Saturday, 31 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 30

Today we are in Stirlingshire.

"STIRLINGSHIRE, west-midland county of Scotland; consists of a main portion and two detached sections to the NE. included in Perthshire and Clackmannanshire; is bounded N. by Perthshire, NE. by Clackmannanshire and a detached portion of Perthshire, E. by the Firth of Forth and Linlithgowshire, S. by Linlithgowshire, Lanarkshire, and detached part of Dumbartonshire, and W. by Dumbartonshire; greatest length, NW. and SE., 46 miles; greatest breadth, NE. and SW., 22 miles; area, 286,338 ac., pop. 112,443. The E. part of the co. is flat, finely wooded, and well cultivated; and the valley of the Forth along the N. boundary includes some of the finest land in Scotland. The middle and S. are occupied with hills and valleys - the principal ridges being the Campsie Fells and Kilsyth Hills, and the Fintry Hills and Gargunnock Hills. On the W. a long projection extends northwards, including a mountainous district in which Ben Lomond rises to an alt. of 3192 ft., and parts of Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine. Besides the Forth, the chief streams are the Avon, Carron, Bannock, Allan, Endrick, and Blane. Coal and ironstone are extensively worked; limestone and sandstone are abundant. There are important manufactures of woollens, cotton, and iron; and there are several large chemical works and distilleries. The co. comprises 21 pars. with parts of 5 others, the parl. and police burgh of Stirling (part of the Stirling District of Burghs - 1 member), the parl. and police burgh of Falkirk (part of the Falkirk District of Burghs - 1 member), and the police burghs of Alva, Bridge of Allan, Denny and Dunipace, Grangemouth, Kilsyth, and Milngavie. It returns 1 member to Parliament.

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 29

Today we are on the Shetland Islands.

"SHETLAND, insular county of Scotland [map shows location], 50 miles NE. of Orkney, 352,876 ac., pop. 29,705; Mainland, pop. 20,821; it consists of about 100 islands, 29 of which are inhabited -Mainland, Yell, Unst, Fetlar, Whalsay, and Bressay being the largest. Mainland, comprising more than half the area of the whole group, extends N. and S. for 54 miles, and has an extreme breadth of 21 miles, but the coast-line is so irregular and deeply indented that no spot is 4 miles from the sea. The surface of Shetland is generally bleak and moorish, and rises to a maximum alt. of 1475 ft., but only in a few places higher than 500 ft. The rock scenery around the coasts is exceedingly grand and interesting. The climate is humid and comparatively mild, but severe storms are frequent. Large numbers of cattle and sheep of native breeds are reared, and the small Shetland ponies are remarkable for their strength and hardiness. Barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes are grown. The fisheries, especially the herring fishery, are of the greatest importance, and afford the chief employment. The knitting of woollen articles is also a great industry. Shetland comprises 12 pars., and the police burgh of Lerwick. It unites with Orkney in returning 1 member to Parl.

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

We sing the praise of him who died,
of him who died upon the cross;
the sinner's hope let men deride;
for this we count the world but loss.

Inscribed upon the cross we see
in shining letters, God is love:
he bears our sins upon the tree:
he brings us mercy from above.

The cross: it takes our guilt away,
it holds the fainting spirit up;
it cheers with hope the gloomy day,
and sweetens every bitter cup.

It makes the coward spirit brave,
and nerves the feeble arm for fight;
it takes its terror from the grave,
and gilds the bed of death with light.

The balm of life, the cure of woe,
the measure and the pledge of love,
the sinner's refuge here below,
the angel's theme in heaven above.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 28

Today we are in Selkirkshire.

"SELKIRKSHIRE is of an irregular figure, extending 20 miles in length, bounded on the N. by Peebles-shire; on the E. by Berwickshire; on the S.E. and S. by Roxburghshire; on the S.W. by Dumfries-shire; and on the W. by Peebles. This county was formerly named the sheriffdom of Etterick forest, being covered with an extensive wood, which was stocked by great herds of red and fallow deer kept by the Scotish princes for the chace, who had houses for themselves and their train in different parts of the country. The wood is now almost entirely cut down, and the county is stocked with great flocks of sheep. The county is mountainous, and intersected by numerous streams, on the banks of which those plaintive airs were produced, the natural simplicity of which is the pride of the Scots and the admiration of strangers. Besides the Tweed, it is watered by the Etterick and Yarrow, two pastoral streams, the beauties of which are celebrated in Scotish song." from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.

Time for our hymn.

Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before the cross I spend,
Life and health and peace possessing
From the sinner’s dying Friend.

Here I stay, forever viewing
Mercy streaming in His blood;
Precious drops, my soul bedewing,
Plead and claim my peace with God.

Truly blessèd is the station,
Low before His cross to lie,
While I see divine compassion
Floating in His languid eye.

Lord, in ceaseless contemplation
Fix our hearts and eyes on Thee,
Till we taste Thy full salvation,
And unveiled Thy glories see.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 27

Today we are in Roxburghshire.

"ROXBURGHSHIRE is of an irregular figure, the greatest extent of which, in every direction, is about 30 miles. It is bounded on the N. by Berwickshire; on the E. and S. by the English border; and on the W. by Dumfries and Selkirkshires. It comprehends the ancient districts of Teviotdale and Liddisdale; so named from the rivers Teviot and Liddal, which run through them. The N. and W. divisions of the county are mountainous; but the E. and S. are upon the whole flat and fertile. The whole abounds with the most romantic scenery; exhibiting in every part the rough appearance of hills, mosses, and mountains, interspersed, however, with narrow vallies, in which run numerous streams, long since familiar from poetical description ... Roxburghshire is divided into 31 parochial districts, which, by the returns made in 1801, contained 33,712 inhabitants."
from Gazetteer of Scotland published 1806, Edinburgh.

Time for our hymn.

Drop, drop, slow tears,
And bathe those beauteous feet,
Which brought from Heav’n
The news and Prince of Peace.

Cease not, wet tears,
His mercies to entreat;
To cry for vengeance:
Sin doth never cease.

In your deep floods
Drown all my faults and fears;
Nor let His eye see
Sin, but through my tears.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 26

Today we are in Ross & Cromarty.

