The ring the cross and the burning bush still speak meaningfully today

Why is it that nothing in life ever goes according to plan?  Someone once said Its not the difficulties that arise, in life that shape us . Its how we deal with these difficulties. My immediate discomfort , disappointment, deflation, started last Friday morning. I was returning home from South Africa passing through Edinburgh Airport when my leather Peruvian hand luggage, let's say was misplaced.

The incident is the subject of a police inquiry so I don't wish to go into great detail as to how this happened. The unfortunate thing was that it contained the moderatorial ring and the millenium cross, along with other personal belongings . To say that I have been pariod about the security of the cross and the ring  is an understatement. So when it happened that they were no longer in my possession you can imagine how I felt  and still do feel.

I've been describing my feelings to the media by referring to the U2 song."I'm stuck in a moment and i can't get out of it. " However every day I wake up I pray for the person or persons who have the ring and the cross. I'm realising that the cross is still there, I may not see it, but it is in the world. Its going on a journey. Passing through hands. I wonder who is carrying the cross today. I believe it will be returned along with the ring.  There will be stories to be told.The ring with the burning bush symbol speaks of God's commitment to his people. His presence can be discovered in the bleakest of places. Bushes can still burn and men and woman can still hear the call of God even when they least expect it.

So how am I going to get out of the moment ? I guess its by thinking on something else. Two things have touched me again this week one good and the other has helped me put a lot into perspective. Let me start with the latter.

A few days ago I received information that one of my ministertial colleagues who I have known and admired  for many years had just received news that his son who had recently taken ill had died. He was a young man just turned 30. What sorrow must my friend and his dear wife and family feel. It put my experience into perspective. It jogged me out of the moment to pray and uphold this family in my prayers. We are called to bear one anothers burdens. Sometimes the burdens can only be shared with a special few. The rest of us need to travel often in silence but still travel.

I have also noticed in life that nothing ever stays the same. each day each moment brings a change of perspective.  In the midst of sorrow we often encounter moments of amazing elation and happiness.

This morning both Martha and I are so excited we have been touched with joy. We're preparing to welcome our  daughter home because she will be married tomorrow. I wish you could see the spring in Martha's step this morning. She is a woman with a mission. "You can eat the cakes in the kitchen now!" she said, "the party has started" So I've tasted a legendary Martha muffin and started to finish off the final details of my speech for tomorrow.

It was with great delight I  started to write the father of the bride speech last night. I realised how blessed I am having such a  fantastic daughter to cherish. Tomorrow will be among the proudest days of my life. Yet I will be thinking of others who have crosses to bear that are taking them on a journey they never intended or wished to experience.

This has truly been a strange week for me. A true roller coaster of emotions.


You know everthing

You truly are acquainted with everything in our lives

The Psalmist was right to reflect

You know when we sit down and when we rise

I'm glad we're not on our own

I'm strengthened by your presence

Your promise and your power.

Draw close to all this day who are broken hearted

Grant them strength to carry their cross

Give me courage to bear it with them

Give me grace to walk in silence

Wisdom to speak in season

And Joy to encounter through living

Draw us all into the ring of the cross

Light the fire in our land that the bush may burn brightly

And your voice heard clearly

For we are all standing on holy ground


Posted By: Mary McLauchlan   On: 13 Apr 2013   At: 7:47pm

I hope you have all had the most wonderful day today. God’s blessings.


Posted By: George Cowie   On: 13 Apr 2013   At: 10:04am

Albert - we hope you and Martha have a wonderful time on this most special day.


Posted By: Helmut   On: 13 Apr 2013   At: 9:18am

Our children’s favourite : “Amen, praise the Lord!” featuring Sarah Jane Bogle plus dad plus loads of kids!


Posted By: jim sommerville   On: 13 Apr 2013   At: 6:47am

As Gibbie has said, look forward to the joy of the return of the ring and cross, as the lady in the parable did.
Have a great day, and don’t eat too many muffins.
Jim & Ruth xx


Posted By: Leslie Marshall   On: 13 Apr 2013   At: 1:28am

Hope everything goes well for all your family on this very special day as you know its a day to rejoice in the next step of your daughters journey of life, she no doubt will wear her wedding ring with pride and love and probably rarely take it off.Even when she does she will still feel the love and devotion it represents,just like the ring you have lost,even though its not in your care at present its spiritual value still lives on as does the cross.I hope whoever has the items finds it in their heart to return them to you which would be a perfect end to what I think will be a perfect day.All the best. 

Les Marshall


Posted By: Gibbie   On: 13 Apr 2013   At: 12:00am

You know, Albert. Long after this experience of the lost ring and cross is past (reminds me of one of Jesus’ parables) you will appreciate the perspective of what happened and what was said round this event, and how you responded it to it and valuable lessons learned, which would not have occurred if the ring and cross hadn’t, been lost. I remember someone lifting my Bible from the Tab and realising that whoever took it must have needed it for some reason. However, I hopeit turns up somehow. Have a fantastic wedding celebration.


Posted By: Claire Tattersall   On: 12 Apr 2013   At: 11:36pm

Sorry to hear about your ring and cross. I am sure it will find its way back to you. I hope you are all well and have a great day tomorrow. Will be thinking about you all.


Posted By: h   On: 12 Apr 2013   At: 9:40pm

Knowing you will all have a lovely day of togetherness tomorrow and hoping all that was lost will be found .


Posted By: Pat and Donald MacQuarrie   On: 12 Apr 2013   At: 9:36pm

Every good wish Albert and Martha as you share in Sarah Jane’s special day. Thinking of you just now as you keep in balance the priorities.


Posted By: Greta   On: 12 Apr 2013   At: 6:55pm

May God bless each one of you tomorrow, His love surround you as you worship Him and may He guide your steps on the mountain top as you celebrate the special day.

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