Thoughts & Prayers


25th July 2020


“Cricket – a game which the English, not being a spiritual people, have
invented in order to give themselves some conception of eternity.”
Lord Mancroft, Bees in Some Bonnets

An Englishman on a visit to the USA was taken to a baseball match for the
first time. Back home after his trip, he was asked by his friends to explain
the game, to which he responded, “Baseball? Well, it’s just not cricket!”
Now, I love baseball and know a fair bit more about it too. But, I have to
agree with English traveller and say, it’s just not cricket!

I’ve been steeped in the Test series between England and the West
Indies in recent weeks – not on TV, mind, but on the legendary Test Match
Special on Radio 5 Extra. What other game lasts for five days (Lord
Mancroft’s “conception of eternity”) and could still have one of four results
– a win for either side, a draw and a tie? (A drawn game different from a
tied one? Ask the English traveller …) What sport has fielding positions like
Silly Point, Short Leg, or Backward Square, has bowlers delivering a
Googly, a Yorker, or Reverse Swing, and batsmen playing a Leg Glance, a
Cover Drive, or a Ramp Ball? Oh, the quirkiness of it …

But whatever the eccentricities of this game, and even though my
baseball-loving American friends query a game that “stops for tea at 4
o’clock”, enshrined in cricket is an expected code of behaviour. Down
through the years, the sedateness and slowness, diligence and (to some)
dullness of this amazing game, have come to stand for “doing things
properly”, playing to the rules, being always dignified and respectful.
So “It’s just not cricket!” has come into common parlance, and
everyone knows what it means. Respect for each other, even in opposition,
really matters. Don’t let’s just get caught up in a moment of selfish
petulance or a personal desire to win at all costs.

Play the game! And
whether you’re batting, bowling, fielding, or sitting in the pavilion in the
game of life, I hope no-one points at you, and, turning to their neighbour,
says, “Just look how that person’s behaving! It’s just not cricket, is it?”

A prayer for today
Living God, when it’s my time walk out to bat, calm my nerves, focus my mind, clear
my vision, and help me to play to the best of my ability.

An original reflection by © Tom Gordon

25th July 2020

Gracious God

We stand before You with thanks and praise that infection rates of Covid19 are at a low level yet yesterday Glasgow recorded its highest rate since May. We pray that a vaccine will be found soon to eliminate this virus and in the meantime, we pray that people will still keep their guard using all the advice and precautions to keep it at bay.

Hopefully, schools will reopen safely on 11th August and we pray for our school chaplains who will reengage with pupils and staff. Give them wisdom and courage to deal with whatever they are faced with. We pray for the continued work of hospital chaplains and give thanks for the invaluable work they have done over this period. Prison chaplains continue to work in difficult circumstances so we ask Your blessing on them as they continue to work with prisoners. We give thanks for chaplains to the emergency services and all that they have done and continue to do. Equally we remember our forces chaplains for our armed forces played a frontline role in the war against Covid19. Finally we ask Your blessing on all workplace chaplains but especially those who are chaplains to shopping centres. Their work is just beginning and we know that You will be with them.

We still pray for healing for all who are ill with the virus. We give You thanks and praise that there have been no reported deaths for over a fortnight and our fervent prayer is that this will continue but many still mourn the loss of a loved one and we ask Your comfort and peace to be upon them.

Loving Father, You are our hope, our strength and our shield. You are our Miracle Worker, our Promise Keeper and our Light in the Darkness.

Loving and Healing God draw close to us all in this pandemic crisis and let us feel your healing, loving and gracious presence.


Evelyn Robertson

23rd July 2020


“Surprised by joy – impatient as the wind.”

William Wordsworth, Surprised by Joy

If you’ve been following the saga of my use of jigsaws during lockdown,

you’ll recall that I sourced a jigsaw on-line from China which turned out to

be a “mini puzzle” and not full size. Yes, it had the requisite 1000 pieces,

but each piece was no bigger than a 5p coin, and the measurements of the

completed jigsaw were 16”x11” and not the usual 30”x21”. I know the exact

measurements because my wife and I finished the Ancient Bookshelf

jigsaw last weekend, and it was an absolute pleasure!

In truth, we’d approached our Chinese puzzle with apprehension. But

we were surprised how easy it was (more enjoyable than some other

jigsaws) and we finished it record time. A jigsaw which surprised us with its

dimensions and the size of the pieces, had even more surprises in store.

“Life is full of surprises”, we say, some good and some bad, some

welcomed and some hated. But surprises, in many guises, are a part of life.

C S Lewis published his partial autobiography, Surprised by Joy, in

1955. (It’s a coincidence that the woman he was to marry a year later was

called Joy.) It describes his life from childhood to his embrace of Christianity

in 1931. His purpose was to explain his “accidental discovery” of, and lifelong

search for, what he labelled as “joy”, a joy so intense it couldn’t be

explained in words. He’d been struck with “stabs of joy” throughout his life,

but, in time, gave himself fully to the belief that joy can be a permanent

phenomenon, deeper than passing pleasures, a signpost to a fuller life.

