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A selection of letters from the current edition of the Gazette

Reassurance in unsettling times

Sir, – All across our towns and cities the blockbuster film ‘Dunkirk’ has been creating great interest and fascination.

There is, however, a major fact not mentioned in it.

Many of those who see the movie will be interested to learn that the situation was actually so desperate, King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer on May 26, 1940.

In a national broadcast he asked the people of Britain to pray for God’s help.

Thousands of special services were held across the country and literally millions of people poured into churches to pray.

Pictured above is the scene outside Westminster Abbey.

Two significant events immediately followed.

Firstly, a violent storm arose over the Dunkirk region, grounding the Luftwaffe, which had been killing thousands on the beaches.

Secondly, a great calm descended on the Channel, enabling the hundreds of tiny boats to rescue 338,000 soldiers, rather than the estimated 30,000.

It was the timing of these events immediately after the Prayer Day which led people to speak of “the miracle of Dunkirk” and Sunday, June 9, was officially appointed as a Day of National Thanksgiving.

Looking back at this and other events, the Bishop of Chelmsford wrote: “If ever a great nation was on the point of supreme and final disaster, and yet was saved and reinstated it was ourselves … it does not require an exceptionally religious mind to detect in all this the Hand of God.”

At the end of 1942, after the tide had turned in the war, Churchill himself was moved to say: “I sometimes have a feeling of interference. I want to stress that. I have a feeling sometimes that some Guiding Hand has interfered.”

To coincide with this film, details of various wartime miracles are being sent to thousands of churches across the UK so as to give congregations hope and reassurance. Something much needed in our unsettling times.

If anyone would like this uplifting information directly by email, then they are welcome to contact strengthenthefaithful@gmail.com, clearly putting Wartime Miracles in the subject box. Thank you. – Yours, etc.,

Rev J. Willans BD

The Church of

England Vicarage

Clayhill Road

Leigh

Surrey

That red-roofed cottage on Barra

Sir, – I confess to having sometimes lost the thread of Mr Donald Murray’s recent letters on Lord’s Day, Sabbath, first day of the week, or whatever the terminology may be (last week’s Gazette).

For a thicko like me, statements such as “the same day is the other first day of the two weeks” are kind of hard to get my head round, though I thought his closing remarks were good.

Changing the subject totally, the photo you printed from Debbie Neilson showing a cottage by the sea on Barra, was magnificent.

With its white walls, its red tin roof, and its setting in idyllic surroundings, who wouldn’t give their eye teeth to live in a place like that?

I have always fancied living in a cottage with a tin roof.

Imagine at close of day, sinking into an old and well-beloved armchair, a log or two crackling in the hearth, and the sound of raindrops dancing on the roof. Magical! – Yours, etc.,

Keith Fernie

Drakies Avenue

Inverness

An appointment we can’t postpone

Sir, – The weekly plethora of ‘funeral plan’ adverts in the Gazette continue to remind us of, at least, one thing: we must all die.

While not everyone reading these ads is likely to buy a ‘funeral plan’, the reality is that all and sundry will have a funeral, of one kind or another, whether planned or not.

Yes, because we are all sinners, sin pays high wages, ‘for the wages of sin is death’.

This reminds us that our last earthly appointment will be with death.

While we can postpone, cancel, skip, reschedule or rearrange all our appointments in life, we most certainly can’t do it with the Grim Reaper, the day he summons us to leave this world behind.

Nobody can turn to death and say: “Not today, I am unready and unprepared, call some other time.”

No, this day is fixed and there is no escaping it: ‘it is appointed unto all men once to die’, whether ready or not.

The valley of the shadow of death is the longest valley in the world.

It began with Adam, in the Garden of Eden, and has continued through 6000 years of human history.

People would like to postpone that dreadful moment when they must pass through the dark valley, but alas death makes sure no-one can evade it.

Every step that we take brings us nearer to the grave, and it is but a matter of time until we must bid farewell to every earthly tie.

With all the wisdom of the medical profession and the use of scientific discoveries, we must agree with the wise preacher of old, in the Bible, who said; “For the living know that they shall die.”

A full-page advert in a recent issue of the Gazette shows two funeral plan providers calling on everyone to prepare for death by making “choice future planning”.

It was a funeral plan with a price-tag, of course, they were referring to and nothing else.

The good old Book however, in more than one full-page, calls on us all to plan well for not just the day of our funeral, but also for the world beyond the grave: “Prepare to meet thy God.”

