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    Saturday 4th September 2021 – The glens of Scotland

    Saturday 4th September 2021 – The glens of Scotland
    September 3, 2021 Judith Simms

    For the next two years we have invited special guest writers to contribute our Weekly Prayers. This month, we welcome former MWiB President Jill Baker.

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    For the past six years it has been my privilege to live in Scotland – a beautiful and welcoming part of Britain.  As we all know, there are tensions within the ‘United’ Kingdom which have been accentuated in the months of lockdown.  Over these four weeks of September I am glad to share something of the spirituality I find in the landscape here.

    While England has valleys and Wales has cwms, Scotland is full of glens, many of which are themselves full of history.  We may think of the violent past in Glencoe, or the battle of Glen Shiel during the Jacobite rising; sometimes to pass through these places today is to feel a shadow of those events fall on us, even now.

    The Bible knows of this connection between glens and sorrow, speaking so powerfully in Psalm 23 of the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ – a valley which we all tread at different times in our lives as we mourn loved ones.

    But the bible also speaks of valleys of refreshment, of fertility, of joy.  In Psalm 65: 11–13) we read:

    11 You crown the year with your bounty;
    your wagon tracks overflow with richness.
    12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
    13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.

    Pause to reflect on what a valley, a glen, might sound like as it shouts and sings for joy!

    Many Scottish glens are places of rich soil, generously sprinkled with wild flowers of every hue (and yes, abundantly watered too!)  A favourite walk is to tramp (wellies needed most of the year) down this little glen in Perthshire, pictured above, with its elegant viaduct, a reminder of the steam trains which passed this way from 1870 until 1965.

    Glens are important in the spiritual landscape of our lives; whether filled with sunshine or shadows, glens are a route from one place in our lives to another; glens, or valleys, are for movement.

     

    God of the glen, thank you that you walk beside me as I journey through whatever surrounds me today.

     I look to my right and to my left;
    perhaps I feel fenced in by too many tasks,
    or overshadowed by sorrow and anxiety;
    perhaps my heart is lifted up to sing and shout for joy along with the flowers and colours I see.

    God of the glen, thank you that you walk beside me as I journey through whatever surrounds me today.

    Help me to keep in step with you,
    to hear the sounds of praise on the wind,
    to pause and remember those whose cries echo through this vale of tears,
    to breathe in deeply the spirit of courage and grace which resounds from your footsteps.

    God of the glen, thank you that you walk beside me as I journey through whatever surrounds me today.

    Amen.  

     

    Prayers and images © Jill Baker.
    You can download a pdf of September’s Weekly Prayers here: