The furore on Skye as the first ferry arrives in 1965
Growing up in a village called Kyle Of Lochalsh in the Scottish Highlands nothing moved on the Sabbath, yet there was a militant drive to dismantle that precious day of rest ..to be rid of it; over 50 years from the day Rev Angus Smith lay down in front of the first Sunday ferry it is fair to say that the campaign has been a resounding success for the so called “progressive” people. Today that day of rest has been totally lost and the previously strong Christian cause in the Highlands and Islands has diminished to a weak minority with little or no influence..
As a teenager my curfew for Saturday night was always stretched to the limit and beyond till my father insisted on 11pm. Both the challenge of occasionally travelling 80 miles from Inverness in just over an hour and the danger to other road users and myself made it a dangerous game.. I assure you that I did not take to the air too often!
Many fine Christian people had, and still have, no conception of or even thought, for that day set apart to worship God. I would be the first to admit that the church was in the past too draconian… even legalistic on the matter. My own father, an ardent voice against any unnecessary work on the Lords day, felt that lying in front of the first car arriving on Skye to be hauled off by the police was a step too far. However I cannot help but sneakily admire people who fearlessly stand by their convictions. There are far too many spineless, wishy washy characters who lack conviction of any sort in the leadership of church and nation in Scotland today.
Even liberal theologians of the early 20th century foretold that if Sunday observance was lost the church would diminish and through time become a tiny minority without the reviving work of God, which has often comes when we least expect it.
The question is this?.. Does the issue matter? or was Sabbath observance just a quaint passing phase? We now find that the church of today has nine commandments instead of ten. The greatly diminished and rudderless Church of Scotland by some would be considered to be no longer a Church… Thank God that within it there is still a brave, determined minority of faithful people making a strong stand for biblical Christianity.
As recently as 12 years ago I bought a shop and filling station near Stirling and was very quickly and firmly vilified for having the bare cheek to close it on Sunday. HOW DARE I? This was bringing backward, misguided, Highland tradition to enlightened lowland Scotland! On the other hand the staff, despite little or no Christian conviction, were delighted to have a guaranteed day of rest. Jesus himself radically, for the times when he walked on earth as God in the flesh, said this: “The Sabbath was made for man..not man for the Sabbath.” It is for our physical and spiritual benefit we have been gifted a day of rest. All these years ago some people with no axe to grind came to my rescue, stating to objectors that we live in a democracy for which our fore bearers fought and died to create a free country.
The nastiest of dictators in history have attempted to impose a 10 or even a 14 day working period but soon discovered that we are hard wired to have six days for our own pleasure or work followed by a day of rest and renewal. Ignoring the fact that the great creator God, for our good, commands that day of rest in his fourth commandment, how much we lose out by failing to enjoy a day for spiritual development and meeting with His people.
Remember the apostle John as an old man exiled to the island of Patmos, he was ‘In the Spirit on the Lords day’ God entrusted the book of Revelation to him. Like the rest of the bible it is powerful, exhilarating, encouraging, scary and in many ways mysterious. What we call the canon of scripture is absolutely complete so no more direct word from God in that manner. However, consider this, what could God reveal to you of his nature by quietly praying, reading and meditating on him this Sunday? Open your Bible if you have one or download a free app and see for yourself.