" ... a northern county of Scotland. The mainland portion is bounded N. by Sutherland and Dornoch Firth, E. by the North Sea and Moray Firth, S. by Beauly Firth and Inverness-shire and W. by the strait of the Minch. The island portion, consisting of as much of the island of Lewis as lies north of a line drawn from Loch Resort to Loch Seaforth, is bounded on the W., N. and E. by the Atlantic, and S. by Harris, the southern part of Lewis. Many islands, all but eleven uninhabited, are scattered principally off the west coasts of Lewis and the mainland. The area of the mainland is 1,572,294 acres and of the islands 404,413 acres, giving a total for the county of 1,976,707 acres or 3088.6 sq. m. ... On the North Sea front the chief indentations are Beauly Firth and Inner Moray Firth, marking off the Black Isle from Inverness-shire; Cromarty Firth, bounding the districts of Easter Ross and the Black Isle; Moray Firth, separating Easter Ross from Nairnshire; and Dornoch Firth, dividing north-east Ross from Sutherlandshire."

Extracted from Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th ed. Vol. 23. Cambridge, 1911

Time for our hymn.

Glory be to Jesus,
Who, in bitter pains,
Poured for me the lifeblood
From His sacred veins!

Grace and life eternal
In that blood I find;
Blest be His compassion,
Infinitely kind.

Blest through endless ages
Be the precious stream
Which from endless torments
Doth the world redeem.

Abel’s blood for vengeance
Pleaded to the skies;
But the blood of Jesus
For our pardon cries.

Oft as it is sprinkled
On our guilty hearts,
Satan in confusion
Terror struck departs.

Oft as earth exulting
Wafts its praise on high,
Angel hosts, rejoicing,
Make their glad reply.

Lift we then our voices,
Swell the mighty flood;
Louder still and louder
Praise the precious blood!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Annunciation of Our Lord

Today we celebrate the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
"All hail," said he, "thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

"For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honor thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"my soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name."
Most highly favoured lady, Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say--
"Most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

Happy Feast!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

5th Sunday of Lent

In the gospel today we hear Jesus say, 'When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men to myself.'

Lift high the cross,
the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore
his sacred Name.

Come, brethren, follow where our Captain trod,
our King victorious, Christ the Son of God. Refrain

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
the hosts of God in conquering ranks combine. Refrain

Each newborn soldier of the Crucified
bears on the brow the seal of him who died. Refrain

This is the sign which Satan's legions fear
and angels veil their faces to rever. Refrain

Saved by this Cross whereon their Lord was slain,
the sons of Adam their lost home regain. Refrain

From north and south, from east and west they raise
in growing unison their songs of praise. Refrain

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee. Refrain

Let every race and every language tell
of him who saves our souls from death and hell. Refrain

From farthest regions let their homage bring,
and on his Cross adore their Saviour King. Refrain

Set up thy throne, that earth's despair may cease
beneath the shadow of its healing peace. Refrain

For thy blest Cross which doth for all atone
creation's praises rise before thy throne. Refrain

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 25

Today we are in Renfrewshire.

"RENFREWSHIRE, maritime Co., in SW. of Scotland, bounded N. by the river Clyde and Dumbartonshire, E. by Lanarkshire, S. by Ayrshire, and W. by the Firth of Clyde; greatest length, NW. and SE., 31 miles; greatest breadth, NE. and SW., 14 miles; area, 156,785 ac., pop. 263,374. The principal streams, all flowing to the Clyde, are the Black Cart, the White Cart, and the Gryfe. The surface in the S. and SW. parts of the Co. is hilly, and somewhat bleak and moorish; it thence undulates to the banks of the Clyde, along which there is some rich and low lying land. Coal, ironstone, and limestone are abundant; copper ore occurs near Gourock and Lochwinnoch. The principal industries, besides mining and agriculture, are the mfr. of cotton and thread, sugar-refining, and shipbuilding. The Co. comprises 20 pars. with parts of 4 others, the parl. and police burghs of Greenock (1 member), Paisley (1 member), and Port Glasgow and Renfrew (part of the Kilmarnock Burghs), the police burghs (suburban of Glasgow) of Crosshill, Kinning Park, Pollokshields, and Pollokshields East, and the police burghs of Gourock, Johnstone, and Pollokshaws. For parliamentary purposes the Co. is divided into 2 divisions -viz., Eastern and Western -each returning 1 member. The representation of the county was increased from 1 to 2 members in 1885."

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

“Take up thy cross,” the Saviour said,
“If thou wouldst My disciple be;
Deny thyself, the world forsake,
And humbly follow after Me.”

Take up thy cross, let not its weight
Fill thy weak spirit with alarm;
His strength shall bear thy spirit up,
And brace thy heart and nerve thine arm.

Take up thy cross, nor heed the shame,
Nor let thy foolish pride rebel;
Thy Lord for thee the cross endured,
And saved thy soul from death and hell.

Take up thy cross then in His strength,
And calmly sin’s wild deluge brave,
’Twill guide thee to a better home,
It points to glory o’er the grave.

Take up thy cross and follow Christ,
Nor think til death to lay it down;
For only those who bear the cross
May hope to wear the glorious crown.

To Thee, great Lord, the One in Three,
All praise forevermore ascend:
O grant us in our home to see
The heavenly life that knows no end.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 24

Today we are in Perthshire.

PERTHSHIRE, east midland county of Scotland, bounded N. by Inverness-shire and Aberdeenshire, E. by Forfarshire, SE. by Fife and Kinross-shire, S. by Clackmannanshire and Stirlingshire, SW. by Stirlingshire and Dumbartonshire, and W. by Argyllshire; greatest length, E. and W., 72 miles; greatest breadth, N. and S., 60 miles; the detached portion (lying along the upper reach of the Firth of Forth, and separated from the main body by a belt of Fife and Clackmannanshire) is 6.25 miles by 4.5 miles; area, 1,617,808; pop. 129,007. Perthshire includes some of the grandest and most beautiful scenery in Scotland, combining features characteristic both of the Highlands and the Lowlands. The ranges of the Ochils and the Sidlaw Hills, which are parted by the estuary of the Tay, occupy the SE.; while the N. and NW. districts, to the extent of more than one-half of the entire county, are occupied with the mountains of the Grampian system, this Highland region being intersected by numerous lochs and glens.

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

Jesu, lover of my soul,
let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none,
hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
with the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want,
more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name,
I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am;
Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart;
rise to all eternity.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 23

Today we are in Peebles-shire

"PEEBLES-SHIRE, or Tweeddale, an inland county in the southern division of Scotland. It is bounded on the north and north-east by Edinburghshire; on the east and south-east by Selkirkshire; on the south by Dumfries-shire; and on the south-west and west by Lanarkshire ... The surface of Peebles-shire, regarded in the aggregate, is higher than that of any other county in the south of Scotland. It is chiefly an assemblage of single hills, clusters of hills, and ranges of mountains, which direct their spurs and their terminations to every point of the compass. The lowest ground is in the narrow vale of the Tweed, immediately within the boundary with Selkirkshire, and lies between 400 and 500 feet above sea-level."
from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.

Time for our hymn.

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

My heart, Thou know’st, can never rest
Till Thou create my peace;
Till of mine Eden repossest,
From self, and sin, I cease.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 22

Today we are visiting the Orkney islands

"The Orkney Islands. Lying off the northern coast of Scotland, Orkney consists of a group of almost treeless, gently rolling islands separated from the mainland by the Pentland Firth. The islands lie between the North Sea to the east and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and cover an area of 376 square miles. There are roughly 70 islands but only 17 are inhabited. Kirkwall, the county's main town, is on the largest island, The Mainland. The town is the site of the magnificent 12th century cathedral of St. Magnus and the ruins of the Bishop's and Earl's Palaces. The next largest islands are Hoy, Westray, Sanday, and Stronsay. Warm ocean currents give the islands the mild climate that makes them one of Scotland's most productive farming areas, with beef cattle being the main product. Fishing is also a highly significant industry but recently tourism has overtaken both it and farming in terms of earnings. The discovery of oil beneath the North Sea led to the construction of a pipeline terminal on Flotta, one of the islands that surround the sheltered harbour of Scapa Flow. A causeway links the southern islands of Burray and South Ronaldsay to the Mainland of Orkney. Remains of prehistoric origin are to be found in abundance. They include burial chambers and rings of standing stones as well as the Stone Age village of Skara Brae which has been designated a World Heritage Site. Viking raiders arrived from Norway 1200 years ago and colonized the islands but they came under Scottish rule in 1472 when, along with Shetland, they were ceded to Scotland in lieu of a wedding dowry." From "Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia", 1996.

Time for our hymn.

My God, I love thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
nor yet because who love thee not
are lost eternally.

Thou, O Lord Jesus, thou didst me
upon the cross embrace;
for me didst bear the nails and spear,
and manifold disgrace,

And griefs and torments numberless,
and sweat of agony;
yea, death itself; and all for me
who was thine enemy.

Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
should I not love thee well,
not for the sake of winning heaven,
nor any fear of hell;

Not with the hope of gaining aught,
not seeking a reward;
but as thyself hast loved me,
O ever loving Lord!

So would I love thee, dearest Lord,
and in thy praise will sing,
solely because thou art my God
and my most loving King.

We have got stranded on Orkney during our Lenten pilgrimage, but the Transalpine Redemptorists (who live on Papa Stronsay) are kindly offering us shelter for the night.

Remember - we shall be rising at 3.15 a.m. so as to be ready for Mass at 3.45 a.m. An early start!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 21

Today we are in Nairnshire - very close to where I live.

NAIRNSHIRE, a maritime Co. in the NE. of Scotland, bounded N. by the Moray Firth, E. by Elginshire, and S. and W. by Inverness-shire; consists of a main body and 5 detached portions, 3 of which are in Elginshire, 1 in Inverness-shire, and 1 in Ross and Cromarty; the main body has an extreme length, N. and S., of 18 miles, and an average breadth, E. and W., of 11 miles; the coast, which is flat and sandy, has an extent of 10 miles; area, 127,905 ac.; pop. 10,455. The low ground near the coast is fertile and well-wooded, the soil consisting of a rich free loam over sand or gravel. The surface gradually rises thence into mountains in the S. Granite is abundant, and is quarried. The rivers are the Nairn and the Findhorn. Agriculture and the fisheries are the chief industries. The county comprises 3 pars. and 7 parts, and the parl. and royal burgh of Nairn (Inverness Burghs). It unites with Elginshire in returning 1 member to Parliament.

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

Lord, teach us how to pray aright,
With reverence and with fear;
Though dust and ashes in Thy sight,
We may, we must draw near.

We perish if we cease from prayer;
O grant us power to pray;
And when to meet Thee we prepare,
Lord, meet us by the way.

God of all grace, we come to Thee
With broken, contrite hearts;
Give what Thine eye delights to see,
Truth in the inward parts.

Faith in the only sacrifice
That can for sin atone;
To cast our hopes, to fix our eyes,
On Christ, on Christ alone.

Patience to watch, and wait, and weep,
Though mercy long delay;
Courage our fainting souls to keep,
And trust Thee though Thou slay.

Give these, and then Thy will be done,
Thus, strengthened with all might,
We, through Thy Spirit and Thy Son,
Shall pray, and pray aright.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Feast of St Joseph

Today we celebrate the Feast of St Joseph of Nazareth.

Lord, hear the praises of thy faithful people
Gathered to honour, on this holy feast-day,
Joseph thy servant, guardian of the Christ-child,
Husband of Mary.

Second in honour to the Virgin Mother,
Gladly he yielded to his high vocation,
When in a vision he was told the story
Of her conceiving.

And when the Saviour, whom prophetic voices
Long had predicted, lay within the manger,
Mother and Infant, by his strong protection,
Rested securely.

May his example give to us thy servants
Love of Christ Jesus, bringer of salvation,
That with Saint Joseph we at length may praise thee
In life eternal.

Almighty Father, unto thee be glory,
With Christ our Saviour and the Holy Spirit,
From all thy people, here and in thy heaven,
Now and for ever. Amen.

Happy Feast!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

4th Sunday of Lent

Today we hear those wonderful words: 'God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.' (John 3:16)

We sing a special hymn for Laetare Sunday.

The God of love my Shepherd is,
And He that doth me feed;
While He is mine and I am His,
What can I want or need?

He leads me to the tender grass,
Where I both feed and rest;
Then to the streams that gently pass:
In both I have the best.

Or if I stray, He doth convert,
And bring my mind in frame,
And all this not for my desert,
But for His holy Name.

Yea, in death’s shady black abode
Well may I walk, not fear;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
To guard, Thy staff to bear.

Surely Thy sweet and wondrous love
Shall measure all my days;
And as it never shall remove
So neither shall my praise.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

St Patrick's Day

Today is St Patrick's Day. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.

Let us sing a hymn in his honour.

