A group from the Airdrie and Glasgow congregations met in Airdrie RPCS at 9.30am on Saturday 26th May and after prayer by Rev. Kenneth Stewart we boarded the coach which was kindly provided by the Airdrie congregation. We were ready for a very interesting Covenanting Tour which included a visit to Leuchars Parish Church, Magus Muir and St Andrews. The glorious sunshine, the Christian fellowship and singing and our competent Covenanter Guide, Mr. Jimmy Fisher, made the day a most memorable occasion.
As we passed the Kirk o’ Shotts, Jimmy reminded us of the great Revival which had taken place there in June 1630 when over five hundred people were converted. The preacher was 27 year old John Livingstone who had earlier in the day felt himself utterly unworthy of preaching to the people.
Once we picked up our Edinburgh friends, we made our way to Leuchars Parish Church. This was a very interesting visit because it was where Alexander Henderson had been a minister in the 17th century. At the time of his Induction he was unconverted. Having been appointed as minister contrary to the wishes of the parishioners, he found the church doors barricaded against him but he managed to enter the building by a window. Some time afterwards he decided to go to hear the famous Robert Bruce of Kinnaird who was preaching nearby. Mr. Bruce’s text was John ch.10 v.1 “He who enters not by the door into the sheepfold but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” The Holy Spirit used that sermon as the means of his conversion. From then on he was a great supporter of Presbyterianism. He was also involved
in drawing up the National Covenant and he attended The Westminster Assembly.
Our next stop was at Magus Muir. We walked through the woods to the spot where Archbishop Sharp had been assassinated in May 1679 by some Covenanters. As a revenge for this killing, five Covenanters (unconnected with the killing) were ordered to be brought from Edinburgh to Magus Muir to be brutally put to death by hanging and their bodies were to be left hanging in the open field. They were eventually buried in that same spot by those who cared about them and a headstone now marks their graves.
At St Andrews we were shown round Holy Trinity Church which is associated with John Knox. We were surprised to see a very large memorial to Archbishop Sharp still located in an area of the church which has been named The Sharp Aisle. After lunch we were shown where Patrick Hamilton, the first Scottish martyr, was cruelly burnt to death at the stake outside St Salvator’s in 1527 and later in 1546 George Wishart suffered the same fate in front of the Castle. Finally we made our way along to the old Cathedral grounds where saintly Samuel Rutherford is buried alongside other men of God. He would certainly have suffered a martyr’s death as well had it not been for the fact that he was already dying when summoned to appear before Parliament.
We feel thankful, humbled and stimulated as we reflect on the inheritance which has come down to us from our Scottish Reformers and Covenanters.