The Highland Year of Culture has just recently come to an end. I purchased a book of short stories and poems written by school pupils. Some of them wrote poetry about aspects of nature – salmon leaping at Shin Falls, the tranquillity of Loch Ness. Other pupils used Highland myths and legends to create their own stories. Still other pupils were asked to create Highland characters and base a story around them.
One boy had written his story about a church minister who moved from the Highlands down to Glasgow in the 19th or early 20th century. He ends up in a wealthy parish with a church full of old people. The writer describes wonderfully the way in which the minister sinks beneath the covers of complacency and looses his passion.
It is quite a sad tale about regret and about the feeling that he let go of his dreams and settled for something less that what he was meant for.
He does one act of compassion towards the end of his life to resurrect his faith, heading down to the sleazy part of the city to “rescue” a prostitute and her child. It doesn’t turn out as he expects. She is convinced she has slipped too far down the path to hell to be worth saving and he cannot persuade her otherwise. She doesn’t turn her life around and thinks he has failed and sinks into despondency. It is not until the end of his life that he comes to realise just how much his kindness touched the life of her child.
It wasn’t the most cheerful of stories, but throughout the story the gospel message was really clearly told. The love of God and His compassion for people was so beautifully explained.
It is so overtly “gospel” and I just love that it is in the book for people to read.