Thus spake the risen Master
In far-off Galilee:
'Go forth, and teach the nations,
And bid them follow me.'
He bade his chosen servants
His saving truth proclaim,
And over each disciple
Invoke the three-fold Name.

Torn from his home in childhood
The yoke young Patrick bore:
His master's sheep he tended
By Antrim's rocky shore.
Then to the captive herd-boy
The heavenly message came:
'Arise, depart, my servant;
Thy guard shall be my Name.'

He crossed the stormy ocean,
He roamed in lands afar,
He vowed his life to Jesus,
He joined the holy war.
Then, while he lay in slumber,
The heavenly call he heard,
'Go forth, and preach in Ireland
The power of Christ the Word.'

Dark was the heathen island,
And groaned beneath the might
Of sorcerers and wizards
Till Patrick brought the light;
He preached the saving gospel,
Unarmed and unafraid:
Among the warrior chieftains
The peace of Christ he made.

He faced the king in Tara:
He faced the Druid band:
He drove the powers of darkness
And witchcraft from the land:
And when his work was ended,
Sat down, no more to roam,
And chose for his successors
Armagh to be their home.

He called his shield and breastplate
The eternal Trinity,
The Father, Son, and Spirit,
One God in Persons Three.
By love the three-fold Godhead
Doth all creation move:
And who this truth declareth
Proclaims that God is love.

And now for holy Patrick
Who, armed with heavenly might,
Led forth the Irish people
From darkness into light;
Be praise to God the Father,
To Jesus Christ his Son,
To God the Holy Spirit,
The Three that are but One. Amen.

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 20

Today we are in Morayshire (or Elgin-shire).

"ELGINSHIRE (or Morayshire), maritime county [map shows location], in NE. of Scotland; is bounded N. by the Moray Firth, E. and SE. by Banff, SW. by Inverness, and W. by Nairn; coast-line, 30 miles; 304,606 ac.; pop. 43,788. Along the sea-coast the surface is mostly low and sandy; inland it consists of fertile valleys, divided by low hills, which gradually rise to the mountains on the S. border. In the S. a large portion of the surface is still covered by forest. The principal rivers are the Spey, Lossie, and Findhorn; the Spey and the Findhorn have salmon and grilse, and in the lochs there is abundance of trout; large quantities of haddock, cod, and ling are caught in the Moray Firth. In the lower part of the Co. farming and stock-raising are prosecuted with great success. The principal crops are wheat, oats, potatoes, and turnips. Granite occurs in the S., and red sandstone in the N. There are large quarries of freestone and a few slate quarries; whisky is distilled; and there is some ship-building at the mouth of the Spey; but otherwise the industries, besides agriculture and fishing, are unimportant. Corn, timber, salmon, and whisky are the chief exports. The Co. comprises 15 pars. and 7 parts, the parl. and royal burgh of Elgin (part of Elgin Burghs -1 member), and the parl. and royal burgh of Forres (part of Inverness Burghs). It unites with the co. of Nairn in returning 1 member to Parliament.

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

Jesus, Lord of life and glory,
bend from heaven thy gracious ear;
while our waiting souls adore thee,
friend of helpless sinners, hear:
by thy mercy,
O deliver us, good Lord.

Taught by thine unerring Spirit
Boldly we draw nigh to God,
Only in thy spotless merit,
Only through thy precious Blood, Refrain:

From the depth of nature's blindness,
from the hardening power of sin,
from all malice and unkindness,
from the pride that lurks within, Refrain

When temptation sorely presses,
in the day of Satan's power,
in our times of deep distresses,
in each dark and trying hour, Refrain

When the world around is smiling,
in the time of wealth and ease,
earthly joys our hearts beguiling,
in the day of health and peace, Refrain

In the weary hours of sickness,
in the times of grief and pain,
when we feel our mortal weakness,
when all human help is vain, Refrain

In the solemn hour of dying,
in the awful judgment day,
may our souls, on thee relying,
find thee still our Rock and Stay; Refrain

Jesu, may thy promised blessing
Comfort to our souls afford;
May we now, thy love possessing,
And at length our full reward,
Ever praise thee,
Thee, our ever-glorious Lord.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 19

Today we are in Mid-Lothian (Edinburghshire).

"EDINBURGHSHIRE (or Mid-Lothian), maritime Co. in SE. of Scotland; is bounded E.by Haddington (or East-Lothian), Berwick, and Roxburgh; S. by Selkirk and Peebles; SW. by Lanark; and NW. by Linlithgow (or West-Lothian); coast-line, 12miles; 231,724 ac., pop. 389,164. The surface is finely diversified. The Moorfoot Hills, a continuation of the Lammermuirs, occupy the SE.; the Pentland Hills stretch across the Co. from the SW. All the streams, with the exception of the Tyne and Gala, in the E. and the SE., run to the Firth of Forth; the principle are the North Esk, the South Esk, the Water of Leith, and the Almond; the North Esk especially is noted for its picturesque scenery. The lowlands towards the Forth are the most fertile; the hilly parts of the S. are chiefly under pasture; in the W. are dairy-farms; in the vicinity of the city of Edinburgh are extensive nursery grounds and market gardens. The principal crops are oats and barley, turnips and potatoes. The Co. consists chiefly of carboniferous strata; and coal, shale, ironstone, lime- stone, and freestone,are extensively worked."

(Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887)

Time for our hymn.

Have mercy, Lord, on me,
As Thou wert ever kind;
Let me, oppressed with loads of guilt,
Thy wonted mercy find.

Wash off my foul offense,
And cleanse me from my sin;
For I confess my crimes, and see
How great my guilt has been.

The joy Thy favour gives
Let me again obtain,
And Thy free Spirit’s firm support
My fainting soul sustain.

To God the Father, Son,
And Spirit glory be,
As ’twas, and is, and shall be so
To all eternity. Amen.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 18

Today war are in Lanarkshire.

"Lanarkshire, inland co. in SW. of Scotland; is bounded N. by Dumbartonshire and Stirlingshire, E. by Linlithgowshire, Edinburghshire, and Peeblesshire, S. by Dumfriesshire, and W. by Ayrshire and Renfrewshire; greatest length, NW. and SE., 52 miles; greatest breadth, NE. and SW., 34 miles; area, 564,284 ac., pop. 904,412. Lanarkshire is often called Clydesdale, occupying, as it does, the valley of the Clyde, which traverses the county from SE. to NW., and receives numerous tributary streams, including the Douglas, Avon, and Calder. ...

