Pastoral Letter Wednesday 8th July.

My Dear Friends, 

In the backcourts of some of the old Glasgow tenements there are semi-basement flats with half the room below ground level. In Glasgow such a flat was known as a “dunny”; but the more respectable inhabitants of Edinburgh referred to them as “garden flats”. Where streets were narrow and buildings tall the sunlight seldom penetrated these basements. Many of the rooms were dark and dismal and during the winter months you had to keep the light on most of the day.

 My father told the story of visiting an old lady in Kelvinside when he was a young assistant minister. She wasn’t well enough to venture out often and her basement flat was dull and gloomy. On his first visit he felt it was such a shame that the lady wasn’t able to benefit from the lovely bright sunshine outside. It was on his second visit that he had a marvellous surprise. Her kitchen was filled with light and sunshine! How had this wonderful transformation come about?

He was then told that some of the little boys who played football in her backcourt had thoughtfully taken pity on her. These young neighbours had got hold of a large old mirror and had propped it up at such an angle that the sunshine was reflected right into her home. What had once been dreary and depressing was now bright and cheerful.

St. Luke, in his foretelling of the coming of Christ, says: “The morning sun from heaven will rise upon us, to shine on those who live in darkness.” (Luke 1: 78-79 NEB) Are we not called upon to reflect something of the love of God into the dark places of this world? Is it not our privilege to be like mirrors shining a little hope and brightness into the lives of people who are sad or lonely or anxious? The challenge is to be thoughtful enough to make a difference. Jesus bids us shine!

Liz joins me in sending our love to you all.

Alex.