Over my time in Kinnoull we have celebrated the Easter event in various ways. There have been Lent Studies in the run-up to Easter some years; there have been various Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services in other years and there has been good support from Kinnoull for the PACT events with the Walk of Witness through the town on the Friday Morning and the Easter Dawn Service at Quarrymill Park. There is always a great sense of joy in the Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday services here in the Church when we often have the added blessing of receiving new members by profession of faith on this greatest day in the Christian year.
One of the great joys of the Church of Scotland is that it is a broad church. We do things very differently in different parishes. That fact came home to me during my training when I was privileged to work for six months in St John’s Kirk with Rev David Ogston. Easter for David was a time of high liturgy, ceremony and Holy mystery. Holy Week meant lots of extra services and I learned much from that experience which enriched my understanding of worship.
Arriving one Easter for a service which was to be jointly led with David and myself and T. Graeme Longmuir – who was at that time Chaplain to Strathallan, I was asked if I had a white robe appropriate for that day and I had to admit that I did not. To which came the mischievous reply “Well you have one this morning!” I still have the photograph of the three of us resplendent in our white robes on this high and holy occasion.
The Publication of “Scots Worship – Lent, Holy Week and Easter” by David Ogston which has been edited by Johnston Mackay includes those three most moving broadcasts which David made following his breakdown and I also treasure the book for that reason. His breakdown was in some ways a Lent journey for him, going out into the deserts, the wilderness before he was able to return, having “Met with himself”.
In his conduct of worship David was a true wordsmith and had a natural poetic turn of phrase. He is probably best known for the books that he has written in the Doric. When he came and preached me in to Echt and Midmar, he did so memorably in “the Mither tongue”. Although I learned to say Fit and Fu and pick up the rhythm of the local speech I am sure that they would have readily traded me, their newly chosen minister for this prime craftsman of north east “spik”.
Easter brings back to me memories of my times in worship with DO. The publication of his work has been a reminder of the richexperience I was fortunate to share during my months at St Johns. It also brings us to the heart of the faith as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Here is an Easter Communion prayer which is included in this rich collection. For me I read it and David’s voice is there – but whether his voice rings for you or not, the message and the words are for all of us at Easter.
With Every Blessing