Throughout most of my adult life my contact with ‘church’ and Christians had been fairly sporadic at best. Yes, I attended church sometimes but not because I had any real sense of needing to, it was more just a case of going along for the sake of it. The truth is that I was like a lot of people who use reasons like ‘pressure of work’ and ‘having to bring up a family’ as excuses for not going to church.
Looking back, I can now see that the Holy Spirit had not been at work in my life at that time. Then when I retired from my job working in the Strathclyde police service, I started tracing my family history. During this research I discovered that my mother’s side of the family were descended from a family called ‘Blackwood’ who came from Fenwick in Ayrshire. It was when I was working on this part of my family line that I found out about James Blackwood. The thing that intrigued me when reading about James was the fact that he had been involved in a battle that had occurred at a place called Rullion Green, in the Pentland Hills just south of Edinburgh on the 28th November 1666. As I read more I found out that this battle had taken place between a group of Covenanters and a company of the King’s dragoons. The Covenanters, who had gone to Edinburgh to protest about the heavy fines they were having to pay for their refusal to go to churches where the King’s prayer book was being used, were on their way home when they had been attacked by Sir Tam Dalzell and his troops. Although he had survived the skirmish itself, James had been captured and was taken as a prisoner to Irvine where he was then hanged on 31st December 1666.
The thing that struck me as I read about this distant relative of mine was how his faith had affected his life. James could probably have saved his life. If he had admitted that what he had done was wrong and taken an oath saying that the King had the right to rule over every aspect of people’s lives in Scotland: social, cultural, and religious, then he would most likely have been spared his life. But he didn’t because he really believed in Jesus Christ and preferred to face eternity with Him.
This really spoke to me. So I got onto the internet and ended up emailing a minister in the Western Isles who then put me in contact with Andrew, who replied immediately and invited me to come to church. I decided that I would, and that decision has made a big difference to my life, not just for now but for all eternity.
Being a Christian has meant that I have found a new purpose in my life, and I would ask you to come along and meet a group of people, who really do love the Lord Jesus and one another.