Bishop David has just returned from a visit to the Scottish Highlands. He writes:
‘My heart’s in the highlands’ wrote Robbie Burns as a reminder of wide open spaces, hills and lochs, deer and eagles, pure air and refreshing rain. The poem is about inspiring countryside but with a deep sense of regret at exile from a much loved homeland.
At holiday time there is a chance to appreciate our surroundings and reflect on their awesome beauty both in country and town, in the sky above and oceans around.
But nothing is perfect, even north of the Cairngorm mountains, as a million summer midges swarm. I'm reminded of Edwin Morgan’s ominous poem 'Midge': ‘Sisters, I smell supper and what is more perfect than supper’.
For many of us the time for reflection, rest and recreation will soon be over and the daily tasks resumed in two wider contexts. Firstly, there will be a distinctive focus on the environment, it’s overall sustainability, the effects of consumption and of course climate change. Homo Sapiens appear far more ruinous to our enjoyment of our planet than the infuriating Culicoides Impunctatus.
Secondly we will face squarely the enormous emotional, political and physical effort needed to reestablish a united national consciousness and confidence. This is no romantic fantasy (as a Highlander, I and my clan moved on from that centuries ago) but an intentional approach to building renewed communities in the strength of our precious constitutional, legal, economic and social institutions.
The prophet Amos reminded us “the days are coming” declares the Lord “when I will send a famine on the land - not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Lord” (Amos 8:11)
Let us put aside gossip and superficial ill-will that undermines and tears down. Let us proclaim and serve the Word, Lord Jesus Christ, and inhabit his likeness. Let us pray to restore trust in one another and our organisations and work together for the Common Good.