Irvine’s ‘Marymass’ is one of Scotland’s most famous ‘community engaging’ festivals. It’s Saturday celebrations usually pass me by, but this year, as interim moderator of The Old Parish, I found myself parading and saying grace at Provost Joan Sturgeon’s resplendent reception on Irvine Moor. Not to miss a trick, we also got ahead with filming for Fullonart’s Christmas project, ‘Are Ye Wise!?’ 3 two minute docu-soaps of 3 Wise Men reaching Irvine in search of ‘The King’, culminating in a Christmas Single, in which as many caring people and community affirming groups will be involved.

marymassumbrellas-400Our aims are to: 1. Celebrate the Christmas Story & Spirit of Christmas; 2. Affirm community and civic pride in Irvine; 3. Show off iconic Irvine views; and 3. Promote Irvine as a ‘Giving Something Back’ town. Father Willie and I have drafted ‘From The East’ Kilmarnock Baptist’s Rev Tendai Mbaserah (Zimbabwean) and together had great fun asking Marymass’s parade and public where The King may be found. On Sunday we caught up with the Marymass Queen and her entourage to ask them too and get them joining the ‘Are Ye Wise’ Dance. Yes, it’s more madness, mayhem and meaning as these Wise(?) Ones search for The King, including a chance to get in on a ‘Flasmob Dance’ on 24th September at The Bridgegate’s Big Screen (details to be on ‘Shoes Brothers Dance’ Facebook Page).

marymassqueen-300After witnessing the Marymass Queen’s coronation King David’s rise to royalty caught my attention. There was 14 years between David’s choosing (anointing) and crowning as Israel’s King. David was the runt of Jesse’s family, the youngest and smallest, yet Samuel chose him above David’s bigger, muscle bulging brothers. God tells leader Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” God sees in David a ‘Lion Heart’. God looks into each of our hearts to see a precious child, a princess / prince in the making. In Christ God identifies in us His son / daughter and the tremendous potential to grow us up to be like Jesus in all but his divinity.

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David’s 14 year journey through ‘Spiritual Boot Camp’ highlight the ups and downs, bumps and bruises, joys and challenges involved in growing the lion and lioness in each one of us. Life-moments can threaten and undermine our relationship with Father God. My father died when I was two. In my 20’s I started coming to terms with the separation I must have felt at the time of dad’s death. As a 4 or 5 year old, picking wild strawberries outside a French castle, suddenly I turned to find the huge doors slammed shut. I cried and banged the door for an age till mum came to open them, scoop me up and assure me all was right. Whiz forward to 25 years old, on the eve of my wedding day, dining with family, fiancé Dorothy left table for something and panic gripped me. I genuinely felt Dorothy had deserted me. These two ‘separating’ experiences opened me up to the far-reaching love of Christ, which brings light to our darkest days, healing to our brokenness and communion with God and His purpose and plans for our lives. His love through my mother, wife, family and Family of God continue to help me grow up into the loving person God wants me to be.

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nickskelton-200The Olympics have again been inspirational, with the likes of Nick Skelton at 58, having once broken his neck in two places, becoming gold medalist in show jumping. Whatever age you are God sees a champion in every one of us, it just might take longer than we’d hoped!