Whirlwinds and Wakes: One Year of Island Ministry

P1040504Leaving church the other day, my friend Alex Murray commented to me that it was my anniversary! At first, I was thrown, but his mum coming behind reminded me that it is now one full year since I was inducted as minister of Knock & Point. I hadn’t even remembered! It is incredible how the time has passed so quickly, and so busily.

We arrived on the Island in a hurricane, with Swordale in darkness for two days, slates off every roof and my van blown onto the shore in the night. And in a sense the whirlwind has continued: rushing around trying to visit all the congregation, the demands of two young children, and of course the ongoing pressure of three services a week to prepare for.

But there are moments of stillness too – the summer evening’s walk along the peat road; the calmness of the first Psalm, when all the bustle of getting ready for a service is forgotten, and nothing matters for a few moments but the rich swelling melody of the praise of God; the quiet of the prayer meeting, as a brother leads us to the throne of grace.

And quietest of all, the times when death reminds how little our busyness matters. Already we have had one death in Knock & Point: a painful wrench as a much-valued member was lost from the congregation. A warm word of encouragement; a strong grasp of the hand at the church door; things we will not experience again in this life.

There is quietness in mourning, as we remember those who have passed on. There is a deep silence in the traditional gatherings on the Island for the wake, the funeral service, and the procession to the graveside. It is a good opportunity for thought: where am I going from here, where is my life leading? For too many, it seems that the challenge of the Gospel means little, and that death is something they are hideously unprepared for.

There is danger, even for a minister, in being so busy that there is no time for reflection and for prayer. Truthfully, nothing we do (even if its done for the Church) has any real value if we are not truly prepared for death, if we do not truly have Christ as Saviour.

God’s Word reminds us: “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:10-11).

It is a good reminder of the need to sort out priorities, and especially to make sure that in the middle of a whirlwind of busyness, we are not missing out the “one thing needful.”

The past year of ministry has had its encouragements, especially when I have seen God’s people visibly brightened and stirred by the encouragement they have had from the pulpit or from a visit, or when I have had a question from a child, that shows he has actually listened seriously and thoughtfully to a sermon. It has also had its low points, especially when professing Christians painfully disappoint in how they conduct themselves.

But my prayer and longing for Point is that we would see God mightily at work. There is a whirlwind that He alone can send, “a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2), the power of His Holy Spirit, and the effect of this work is to alter all our priorities so drastically it is described in Scripture as being “born again” (John 3:3). If the wind of His Spirit blows, then our present concerns, that keep us so preoccupied, will be seen as trivial, beside the vital issue of our soul’s salvation. When the Spirit blows, he knocks aside our feeble covering of self-deception, and exposes the ugliness of our own sin. And when we are ready, He brings us to Jesus Christ, the only Saviour.

Let’s hope and pray that there are some in Point – even one – for whom this will be spiritually a whirlwind year, a year of awakening, and of coming to know Christ as Saviour, with all the joy and blessing that He brings.

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12 comments to Whirlwinds and Wakes: One Year of Island Ministry

  • How time flies. I hope in the year or so since you were inducted, the congregation has grown.

  • Dear Mr MacLeod.

    Hope ALL goes well DV with your communion in Point FCC. Hope both Revs W MacLeod (Your father) + Calum Smith Bracadale get on well too whilst there.

  • Sincerely hope Rev W MacLeod Knightswood gets back to Glasgow in time to attend the Presbyter Meeting in Knightswood FCC this evening DV.

  • I thought the sermons from your recent communion would have been able to be listened to online by now via this website.

  • I was just listening to the Communion sermons done in your Congregation by your Father (Rev W MacLeod Knightswood and Rev C Smith Bracadale) and I noticed the sermon from the Friday of the Communion HAS NOT been put on this webpage. Why was that?

    • Rev Alasdair Macleod

      Thanks for your comment, David. From memory, I think we forgot to record this service. It was a good communion, particularly the Sabbath morning service was a very blessed occasion.

    • Calum MacLeod

      Hi David, Thanks for your feedback. I didn’t get the Friday sermon recorded on my own recorder but another of our Elders has it. He gave me a copy on CD but I’m having trouble trying to extract it. It looks like I will have to go down to his home and get a copy direct from his computer. He’s working late shift all this week so I’m not likely to get a copy till next week. I also hope to get the Monday sermon uploaded this week. Regards, Calum

  • Thank you Calum for your prompt reply. I look forward to being able to listen to them whenever you manage to put them online DV.

  • Hi Calum. I see the Friday Sermon from the last Communion Season in Knock/Point FCC has STILL not been downloaded onto the website sadly. Hopefully ALL the sermons from the next Communion will be able to be downloaded DV

    • Calum MacLeod

      I’m sorry, David, I haven’t been able to get the Fri sermon. I’m very disappointed as, no doubt, you are. I’m not quite sure what’s gone wrong but we just have to accept that these things happen from time to time. It’s such a pity because Rev W Macleod preached a very challenging sermon on Matthew 7:21-23.

  • Not too worry Mr MacLeod. Hopefully the sermons from the communion seasons in Knock and Point Free Church Continuing in 2017, WILL ALL manage to be put on to this website DV.

    Although I am NOT in the FCC myself, I know plenty of people who are in the FCC especially on the mainland.


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