Standing aside my trusty steed on Brodick pier, wind and waves whipping lugs & legs, I wondered when I’d ever get off the beautiful island of Arran. Alas, it’s a major hazard of island living, that you’re at the weather’s whim for getting on and off. The tannoy announced that the next ferry to Ardrossan would be the next day, Sunday, at 8.40am on a first come, first served basis. Ok, I might manage our 10.30am Sunday service after all!
Saturday is my day off, but occasionally I’m called into service on my sabbath, like sharing at Sannox Saturday, a beautiful monthly gathering of Arran Christians and folk from the mainland associated with the Sannox Centre community. Not to be put off my habitual Saturday cycle I caught the 7am ferry, loaded up with its Big Scottish Breakfast, and sped clockwise into the teeth of wind and wet. At the wonderful wee Machrie GC Café I swiped the last bit of chocolate cake to assist a cappuccino in punting me towards Lochranza, where, with the wind aiding me at last, I sailed over the Boguille (Boaglie) and down to the Sannox Centre an hour early for a 2pm start.
The whole cycle was a chance to pray for the villages, towns, farms, homes, church sanctuaries & businesses I passed, and to ask for a special word for the Sannox saints. It came loud and clear, “Fresh praise is rising!” “Fresh praise is rising!” “Fresh praise is rising!” ‘And this fresh praise will rise from people and families who don’t yet know the Joy of Jesus. As rains water parched land to draw out earth’s praise in beauty and fruitfulness, so also God’s Praise will rise from hearts and souls open to the outpouring of God’s Spirit. I started singing ‘Praise is rising’ –
Praise is rising, eyes are turning to You, We turn to You.
Hope is stirring, hearts are yearning for You, We long for You.
When we see You We find strength to face the day,
In Your presence all our fears Are washed away, washed away.
Hear the sound of hearts returning to You, We turn to You,
In Your kingdom broken lives are made new, You make all things new.
Hosanna, Hosanna, You are the God who saves us, Worthy of all our praises
Hosanna, Hosanna, Come have Your way among us, We welcome You here, Lord Jesus.
On arrival at the radiant, refreshing retreat Sannox Centre I asked Andrew Clark if we could sing it. Low and behold it was already printed for singing! It was a very sweet time of intimacy with God and one another in Christ as we considered what God is doing in Irvine, Scotland, and prayed especially for Arran. Backed by everyone’s blessing I dashed to the 4.40pm ferry to be greeted by tumbleweed and realisation that I’d be spending the night at the Sannox Centre (pure luxury compared to those who bought tents to pitch at the campsite!).
Praise God, despite the ferry being late, I made it home with 10 min’s to shower, shave and ensure that the service’s focus was on Jesus’ fragrance, not my ripeness. God is Good, and, as we humble ourselves before Him, He overflows us with ‘fresh praise’! ‘Fresh Praise is Rising!!!