Thought for the day 20 June

June 20

This weekend sees Midsummer. Restrictions on movement started before the Equinox, and we were in lockdown by the time the clocks changed. We have had all sorts of feelings and emotions over the past three months. Fortunately, and unusually, we have had many sunny days during that time. It may be indicative of more serious climate-change issues that will need to be addressed, but the immediate effect has been to help people cope with lockdown by (for many) being able to work and sit in the garden. Can God send sunshine to help us? Scientists and theologians may dispute the idea, but for many of us saying thanks to the Almighty seems appropriate


Lord, thank you that, amid all the pain and trauma of the last few months, there has been sunshine and warmth to lift our spirits and enable us to go outside and enjoy parks or gardens. Help us to appreciate what we have, not what we have not


PS Next week we’ll have  awe wander at the Tail of the Bank

THought for the day 19 June

June 19

Question: Can you say what the new regulations are about meeting, and when they take effect? It was much easier when the answer was ‘Don’t do almost everything, don’t go almost anywhere’. It is more complicated now, because restrictions have to be eased without the risk of increasing spread of the virus. Let’s hope and pray that people take time to try to read and understand what the Phase 2 requirements are, and don’t start making them up for themselves


Lord, we wish all of this ‘virus stuff’ were over, and life could be as it was. But we are not through with it yet, so we still need measures to keep us and everyone else safe. Help us to cope with the frustration. Help us all to adhere to the guidelines for our own good, and the safety of everyone else


Thought for the day 18 June

June 18

We are expecting to hear from the First Minister later today that we will soon be moving into Phase 2 of the easing of restrictions. The chances are, though, that there will be vociferous complaints that the easing does not go far enough, or fast enough. Concerns about children’s education, the state of the economy, the needs of the hospitality, leisure and creative industries, the mental health and well-being of large sections of the community are very real and important. So is the fear that there could be a ‘second spike’. Difficult decisions, weighing one risk against another. We all engage in criticising politicians at some time or another, but would we really like to be doing their job?


Lord, it is always easy to criticise what other people, to be the expert on everything. Have we never made mistakes? Have people never criticised us for decisions we took in good faith, though with hindsight might have been different? We pray that we may be more tolerant and understanding. We pray too for those in Government and their advisers, that they will listen to the voice of your Wisdom


PS Photos show German frigates and the Sugar-boat, and the wheel-house from the Lucy Ashton now in the Maritime Museum at Irvine

Thought for the day 17 June

June 17

One of the main stories yesterday was the decision of Government ministers (in Scotland as well as England) to provide free school meal vouchers for the summer holidays. Holiday hunger (and term-time hunger) are very real  issues for many families – the situation has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, but it existed long before it, and is likely still to be there once the virus goes away. Similarly demand for the services of foodbanks has been around for quite a number of years – and is not expected to disappear soon. As we move towards the mid-21st Century is this really something we want in our community and country? Should we be asking Governments to address the issues underlying them – not just for the Summer holidays, but all the time?


Lord, you have particular concern for the poor, the vulnerable, the hungry, those in need. Help us to do what we can to assist with their immediate situation. We pray too that Governments will address the longer-term issues that underlie them


Thought for the day 16 June

June 16

How will it be when schools re-open? When will schooling be back to ‘normal’? What will be the immediate impact on pupils hoping to go to university, college or a career? What will the longer term impact be on all children who have lost out on an important part of their schooling this year, and may lose out on some of next session? How will they and their teachers cope with ‘blended’ learning? How can concerns for the children’s well-being and education be squared with worries of children being potential carriers of Covid-19 virus to staff or family? There are no simple or easy answers, and as with so much of the Covid-19 response there may need to be compromises and recognised risks


Lord, we pray for all involved in planning the way ahead for schools, and all affected by decisions taken. We pray for all pupils, particularly those leaving school, and those from homes where they do not receive the same support and encouragement to learn

Thought for the day 15 June

June 15

A few weeks ago roads were very quiet, and people only went out for a short time each day. Now we can go out for longer, and on the whole the weather has been favourable for going out for longer. Many people seem to be walking or cycling, which is good for both physical and mental well-being, but at times it becomes hard to maintain the 2m social distancing. Areas of grass have become extra ‘pavements’, and sometimes one party has to walk in the road (but that isn’t always safe, with more cars etc about). With the possibility that we will hear this week about plans for re-opening more shops and businesses soon, will we hear too about plans to improve facilities for pedestrians and cyclists to maintain social distancing?


