theology of the Church of Scotland when they brought their faith with them to their new home. Our group of 19 proved to be a very congenial group of travelers. Old friendships deepened and new friendships formed in our ten days together.
It is amazing how much one can see in only ten short days! We began our time in Edinburgh where we spent our first three days soaking up the history of John Knox and the beginnings of the Protestant Reformation in Scotland. We learned the story of our early forebears, some of whom suffered martyrdom for their commitment to the fledgling Church of Scotland in the early years of Scottish Reformation. On Sunday morning, we worshiped together and celebrated the sacrament of The Lord’s Supper with congregants at St. Giles Cathedral where John Knox preached in Edinburgh. Throughout the rest of our time in Scotland, we visited places of religious and cultural significance and places of stunning natural beauty. We enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the people of Scotland, ate fine food, enjoyed fellowship with one another, and prayed for all of you.
There is a deep peace that falls over you as you walk in places where the Church of Jesus Christ has been worshiping, serving, and living lives of faith together for over 1,000 years. Walking in places with such an ancient history of faith gives you a longer view. Our God and God’s son, Jesus Christ, have loved us with an everlasting love over many millennia. God’s love and work of redemption will continue long after we are gone. The Church of Jesus Christ is always reforming, and the Church owes its life and vitality to the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit who is active in the world and in the Church in ways we can never fully grasp. We are but a small part of that work, and yet Christ calls us to do our part; to “preach the Gospel at all times; when necessary, use words” as we seek to love God, one another and our neighbor. We return with deepened faith and renewed energy for living out our Christian faith together here at IPC!
Grace and peace,
Hear Rev. Susan Clayton discuss the thin places and her experience at Iona Abbey as part of the 49th Annual Religious Arts Festival: Scotland! on Monday, February 3 at 7 pm on the Great Hall.