The surface rises towards the S., where the Lowther or Lead Hills reach an alt. of 2403 ft. The Upper Ward is chiefly hill or moorland, affording excellent pasture for sheep; the Middle Ward contains the orchards for which Clydesdale has long been famous; and in the Lower Ward are some rich alluvial lands along the Clyde; but all over the county a considerable proportion of the soil is moist, marshy, and barren. Dairy-farming is prosecuted with success. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) The minerals are very valuable; coal and iron are wrought to such an extent that Lanarkshire is one of the principal seats of the iron trade; lead is mined in the Upper Ward. The co. comprises 40 pars. and 4 parts, the parl. and mun. burgh of Glasgow (7 members, and Glasgow University, with that of Aberdeen, 1 member), the parl. and police burghs of Airdrie, Hamilton, and Lanark (part of the Falkirk Burghs), the parl. and police burgh of Rutherglen (part of the Kilmarnock Burghs), and the police burghs of Biggar, Govan, Govanhill, Hillhead, Maryhill, Motherwell, Partick, and Wishaw. For parl. purposes it is divided into 6 divisions - viz., Govan, Partick, North-Western, North-Eastern, Mid, and Southern, 1 member for each division. The representation of Lanarkshire was increased from 2 to 6 members in 1885."

John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887

Time for our hymn.

Ah, holy Jesu, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
’Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For man’s atonement, while he nothing heedeth,
God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was Thy incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life’s oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 17

Today we are in Kirkcudbrightshire.

"Commonly called a Stewartry, but in reality and to all intents and purposes a sheriffdom or shire, lies in the south of Scotland, and forms the eastern and by far the most extensive portion of the ancient district of Galloway. It is bounded by Dumfries-shire on the east and north-east, on the south by the Solway Frith and the Irish Sea, by the county of Ayr on the north and northwest, and by Wigtonshire (or Western Galloway) on the west. In extent it measures, from south-east to north-west, about forty four miles, by breadth varying from twenty to thirty miles, the narrowest part being toward its north-western limits....

The aspect of the country, however, forms a very natural distinction into two divisons: if a line be drawn from the centre of Kirkpatrick-Iron-Gray parish to the Gatehouse of Fleet, all to the northwest, with little exception, is so mountainous, that it may be termed a Highland district; while the south and eastern parts exhibt a fine champagne and cultivated country - a contrast strikingly obvious...

The number of horses, cattle and sheep reared in the county is sufficiently large to evince the possession of much practical knowledge, and consequent success, in this branch of the productive economy; and the breed of swine has increased to a prodigious extent, these animals being now a staple commodity both for home consumption and exportation....

The shire, or stewartry, comprises twenty-eight parishes and contains two royal burghs, Kirkcudbright and New Galloway...."

County Description from Pigot's Directory, 1837

Time for our hymn.

O Jesu Christ, from Thee began
This healing for the soul for man,
By fasting sought, by fasting found
Through forty days of yearly round;

That he who fell from high delight,
Borne down to sensual appetite,
By dint of stern control may rise
To climb the hills of Paradise.

Therefore behold Thy Church, O Lord,
And grace of penitence accord
To all who seek with generous tears
Renewal of their wasted years.

Forgive the sin that we have done,
Forgive the course that we have run,
And show henceforth in evil day
Thyself our succor and our stay.

But now let every heart prepare,
By sacrifice of fast and prayer,
To keep with joy magnifical
The solemn Easter festival.

Father and Son and Spirit blest,
To Thee be every prayer addrest,
Who art in threefold Name adored,
From age to age, the only Lord. Amen.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 16

Today we are in Kinross-shire.

"KINROSS-SHIRE, inland Co. of Scotland; is bounded W. and N. by Perthshire, and E. and S. by Fifeshire; greatest length, N. and S., 10 miles; greatest breadth, E. and W., 12 miles; 46,485 ac.; pop. 6697. After Kinross, Kinross is the smallest Co. in Scotland. The surface presents the appearance of a level plain almost surrounded by hills - the Ochil Hills in the NW., the Lomond Hills in the E., Benarty Hill in the S., and the Cleish Hills in the SW.; in the centre of this plain is Loch Leven. The higher regions are principally devoted to cattle and sheep farming; the low-lying lands are well sheltered and tolerably fertile. Limestone and sandstone are abundant, and coal is found in the S. The mfrs. are woollens (including plaids, shawls, &c.) and linens. Loch Leven is famous for its trout fishing. The Co. contains 4 pars. and 3 parts, the police burgh of Kinross, the vil. of Milnathort, and part of the vil. of Kelty. The cos. of Kinross and Clackmannan jointly return 1 member to Parliament."

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

O thou who dost accord us
the highest prize and guerdon,
thou hope of all our race,
Jesus, do thou afford us
the gift we ask of pardon
for all who humbly seek thy face.

With whispered accusation
our conscience tells of sinning
in thought and word and deed;
thine is our restoration,
the work of grace beginning
for souls from every burden freed.

For who, if thou reject us,
shall raise the fainting spirit?
'Tis thine alone to spare:
if thou to life elect us,
with cleansèd hearts to near it,
shall be our task, our lowly prayer.

O Trinity most glorious,
thy pardon free bestowing,
defend us evermore;
that in thy courts victorious,
thy love more truly knowing,
we may with all thy saints adore.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

3rd Sunday of Lent

Today we hear about Jesus cleansing the Temple.

For our hymn today we shall have my favourite Lent hymn!

Christian, dost thou see them on the holy ground,
How the powers of darkness rage thy steps around?
Christian, up and smite them, counting gain but loss,
In the strength that cometh by the holy cross.

Christian, dost thou feel them, how they work within,
Striving, tempting, luring, goading into sin?
Christian, never tremble; never be downcast;
Gird thee for the battle, watch and pray and fast.

Christian, dost thou hear them, how they speak thee fair?
“Always fast and vigil? Always watch and prayer?”
Christian, answer boldly: “While I breathe I pray!”
Peace shall follow battle, night shall end in day.

“Well I know thy trouble, O my servant true;
Thou art very weary, I was weary, too;
But that toil shall make thee some day all Mine own,
At the end of sorrow shall be near my throne.”

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 15

Today we are in Kincardineshire.