Lord, we want people to be safe from Covid-19. We also want them to be safe from traffic accidents. Help those with responsibility for such things to come up with practical, creative ways for addressing both


Thought for the day 13 June

13 June

Over the past week there have been on-going debates in the media about ‘racism’ and ‘transphobia’, which join topics such as anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and homophobia, that were often in the news before it was swamped by Covid-19 stories. From as far back as we have historical sources, and from a wide spread across Planet Earth, it appears that there is some innate human instinct to be afraid of, feel threatened by, be ready to criticise/vilify anyone who is ‘different’ (whether that means in appearance, dress, speech, behaviour, physical or mental capacity, or whatever). Maybe it is something rooted in our pre-human evolutionary past? Whatever its origin, it is an instinct that does not encourage growth, or peace, and creates injustice. Jesus shocked many of his contemporaries by going out of his way to speak to, deal with, and affirm people who were ‘different’. Rebuilding our world post-Covid-19 gives us an opportunity to build a more inclusive church and a more inclusive society


Lord, your love extends to everyone. Forgive us for the times we have thought or expressed prejudice or dislike against someone you love. Help us to be inclusive, and work to build an inclusive world


PS Time to hurry back to the Pier Park by the Castle and hop on board the steamer to Craigendoran for a wee trip up the Gareloch (and maybe hear the echo of Lucy Ashton chuffing up and down)


Thought for the day 12 June

12 June

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the surrender of the 51st Highland Brigade at St Valery, and Poppy Scotland, the Royal British Legion and others are marking the event in various ways. It was the ‘flip-side’ of Dunkirk, the troops who didn’t get away at the fall of France, and ended up as prisoners of war for five years – almost all Scots. Perhaps for reasons of keeping up morale, nothing much was said publicly at the time or later – but it had a big impact on many Highland communities. It also had a big impact on the soldiers involved, many of them young men: feelings of guilt, anger, even betrayal. It is something to recognise for itself, but also perhaps something to reflect on as we go through the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and all the other issues (like racism) that are coming to the surface. Further details can be found at

 Lord, as we recall the impact that the surrender at St Valery had on individuals and communities at that time, we also take time to pause and reflect on our own day, on people who feel guilt, anger or betrayal because of the effects on them of the Covid-19 pandemic, and on all the attempts to ‘sweep under the carpet’ unpleasant news or statistics. Help us to be honest and truthful (even when it is ‘inconvenient’) and where, we can, to support those living with difficult feelings


Glencairn House, High Street, Dumbarton

Thought for the day 11 June

11 June

The news media, and government advisers, around the world from time to time discuss whether it is better to focus on suppressing the virus (and accepting the economic consequences) or keeping the economy going (and accepting that people will become seriously ill, and some will die). There are arguments both ways (even trying to discount those who are perhaps looking as much to their electoral ratings or personal investments as ‘the common good’). It was reported yesterday that one ‘think tank’ reckons that Britain could be the worst-hit of all Developed economies. Certainly we have seen many businesses beginning the redundancy process (even staff in the Church Offices in Edinburgh have felt the effect), and more are expected. Many self-employed people are struggling. In Developing economies, where there are no ‘furlough’ schemes or unemployment benefits, lockdown restrictions and disruption to global trade systems mean that millions face unemployment, and in some cases starvation


Lord, we believe that you want whole and full lives for everyone, free from worries about health, poverty and hunger. We pray for wisdom for political leaders and their advisers, that they will strive for your goals, and work for the kind of world you want to see