Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three rights do make a ‘left’! That’s how it felt finding my way across the Erskine Bridge and going left rather than, my usual, right along the Forth & Clyde Canal. I met met David Cloudburst (Blackhurst) at ‘Murder Ma Brush’ (Kilmacolm), cycling through good soaking Scottish rain to find refuge in a café, comfort in steaming coffee, and courage in friendship for the next stretch. While a ‘people person’, I can quite happily cycle for miles on my own, communing with God, nature, and my wheels, but I also enjoy company and realise that one can become quite selfish and self-centred simply cutting a lone trail. It’s interesting that, when CS Lewis became a Christian (against his wishes and better sense), he was quite happy to read his Bible and theology alone. But soon he realised that the change Jesus brings to a soul, open to his converting love, spells WE not I, OUR not My, and US not Me. He was eventually irresistibly drawn into friendship and fellowship with other brothers and sisters.
Fortunately, the remaining cycle from Kilmacolm to Balloch Loch Lomond was dry as we appreciated the Clyde-side & River Leven bank tracks and the chance to catchup. At Bowling we stopped to view the transformation of a derelict site into a celebration of a rich industrial history, renewed as a harbour, marina, and entrance from River Clyde into Forth Clyde Canal. It goes to show what people coming together with aspiration and vision can do. Where you previously had to take a convoluted route to cross roads and round corners, a streamline flyover track spans the space and affords an aerial view of houseboats, lock gates, pleasure boats and the wonderful Clyde. I thought of what can happen when inspired and inspiring people, churches and community groups combine to achieve great things for the greater good.
“The whole earth is a living icon.” Said St John Damascene. IE. Creation and the world around us are full of windows through which we can see and recognise an amazing creative God. Alas, rather than icons people can see idols to distract and worship; rather than windows we see walls or mirrors to see our own reflection in. Very easily EGO spells ‘Edging God Out’.
And very easily the importance of faithful friendships, fellowship, and fruitful teamwork gets forgotten. Here’s how the writer to The Hebrews (10:19-25 / MSG) puts it:
So, friends, we can now—without hesitation—walk right up to God, into “the Holy Place.” Jesus has cleared the way by the blood of his sacrifice, acting as our priest before God. The “curtain” into God’s presence is his body.
So, let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.
David’s inside knowledge in traversing Dumbarton and reaching Duck Bay was invaluable as we reached our respective wives for a welcome meal together. No, I didn’t cycle home, but once again gave thanks that a Saturday morning cycle can take one into the heart of Scotland so readily. Through stunning scenery, along high and low roads, we reached Scotland a ‘little after’ our loved ones got to ‘Loch Lomond’ by car. “Oh Ye bonnie, bonnie banks!”