Popular Posts

Monday, 24 April 2017


On a day out with good friends, we hiked part of the Cairn walk, which is a jumble of spaghetti trails on the Balmoral estate leading to the eleven cairns Queen Victoria had erected to commemorate weddings of her children. They sit astride hills of varying heights but each gives panoramic views of the surrounding hills. Although our walk coincided with the annual Balmoral runs, which attract hundreds if not thousands of competitors, most of the time we were alone in the wilderness forests above Balmoral. 

The cairns are dry-stane creations, it seems, rough and unhewn stones without mortar to hold them together. It is a skilled job to construct a pyramid of such symmetry, and not end up with just a jumble of rocks. Above the rest, the ‘daddy’ of all the cairns is that which Victoria had raised to the memory of her dear husband Albert, who died young and left Victoria alone and bereft for decades. His cairn was fashioned from dressed stones, fitting snugly together as do the pyramids of Egypt, requiring even more skill from the artisans. 

As each cairn crowns a wooded summit, we thought of the craftsmen who had to find and choose the stones and then get them up the slopes.  No mean feat: I hope that Queen Victoria appreciated the task she set them.
The Israelites often used stones to commemorate miracles of God – the crossing of the Red Sea, for instance, or the Lord’s appearance to Jacob at Bethel. God instructed his people to remember events through ritual or construction – the annual Passover meal is a prime example when the older generation rehearsed again the detail of their forbears’ flight from slavery, using word and carefully-chosen food to remind them of the event. 

Jesus took the ordinariness of bread and wine and lifted them to the level of a memorial of the most incredible gift the world has ever received. Believers still use bread and wine to remember this divine sacrifice for our sakes.

I’ve been thinking about cairns in my own particular past, markers of significant events that dot through my life. Meeting and marrying Don: that beautiful cairn is built of a box containing 8 months of letters and a photo album of the wedding. The births of our children: albums of pictures. The deaths of my sister and dad: tear-stained and intangible, that cairn is. The marriages of our sons: more pictures. The births, and the death, of our grandchildren: pictures cemented with tears.

The daddy of my cairns, though, has to be the moment I first met Jesus through the power of his Holy Spirit. My eyes were opened to see that Jesus invited me to have a living relationship with him. That he died for me, so that I might live with him. That cairn, built of no less than the body and blood of our Saviour, still excites a thrill of gratitude and love, having eternal significance and towering right through time.

So I’ll say it again. Happy Easter.

No comments:

Post a Comment