People said to him, “What! Have you felt that too? I always thought

I was the only one.” But C S Lewis knew that joy belongs to us all. So, if you

have joys today, I hope they bring you pleasure. But I pray such pleasures

will be more than “stabs of joy” but will be signposts pointing you to a

deeper fullness that makes your life complete. Like C S Lewis, you may not

be able to explain it in words, but it will be enough to be “surprised by Joy”


A prayer for today

Lord, surprise me with your Joy today, that I might see beyond worldly pleasures to

the fullness of your grace, mercy and peace.


An original reflection by © Tom Gordon

23rd July 2020

Almighty Father

We are all Your children and we ask Your blessing on whatever we do today at both work and play. Keep us safe from harm and continue to be with us as You have been throughout this crisis.

We pray for our children that schools will be able to go back fully on 11th august and we pray that our teachers will return refreshed having had a break from preparing blended learning. If that mix of teaching is needed let the decision be made without hesitation. Keep them all safe.

We pray for those who have been shielding these past months and again pray that this can be paused next week. But, again, let decisions be made wisely and keep all safe.

We give thanks that the test and protect system has got on top of the outbreak in Lanarkshire, that businesses affected have co-operated and deep cleaned premises. Lord be with all who are sick and lay Your healing hand upon them to bring healing and wholeness into their lives. For all who mourn we pray for Your comfort and peace.

Loving Father, You are our hope, our strength and our shield. You are our Miracle Worker, our Promise Keeper and our Light in the Darkness.

Loving and Healing God draw close to us all in this pandemic crisis and let us feel your healing, loving and gracious presence.


Evelyn Robertson

21st July 2020


“Religious persecution may shield itself
under the guise of mistaken and overzealous piety.”
Edmund Burke, from a speech in 1788

George MacLeod, the founder of the Iona Community, once said that the
trouble with Christians in our country is that we don’t know what it feels
like to be persecuted. It was George’s way of saying we’re complacent
about our faith and our freedom to worship; we’re “soft” with mission;
we’ve lost the urgency in sharing the Gospel. If we were given a hard time,
perhaps we would be sharper and bolder as Christians. He may be right

I’ve been sworn at, mocked and pilloried for being a minister. That’s all
grist to the mill. But I’ve only had one small glimpse of persecution.
On a Holy Land pilgrimage, our party were queuing to enter the
Temple Mount in the heart of Jerusalem. The “Dome of the Rock” had
been closed off and tensions were high. The soldiers at the checkpoint
were being heavy-handed and we’d been instructed to follow the rules.

When my turn came, my rucksack was searched and I was waved through,
but not before my pocket-bible had been confiscated by the Israeli
soldiers – without any explanation. I was confused, angry and distressed.
For the only time in my life, my religious freedom had been taken away.
When we were leaving the Western Wall, my bible was returned. But
those two hours without it have never left me. I felt persecuted for my
religion for a short time. But I know that there are people, all over the
world, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Hindus and others, who have to
live with persecution every moment of every day of their lives.

When religious persecution shields itself, in Edmund Burke’s words,
“under the guise of mistaken and overzealous piety”, everyone suffers.

That kind of piety breeds intolerance; intolerance leads on to hate; and
hate begets strife and war. George MacLeod is right. The trouble with
Christians is that we don’t know what it feels like to be persecuted. And
the danger with that is that we don’t understand the persecution other
religious groupings have to face – all the time.

A prayer for today
If I am truly part of humanity, do I not feel the pain when others are persecuted?

An original reflection by © Tom Gordon
Also available at

22nd July 2020

Gracious and Loving Father

You are God, the one true God and You are our God. You created us and You love us and yet so often we turn away from You and reject You. We are sorry for all of those times.

We come to offer You our thanks and praise. Infection rates were down again yesterday and action has been taken on the North Lanarkshire cluster. We give thanks for those employed by Track and Trace to help break the chain of transmission of the virus. Again, yesterday there were no deaths. For all of this we give You thanks.

News is coming out that there are several potential vaccines and we give thanks for this and give thanks that at least one is going to be manufactured here in Scotland in Livingstone. For those still ill with this virus we ask for Your healing touch and for all who mourn the loss of a loved one we ask Your comfort and Your peace.

News is announced that public sector workers – doctors, nurses teachers and those in the emergency services will receive a pay rise. We give thanks for that but still we remember those who are coming out of lockdown to no job and we pray that justice, mercy and compassion will reign to find ways to help them too.

Loving Father, You are our hope, our strength and our shield. You are our Miracle Worker, our Promise Keeper and our Light in the Darkness.

Loving and Healing God draw close to us all in this pandemic crisis and let us feel your healing, loving and gracious presence.


Evelyn Robertson