St. Andrews, Saints, and Seahawks
The first time I laid eyes on St. Andrews, Scotland, an immediate love affair began. I returned last summer for the umpteenth time…and it never gets old for me. I love the layout of the town, how its two main streets funnel you toward the ancient cathedral, which took 160 years to build! (King Robert the Bruce dedicated it by riding his war horse right down the center aisle!)
The cathedral, whose magnificent skeleton still looms over the town, was built to house a few relics of St. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother and one of the first of Jesus’ disciples. Ancient Christians believed that blessing and healing were to be had if you made a spiritual journey to this spot. St. Andrews became the most popular medieval European pilgrimage site, second only to the famous Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.
Centuries later, St. Andrews was again the center of the religious world, this time as the birthplace of the Scottish Reformation, the origin of Presbyterianism. Patrick Hamilton, George Wishart, John Knox…all of them preached and some of them were murdered in St. Andrews defense of a faith they found to be more biblical and less superstitious. When Scots immigrated to America by the millions, they brought with them their unique Presbyterian brand of Christianity which shaped the formation of this nation.
Our St. Andrews weekend, a time when we show up wearing tartan (plaid) in honor of the Scottish roots, is really a grateful nod of the head to our Christian foreparents; an intentional moment of remembering those who have gone before us, both ancient and recent. When we end the service by calling out the names of our members who died in this past year, it is a reminder to us that we stand upon the shoulders of those saints who have gone before us.
St. Andrews…ugly tartan and all…is one of my favorite worship moments of the year. Please come, remember with me! Because it is an early Seahawk game this Sunday, Saturday worship will be in the Sanctuary. All three services will be identical. Football fans can dredge up a blue and green tartan, join us Saturday night, and kill two birds with one stone!
Tartan, bagpipes, bells, and great memories of dear saints…how can you do better than that? I’ll see you this weekend.
P.S. Next year, November 22-December 4, 2019, I will lead a pilgrimage to Israel. It will be the most diverse group I have ever lead, age-wise! If you’d like to find out more, join me Sunday, November 4, 6:30 pm, in the Memorial Chapel for an information night. It will change the way you read the Bible!