"KINCARDINE, (or Mearns), a maritime county situated on the eastern side of Scotland. It is bounded on the N. by the county Aberdeen, from which it is partly divided by the river Dee; on the S. and W. by the county Forfar, from which it is chiefly divided by the North Esk; and on the E. by the German Ocean. Its form is nearly that of a triangle, having its base towards the sea. Its length, stretching along the coast from the bay of Aberdeen to the mouth of the river North Esk, is about 30 miles, and its greatest breadth 24 miles. The coast is partly flat and partly rocky, and at the N.E. corner of the county the chain of the Grampians terminates, there forming what is called the Girdle Ness, which presents to the sea a bold face of rock from 60 to 80 feet high. The chief mountains and eminences are, Mount Battoch, 3,465 feet in height; Clachnabane, 2,370; Cairniemount, 2,000; Kerloch, 1,890; the Hill of Fare, from 1,500 to 1,700; Scolty Hill, 1,500; and Strathfenella, a detached spur of the Grampians, from 1,200 to 1,500 above sea level. It is watered by the rivers Dee, North Esk, Bervie, Cowies, Carron, and Luther Water, besides numerous burns, abounding with salmon and trout.

The severity of the climate in the lower districts has been of late years much mitigated by drainage and the increase of plantations. In the mountainous parts it is extremely severe in winter and spring, and frequently excessively hot in the summer months in the glens among the Grampians. Granite abounds in the Grampian district, but the hill of Strathfenella is an isolated mass of sandstone. The prevailing rocks in the other parts are greenstone, basalt, and breccia. The county is entirely destitute of coal. Limestone is found in various parts of the district, but only in large quantities at Mathers. There are a few sandstone quarries. Iron has been discovered at Balnakettle, and there are indications of iron ore in several parts of the county. In Arbuthnot parish, and near St. Cyrus, on the seashore, beautiful pebbles and jaspers are found, and cairngorm is occasionally met with in the Grampian streams. On the coast near Stonehouse are stalactite caves.

The soil varies in different parts of the county. The Grampian district is very sterile, although a rich loam is occasionally found. The Howe of Mearns district is the most cultivated portion, and consists of a loam chiefly derived from clay and gravel. The estates into which this county is divided number about 80, of which 13 are very large, and have been for many years in the same families. The arable farms are of various sizes, the largest consisting of about 500 acres. The sheep farms are in general very extensive. The county has wonderfully improved in agriculture during the last half century, and all the new improvements in husbandry have been introduced. Manure (chiefly lime) has been most liberally used, and large tracts of land have been reclaimed. This operation has greatly been facilitated by the construction of new roads.

It abounds in game of almost every description, and offers great attractions to the sportsman and angler. The county is almost exclusively of an agricultural character; for although it has the advantage of an extensive coast line, there is no harbour of any commercial importance. Manufactures have not made much progress in this district. In various parts the manufacture of coarse linen is carried on, chiefly for houses in Dundee, Aberdeen, &c., and there is also a small trade in woollen cloth. There are breweries, distilleries, and manufactories of wooden snuff boxes.

The inhabitants of the villages on the coast are chiefly occupied in fishing, and large quantities of haddock, skate, herring, cod, and turbot, are taken. The exports consist of cattle, pork, eggs, butter, potatoes, granite, fish, whisky, and ale. The principal imports are, colonial produce, salt, coals, lime, slate, and timber. The main lines of road between the N. and S. of Scotland traverse the county, extending from the bridges over the Dee to the bridge over the North Esk. The chief cross-roads are, South Deeside, Netherby, and Slug. The Aberdeen railway traverses the county from Nigg to Marykirk, and the Deeside railway runs along the Deeside district.

The county sends but one member to parliament. The parliamentary constituency in 1860 was 1,028. Bervie is the only royal burgh in the county, and there are but three burghs of barony, viz: Stonehaven, Fettercairn, and Laurencekirk. The county town is Stonehaven. The meetings of the courts under the Small Debt Act are held at Banchory on the fourth Thursday in the months of March, July, and November; at Bervie on the fourth Friday in January, April, July, and October; and at Laurencekirk on the fourth Saturday in the months of March, July, and November. The chief police stations are at Stonehaven, Banchory, Laurencekirk, Maryculter, Portlethen, and Fettercairn.

The area of the county is about 382 square miles, or 243,200 statute acres, and its population in 1861, 34,466. It comprises eighteen parishes and three parts of parishes. Thirteen of its parishes constitute the presbytery of Fordoun, in the synod of Angus and Mearns; and one of the parts is in the presbytery of Brechin, in the same synod; two of the parishes are in the presbytery of Kincardine O'Neil, in the synod of Aberdeen; and three of the parishes, two of the parts, and the chapel-of-ease, are in the presbytery and synod of Aberdeen. The places of worship in the county include the Established Church, United Presbyterians, Free Church, Episcopalian, Independents, Baptists, and Roman Catholics.

It has not been the scene of any extraordinary event, unless, as some historians aver, the great battle between Galgacus and Agricola took place here. It received its name from Kincardine, formerly a small town in the parish of Fordoun, and which was the seat of the county courts, &c., until the year 1600, when they were transferred to Stonehaven. On Garvock Hill and at-Aquhorties are Druidical remains, and at Raedykes, Stonehaven, and Fordoun are the remains of Roman camps. Near Garvock Hill is the Sheriff's Kettle, where, in the reign of James I., the Laird of Glenbervie was boiled to death. The principal ancient castles are, Dunnottar, Kame of Mathers, Finella, Green, Kinneffe, Whistlebury, and Morphie, some being in ruins."

Time for our hymn.

Saviour, when in dust to Thee
Low we bow the adoring knee,
When, repentant, to the skies
Scarce we lift our weeping eyes,
O by all the pains and woes
Suffered once for man below,
Bending from Thy throne on high,
Hear our solemn litany.

By Thy helpless infant years,
By Thy life of want and tears,
By Thy days of sore distress
In the savage wilderness,
By the dread mysterious hour
Of the insulting tempter’s power,
Turn, O turn a favouring eye,
Hear our solemn litany.

By the sacred griefs that wept
O’er the grave where Lazarus slept,
By the boding tears that flowed
Over Salem’s loved abode,
By the anguished sigh that told
Treachery lurked within Thy fold,
From Thy seat above the sky,
Hear our solemn litany.

By Thine hour of dire despair,
By Thine agony of prayer,
By the cross, the nail, the thorn,
Piercing spear, and torturing scorn,
By the gloom that veiled the skies
O’er the dreadful sacrifice,
Listen to our humble cry,
Hear our solemn litany.

