Here I am with the Minister from Fort Augustus Church of Scotland Kirk, The Rev Dr Adrian Varwell. Dr Varwell read to us from the Psalter and led prayers of thanksgiving for the safe return of the Chilean miners, and prayers for the relatives of those who lost loved ones in the recent mining disaster in New Zealand. It is not in the tradition of the Church of Scotland to show devotion to the saints or to bless objects with holy water, so it was left to me to lead the main part of the service.
I gave a brief homily on the life of St Barbara - hoping that the congregation would not spot my ignorance. If they did, they were too kind to show it! I then turned to the Book of Blessings - Chapter 23 - Order for the blessing of technical installations or equipment.
Through labour and intelligence, and especially by using science and technology, the human race continually extends its mastery over nature, with resultant benefits that improve human life for both individuals and societies. The inauguration therefore of technical installations or equipment is an opportune occasion for the celebration of a blessing, in order to make it clear that the message of the Gospel is not inimical to the building up of the world.
The order of blessing provided has reference to the community in whose interest the technical equipment or installation (for example, a central energy source or power house, a reservoir or water system, a seismograph) has been established and to the managers and staff. Therefore the blessing is not to be celebrated without the presence at least of representatives of such groups.
I found the rite of blessing perfect for the occasion and the congregation contributed with a wonderfully prayerful attitude.