From the Rector

Dear friends,

I am writing this while the sun is shining, new shoots are coming out of the soil, the cherry blossom is nearly out at Lauriston Castle (reminding me of drinking sake with Japanese friends), and there is the expectation of new relaxations to the coronavirus restrictions.

The church garden is looking fine and most times I go down there are members of the congregation working or chatting in the grounds. There is an excellent and very ancient custom in the Church, followed at Holy Cross, of the Rogation Procession. We go into the fields or gardens, pray for God’s blessing on the crops and other plants and animals, pray for those who are affected by famine or drought and for the good estate of God’s creation. It is a blessing of the work many of us do in the garden and reminds us that Church is not just something that happens within four walls!

Rogation processions survived the Reformation in England but lost the old custom of having models of a dragon and a lion carried at the front representing Christ the Lion of Judah fighting evil. I thought we had no dragon but I recently met a young girl and her mum by our boiler house where I was told that a dragon lives behind the stout door – the girl had seen smoke from its nostrils coming out of the little chimney!

It is good that children feel at home at Holy Cross. Elsewhere in the May magazine there is an appeal from Izzy Holmes for a Church Rep on the committee of the Reindeer Playgroup, which is an important partner organisation for us, set up by the congregation and linking us to the local community. Please consider taking on this important job. Our involvement with children’s ministry has also included Izzy, Bess and David Townhill leading worship for families in the whole of Scotland via the Sunday Children’s Chapel broadcasts.

Gardens, dragons and families are only part of our ministry. It has been good to re-start the Wednesday Eucharist, which is a short, quiet, contemplative service. We all have different needs at different times and ages and the wisdom of the Christian Church responds to these needs. We see this in the Church Year where the Eucharist uses different prayers at different times of the year. The Easter Eucharistic Prayer of our 1982 Scottish Liturgy includes the women at the tomb and ‘weary fishermen on the shore’, and their arrival and departure after Pentecost marks out the Easter season for us.

Another companion in our Easter worship has been St Columba. You may have noticed him being mentioned in the Eucharistic Prayer, and in the list of readings below we will be keeping his feast day on the nearest Sunday to 9th June. Why is he important for us? He appears twice at Holy Cross, in the East window and the icon by the pulpit, and he is one of the greatest and most attractive of Scottish Saints.

St Columba is also a local saint. Davidson’s Mains is in the ancient parish of Cramond which was dedicated to St Columba and is opposite the isle of Inchcolm which is named after him. The old Roman road outside our church was probably the route taken by monks of Iona as they travelled to and from their brothers on Lindisfarne. We all have different backgrounds and we have links all over the world, but it is good to be rooted in and supported by the Christian history of our own place.

We have a duty to pray for our country, for the Queen as she continues to serve despite the loss of her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, and for Scotland as we go to the polls this month to elect a new Scottish government in an election which may have significant consequences. The Church does not take sides in party politics, though she may need to condemn evil as in Germany in the 1930s, but we are called to work for justice and the common good of society and that can mean getting involved in the political process, at least by voting. May God bless you, and bless our Queen and country.

With love in Christ,


Photograph, the Oratory at the Rectory.

Read Stephen’s ‘thoughts on liturgy, history and religion’ in his blog

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