By Thy deep expiring groan,
By the sad sepulchral stone,
By the vault whose dark abode
Held in vain the rising God,
O from earth to heaven restored,
Mighty, re-ascended Lord,
Listen, listen to the cry
Of our solemn litany.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 14

Today we are in Jerusalem the Golden - Inverness-shire.

Description in 1910, and map showing location: "Inverness-shire, a highland county of Scotland, bounded N. by Ross and Cromarty, and the Beauly and Moray Firths, N.E. by the shires of Nairn and Elgin, E. by Banff and Aberdeenshires, S.E. by Perthshire, S. by Argyllshire and W. by the Atlantic. It includes the Outer Hebrides south of the northern boundary of Harris, and several of the Inner Hebrides ... and is the largest shire in Scotland. It occupies an area of 2,695,037 acres, or 4211 sq. m., of which more than one-third belongs to the islands. The county comprises the districts of Moidart, Arisaig and Morar in the S.W., Knoydart in the W., Lochaber in the S., Badenoch in the S.E. and the Aird in the N. Excepting comparatively small and fertile tracts in the N. on both sides of the river Ness, in several of the glens and on the shores of some of the sea lochs, the county is wild and mountainous in the extreme and characterized by beautiful and in certain respects sublime scenery. There are more than fifty mountains exceeding 3000ft. in height, among them Ben Nevis (4406), the highest mountain in the British Isles, the extraordinary assemblage of peaks forming the Monadhliadh mountains in the S.E., Ben Alder (3757) in the S., and the grand group of the Cairngorms on the confines of the shires of Aberdeen and Banff." - extracted from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 11th ed. Vol. 14. (Cambridge, 1910)

Time for our hymn.

Jerusalem the golden,
With milk and honey blest,
Beneath your contemplation
Sink heart and voice oppressed.
I know not, oh, I know not
What joys await us there,
What radiancy of glory,
What bliss beyond compare.

They stand, those halls of Zion,
Conjubilant with song
And bright with many and angel
And all the martyr throng.
The prince is ever in them;
The daylight is serene;
The pastures of the blessed
Are decked in glorious sheen.

There is the throne of David,
And there, from care released,
The shout of those who triumph,
The song of those who feast.
And they, who with their leader
Have conquered in the fight,
Forever and forever
Are clad in robes of white.

Oh, sweet and blessed country,
The home of God’s elect!
Oh, sweet and blessed country
That eager hearts expect!
In mercy, Jesus, bring us
To that dear land of rest!
You are, with God the Father
And spirit, ever blest.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 13

Today we are in Fife.

"FIFE, a maritime county of the east side of Scotland, lying nearly in the middle of the lowland region, which is bounded by the Lammermoors on the south, and the Grampians on the north. It is a peninsula, enclosed by the frith of Tay on the north, the German ocean on the east, and the frith of Forth on the south; and it marches on the west with Perthshire, Kinross-shire, and Clackmannanshire ...The southern coast is, for the most part, indented by small rocky bays with corresponding projecting headlands; but along the banks of the Tay, the grounds slope gently toward the beach, and are generally cultivated to the river's edge. Along the north-eastern shore, towards St Andrews, it presents one large plain, terminating in a flat beach of sand."
from the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, edited by John Marius Wilson, 1868.

Time for our hymn.

Verse 1:
“Forgive our sins as we forgive,”
You taught us, Lord, to pray;
But You alone can grant us grace
To live the words we say.

Verse 2:
How can Your pardon reach and bless
The un-forgiven heart
That broods on wrongs and will not let
Old bitterness depart?

Verse 3:
In blazing light Your cross reveals
The truth we dimly knew:
How trifling others’ debts to us;
How great our debt to You!

Verse 4:
Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls
And bid resentment cease;
Then, by Your mercy reconciled,
Our lives will spread Your peace.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 12

Today we are in East Lothian.

East Lothian (or Haddingtonshire as it was formerly known) is a county in the south-east of Scotland, bounded on the west by Midlothian, on the north and east by the Firth of Forth and the North Sea, and on the south by Berwickshire. In the southern part of the county are the Lammermuir hills, in the north the land is generally flat and fertile. Traditional industries in the area are farming, fishing and coal-mining. The county town is Haddington; other towns in the county include Dunbar and North Berwick.
Copyright Vivienne S Dunstan, 1997

Time for our hymn.

All ye who seek a comfort sure
in trouble and distress,
whatever sorrow vex the mind,
or guilt the soul oppress:

Jesus, who gave himself for you
upon the cross to die,
opens to you his sacred heart;
oh, to that heart draw nigh.

Ye hear how kindly he invites;
ye hear his words so blest:
'all ye that labour come to me,
and I will give you rest.'

Jesus, thou joy of saints on high,
thou hope of sinners here,
attracted by those loving words
to thee I lift my prayer.

Wash thou my wounds in that dear blood,
which forth from thee doth flow;
new grace, new hope inspire, a new
and better heart bestow.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 11

Today we are in Dumfriesshire.

"DUMFRIESSHIRE, maritime Co., on S. border of Scotland; adjoins the cos. of Lanark, Peebles, and Selkirk on the N., and on the S. is washed by the Solway Firth; extends about 53 miles NW. and SE. between Ayrshire and Cumberland, and about 32 miles NE. and SW. between Roxburghshire and Kirkcudbrightshire; coast-line, about 20 miles; area, 680,217 ac., pop. 76,140, or 72 persons to each sq. mile. The surface in general is bare and hilly. The dales of the Nith, Annan, and Esk, however, are rich in beauty, and contain fine holms for pasture and some good arable land. The rivers are numerous, and yield splendid salmon and trout fishing. The coast and S. region is low and sandy; much of it is covered with morass, and lochs are numerous around Lockerbie ; but there is also much excellent corn-growing land. The Lowther or Lead Hills along the N. boundary are upwards of 2000 ft. in height, and abound in lead ore. These and the other hills round the borders are mostly smooth in outline, and afford excellent pasturage. Red sandstone is a prevailing rock, and limestone. coal, and lead, are worked."

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength, that we may ever
live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be ;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.

