The Meenister’s Log
I was a probationer assistant (like an apprentice or curate) in the then new housing estate of Wester Hailes in the west of Edinburgh.
Helen and I had got married in 1973, soon after I got this position, and after a few months in furlough houses belonging to the (then) Overseas Council of the C of S (for whom I was to work for later), we ended up in an empty manse in Juniper Green in Edinburgh …. with next to no money, apart from the small stipend I got from the Church (do you know what the Church of Scotland’s tartan is? …. small cheques).
We moved in with two deckchairs, an old dining room suite given to us by a friend of my parents, loads of books and a large collection of LPs and a record player.
I bought a “Baby Belling” cooker, which probably cost £20/£30 and was so skint that I had to pay for it on H.P.
We got a bed from my dear mentor, the Rev Bob Whyte, and he and his sons and I pushed it up Lanark Road from his manse to our humble abode. It must have given passing motorists and pedestrians a bit of a laugh.
There was no heating as such, and Helen and I sort of squatted in one room. The rest of this big and beautiful Manse remained empty (apart from the somewhat creepy creaking noises in one of the empty bedrooms upstairs and on the staircase!)
She went back to University in the October and I seem to recall that every lunchtime I went down to the local wee shop and bought Birds Eye battered sausages for lunch (I wonder if they still make them).
It was so cold that sometimes in the morning I’d put my trousers on over my pj pants!
And this especially when I had to walk to the local Primary School in Wester Hailes. Just as well, as the first time I went to take Morning Assembly, my zipper on my trousers was undone!
I remember one particular occasion that I was there. The address was something about competition, I think. And I unbuttoned my shirt to reveal a Hearts tee-shirt, by way of illustration.
Apparently, there was a riot in the playground thereafter between Hibs and Hearts supporters… and these were only young kids.
The headmaster complained to my boss and I didn’t visit that school much thereafter!
The folks in the congregation were a delight, but some of the natives were less than impressed with the clergy.
I had intended to stay for two years, but one evening while waiting at a bus stop some yobs started throwing bricks at me. That decided me to seek my own Charge after a year.
I ended up in a lovely village as minister in 1974. And guess what? I was beaten up on the steps of my kirk on Christmas Eve!
(but for that tale, you’ll have to dig back in this Blog to the very first entry……..)
The Meenister’s Log.
An ordinary sort of bloke died and felt rather uneasy about divine judgement on his life which had been pretty uneventful.
In heaven, there was a queue in front of him, so he settled down to look and listen.
After consulting his big book, Christ said to the first man in the queue: “I see here that I was hungry and you fed me. Good man – in you come!”
To the second, he said “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink – come on in to Heaven” and to the third, “I was in prison and you visited me” And so it went on.
As each person entered heave, our friend realised that he’d never fed the hungry, visited the prisoner or the sick – none of these things.
Then his turn came – sick to the stomach, he watched Christ leaf through the pages of the book. “There’s not much written here, but you did do something: when I was sad and discouraged, you came and told me funny stories, made me laugh and cheered me up. Welcome – enter into the joy of your Lord”
Thanks to Jared Hay for his original post of this on FB
The Meenister’s Log – Charlie Chaplain’s Tales
It all starts with the man who became the Patron Saint of France, St. Martin – OK, are you listening?!
Weel then, this geezer, Martin was a Roman (in the gloamin’) sodjer – right. An wan day, he cam across this pan-handler sittin’ at the gates o’ this city (it wis cried Amiens) and this doon an’out says tae Martin, “Ony spare change, Jimmy?”
“Sorry, pal” says Martin, “but am stoney”
But this Martin wiz a decent bloke, and didnae like seeing this puir guy chitterin’ in the cauld.
So here’s whit he did: he took aff his Roman Sodjer’s cloak and cut it in twa. “Here ye are, pal”, he said to the bloke “this’ll keep oot this brass monkey weather, sure it will”
(El Greco – Martin of Tours)
Now, that nicht, it said that Martin had a dream.
It wiz o’ heavin’ with a’ the angels and archangels and them with their halos a’ arood And, ye’ll never believe this: here’s the Big Man – aye Jesus himself – staunin’ richt there amangst them. And guess whit: he’s got oan hauf a sodjer’s cloak!
Wan o’ they angels or it micht have been an archangel, I cannae mind, speers tae him “Lord, why are yoose wearin’ that cloak like?”
An’ Jesus replies – now get this – “Ma servant, Martin, gied it tae me!”
(by this, he was referring to his words: Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.)
After St. Martin died, his cloak was kept as a sacred relic. Frankish kings took the cloak with them into battle, and it was used to give sanctity to oaths.
The cloak was preserved in a specially built sanctuary. In the Mediaeval Latin of the time, the cloak was called a cappella (“short cloak”), a diminutive of Late Latin cappa (“cloak”). Soon the sanctuary itself became known as the cappella.
In Latin-speaking Europe, the word cappella expanded its meanings to include, in roughly chronological order, any sanctuary holding sacred relics, any private sanctuary or holy place, and any building for worship that was not a regular church.
In Old French, cappella became chapele, which entered Middle English in the 13th century as chapel.
The capella and the custodians of the relic became known as capellani: hence the word chaplain is derived through Middle English chapelein, from Old French chapelain, from Medieval Latin capellanus.
And that’s how it all came about.
Wake up, you at the back!
The tune is “Monks Gate” by Ralph Vaughan Williams, based on a Sussex folk song, but not associated with these words until Vaughan Williams yoked them together in The English Hymnal in 1906. The two fit together remarkably well.
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