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During these past two Sundays, Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis ensured that I was unable to cross to the Island of Lismore to conduct worship in the cathedral.
As I sat drinking coffee in the Port Appin Hotel, looking at the enormous waves and squally showers with the ever-changing drama of the skies, I thought: ‘I wouldn’t like to be going anywhere near that crossing today.’
While that was not an issue as the ferry was not sailing, I began to think of the days when the weather was rough and yet the ‘good ship Lismore’ did make the journey from Point to Port Appin or vice versa. We may think on those days how vulnerable we feel as the vessel rises and falls with the swell of the sea.
Yet others have been much more vulnerable. Whether it is Alan or Donald or Andy or Mark, a skipper and mate have to sail out to the MV Lismore, clamber on board whether the rise or fall of the sea or the darkness makes this dangerous or not, tie up the dingy on which they have made the journey and start the vessel ready for service.
For the service they provide, not only are the people of the Island of Lismore appreciative but also those who far and wide also benefit from what those ferrymen do, and those who have been ferrymen before them have done.
As we get on and off the ferry on calm summer days, we tend to forget the spells of severe winter weather and those mornings we can assuredly say: ‘Rather them than me.’
But what of Jesus? Just like the days when we do not use the ferry and we forget about the crew, so we can easily forget about Jesus. He doesn’t force His presence into our lives, He is just there, being who He is and doing what He does – forgiving us our sins.
To achieve that act of forgiveness took a risk. The risk that we would reject His sacrifice on Calvary’s Cross or just forget it. But when a storm hits our lives, and we are surrounded by all manner of difficulties or personal pain, it is then we turn to Him and ask His forgiveness or healing or guidance or love – and we will receive it.
Like the ferrymen, Jesus has a job to do. His was authorised by His Father in Heaven, and He is with us every moment of every day, only asking that we recognise him.
Rev Iain Barclay,
Appin Parish Church, linked with Lismore.