Not forever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our Guide;
through endeavor, failure, danger,
Saviour, be thou at our side.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 10

Today we are in Dunbartonshire

"DUMBARTONSHIRE (sic), Co., partly maritime but chiefly inland, in W. of Scotland, comprising a main body and a detached portion; area, 154,542 ac.; pop. 75,333, or 312 persons to each sq.m. The main body is in the shape of a crescent, having the convex side adjacent to the estuary of the Clyde, and measures 1.5 to 14 miles in breadth, and about 38 miles between its extreme points. The N. section (about two-thirds of the entire area), projecting between Loch Long and Loch Lomond, is wholly mountainous, and is celebrated for its picturesque and sublime scenery. Ben Vorlich and Ben Vane, in the extreme N., are 3092 and 3004 ft. high. The lower district along the Clyde is flat, and in general under excellent cultivation. The peninsular par. of Roseneath separates Loch Long and the Gare Loch, offshoots of the Firth of Clyde. The detached section (12 miles by 4 miles) lies 4.5 miles E. of the nearest point of the main body. The rivers, besides the Clyde, are the Leven, Allander, Kelvin, and Endrick. The mfrs. are very important; numerous bleachfields, dye, print, and other works line the banks of the Leven; and there are extensive shipbuilding yards along the Clyde: D. in former times formed part of the territory of Lennox. Vestiges of the Roman wall of Antoninus still exist. The co. comprises 11 pars. and a part, the parl. and royal burgh of Dumbarton (part of the Kilmarnock Burghs), and the police burghs of Cove and Kilcreggan, Helensburgh, and Kirkintilloch. It returns 1 member to Parl."

[Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

Father of heaven, whose love profound
a ransom for our souls hath found,
before thy throne we sinners bend;
to us thy pardoning love extend.

Almighty Son, Incarnate Word,
our Prophet, Priest, Redeemer, Lord,
before thy throne we sinners bend;
to us thy saving grace extend.

Eternal Spirit, by whose breath
the soul is raised from sin and death,
Before thy throne we sinners bend;
to us thy quickening power extend.

Thrice Holy! - Father, Spirit, Son -
mysterious Godhead, Three in One,
before thy throne we sinners bend;
grace, pardon, life to us extend.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

2nd Sunday of Lent

Today we hear about the Transfiguration of Our Lord.

For our hymn we have one of my favourites - by Charles Wesley.

Christ, Whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.

Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 9

Today we are in Clackmannanshire.

"CLACKMANNANSHIRE, the smallest Co. of Scotland, extending 10 miles N. and S. between the main body of Perthshire and the river Forth, and 11 miles E. and W. between the cos. of Stirling and Fife; area, 30,477 ac.; pop. 25,680, or 539 persons to each sq. m. The surface rises from the Forth by an easy ascent, broken by gentle undulations and by the valley of the river Devon, to the Ochil Hills, which extend along the N. border. These hills afford excellent pasturage; the low grounds are well cultivated. Coal is raised in the Devon valley; the towns of Alloa and Tillicoultry have woollen mfrs. The Co. comprises 4 pars., parts of 2 other pars. and also the police burghs of Alloa and Tillicoultry. Clackmannanshire unites with Kinross-shire in returning 1 member to Parliament."

[From Bartholemew's Gazetteer of the British Isles, 1887]

Time for our hymn.

Maker of earth, to Thee alone
Perpetual rest belongs;
And the bright choirs around Thy throne
May pour their endless songs.

But we - ah holy now no more!
Are doomed to toil and pain;
Yet exiles on an alien shore
May sing their country’s strain.

Father, whose promise binds Thee still
To heal the suppliant throng,
Grant us to mourn the deeds of ill
That banish us so long.

And, while we mourn, in faith to rest
Upon Thy love and care,
Till Thou restore us with the blest
The song of heaven to share.

O God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Holy Ghost,
To Thee be praise, great Three in One,
From Thy created host.

These gloves remind me of my days at All Saints' Margaret Street in the 1970's. One Sunday it was so cold that the organist (Dr Eric Arnold) complained to the Vicar (Fr David Sparrow) that he might have to wear gloves when playing the organ. As quick as a flash, David Sparrow replied 'well that will be an improvement on the mittens you usually wear!'

Friday, 2 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 8

Today we are in Caithness - but why the festive gold heading to the blog? Yes, it's my birthday! One more year to go before I get my free bus pass - and Alex Salmond had better not get rid of them if he wants my vote!

Caithness County is a county in the north east of Scotland, bounded on the north by the Pentland Firth; on the east and south east by North Sea; and on the west and south west by the county of Sutherland ... [It] is about 43 miles in length, and thirty miles in breadth; comprising an area of 618 square miles ... On account of its remote situation, Caithness had little intercourse with the principle parts of the country, and consequently is connected with few historical events of importance, except occasional hostilities with the Danes and Norwegians.
From "A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland", 1951

Today of course calls for a great hymn of praise! We shall sing the hymn that I chose for a special Mass celebrated by (now Bishop) Michael Marshall at All Saints' Margaret Street on Saturday 2 March 1974 - my 21st birthday. I invited 20 friends to join me for a slap up meal afterwards in the church bar (I remember we roasted a large turkey), and the bill (excluding drinks - which everyone paid for themselves) came to £20 for 21 of us. How times have changed!

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother's arms
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever-joyful hearts
and blessèd peace to cheer us;
and keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son, and Holy Ghost,
supreme in highest heaven,
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Happy Birthday to me! - just in case I get no cards.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Lenten Pilgrimage - 7

Today we are in Buteshire. The town of Rothesay is the principal town on the Isle of Bute.

"BUTESHIRE. The Islands of Bute, Arran, Great and Little Cumbray (or Cumbrae), Holy Isle, Pladda, and Inch-Marnoch, compose this shire, which comprises 225 square miles of land, or 143,997 acres. Though far separated from the properly denominated Western Islands, those of Bute statistically constitute a portion of the Hebrides. ... The climate of Buteshire is eminently salubrious - neither mists nor noxious fogs, so prevalent in the east of Scotland, infest it; snow rarely lies on the hills, and the only qualification to its general genial character is a liability to severe and sudden rains. ... The number of inhabited houses in the shire is 2,433; the parliamentary constituency for 1876-7 being 1,195. According to the returns presented to Government in 1871 the population of the shire was 16,996."

[From Slater's Directory of Scotland, with Topographical and Postal Information, Volume II, 1878]

The heir to the British throne is known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland. This is of course, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales. No prizes for guessing our hymn today - tuba included! Good to see Archbishop Alan Harper of Armagh (my former Rector in Belfast) singing so lustily.

Guide me, O thou great redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty,
Hold me with thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through:
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer;
Be thou still my strength and shield;
Be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell's destruction
Land me safe on Canaan's side:
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee;
I will ever give to thee.

Happy St David's Day!