Postcards from the western fringe 7- fishing for souls…

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Had a lovely day today- touring the north of the island with Emily. The weather was mixed, but we even sat on a beach for a while today, before the wind and rain drove us back to the car.

Talking of wind- there was a tornado in Stornoway last night! The school that Will and Michaela are doing classes in as part of the Feis was damaged.

This afternoon we really enjoyed meeting up with Gayle Findlay for a cuppa. She moved up here from Bristol about a year ago, and has a great blog recording some of the transition.

One subject that is hard to escape – both as a visitor to Lewis, and for incomers- is the central importance of a particular kind of rigid faith to just about everything that happens here. It seems to shape the very landscape, or perhaps is a response to the savage environment.

The dominance of the Free Church of Scotland with its severe, Calvinistic and (at least to outsiders) legalistic approach to the life of faith has been the driving force for communities here for much of the last 100 years. The church casts a shadow that I confess (as an outsider) I find oppressive.

In saying this, I do not mean to be offensive to fellow Christians. Their context and journey is so very different from mine. I have been stirred by stories of transformation during the Hebridean revival. It is a story that has been retold to inspire us to eagerly chase after revival. Check out this American video-

I once heard revival described as being like a volcano- all fire, smoke and hot flowing lava. Soon the smoke and fire lessens, but the lava still flows, even if the outer core crusts hard over. Eventually however, the crust is all that is left. It is from this solid rock that the walls of churches are built from.

I took two photographs today that kind of summed things up for me. The first was this one-

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In these parts, Children are not allowed to play on the Sabbath. Or not openly anyway.

I note the the Free Church youth magazine is called- Free.

The other photo was this one…

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There was a river next to this graveyard, but the irony of the fishers for the souls of the dead needing a permit from the kirk made me chuckle.

Particularly as such frivolous practices were not to be indulged in on Sundays.

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