We must all ‘meet’ God face-to-face after our funeral.

To go on any journey without preparing is utter folly.

What unimaginable folly to die unprepared for eternity and unready to meet God.

There are the only two destinations – either a heaven to gain or a hell to shun. There is only one way of gaining heaven and only one way of shunning hell.

There is no reincarnation or annihilation after death as some people vainly, even hopefully, imagine.

No-one becomes extinct or comes back as a pretty flower or a colourful butterfly.

This is profane Hollywood gibberish.

That is why God exhorts us all to make ‘choice future planning’ by believing in Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Saviour.

He paid the ultimate price in dying the ‘death of deaths’ for our sins that we might be reconciled to God and obtain eternal salvation.

His blessed promise is: “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!”

To have Christ as our Saviour is to have the best funeral plan of all, even when we close our eyes in death and leave this sin-sick world behind us: “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” – Yours, etc.,

Donald J Morrison

Old Edinburgh Road

Inverness

Just another talking shop

Sir, – Here we go again. Another Quango/groups talk shop, courtesy of Calmac and its bedfellows, the Scottish Government.

I can tell you all here and now it’s just another piece in the socialist way of doing things, and it will be like the rest of their agencies – It’ll be a big failure!

But on and on it goes, with the spending showing no productive result for us true islanders.

The rest obviously don’t care. They come along for the free ride to our lovely land, and the natives are friendly, but abused subtly by the respective agencies.

Apart from me, are others blind?

If Calmac and the Government, or any other of its agencies, were trying to be helpful they would know what to do if the were listening to the real and genuine islanders, rather than being do- gooders and helping invaders come and go at a cheap price, with money that should have been spent on the two-lane roads between the Butt and Barra.

You have betrayed the very folk you’re supposed to be serving.

We already have far too many agencies, and how much are they costing the country and the workers who are sincere and diligent, seeing their tax money going to invaders, as do other hand-outs from the socialist regimes in Scotland?

I know that individuals have invented more than the group system has ever done, and that’s one big reason why the quango/ groups system is seriously flawed and wrong.

I would never be part of any agency or talking heads shop, as they are fake and do not justify their very existence.

I’m seriously of the belief that all their failures come from the lack of personal responsibility in life to try to stand on their own feet.

And the other failure is that they do not have a spiritual bone in their socialistic bodies to guide them to do the right thing in life.

Not even once!

It’s such a very sad trip your on, guys!

And you are so blinkered that you have no clue of how seriously off-track you really are. – Yours, etc.,

Aonghas Eoghainn Mhoir

Gearraidh na. Monadh

Uibhist a Deas

Goal is universal mediocrity

Sir, – Professor Lindsay Paterson hit many nails on the head about Scotland’s dumbed down school curriculum that has emerged from our “uniform political culture” and its “left-of-centre consensus”.

It’s all very well for the Conservatives to begin raising questions now, but it is too little too late.

But even Prof Paterson baulked at attacking the heart of the problem: the “closing the attainment gap” mantra.

If one’s goal is to equalise performance across all schools, what sort of curriculum and examination system fits the bill?

One that enables the weakest students to perform reasonably well, while preventing the strongest from exhibiting excellence.

So long as “closing the attainment gap” is the motto, universal mediocrity will be the goal.

To break the “uniform political culture” at Holyrood, we need to strike at the roots of the educational philosophy, not merely bend a few branches here and there. – Yours, 
etc.,

Richard Lucas

Scottish Family Party

Kim Jong-un is far from mad

Sir, – Why is Kim Jong-un spending so much time, money and effort building a missile armed with a nuclear war head? Not as the media would have you believe, because he is beyond the pale, but for self-preservation.

Having come to power he would have taken a look at the world and seen what has happened to powerful leaders of sovereign countries that were browbeaten, bullied and ultimately, if still unwilling to bend to the foreign policy of the US and their puppet ally the UK – they were deposed by force of arms.

You only have to ask yourself, how many times has North Korea been engaged in war since the Korean War, or invaded another sovereign country?

Then ask the same question of the US and UK.

Kim Jong-un is no madman but knows by having a nuclear weapon he has made it impossible for America to threaten his position as leader of North Korea.

Trump has no sway over him now.

America can shout all it likes but in the end, it will have to pull in its horns.

Sanctions like gunboat diplomacy are long past their sell-by date in a modern world.

Some day America like the UK will have to understand the wise words of Winston Churchill: “Jaw, jaw, not war, war”. – Yours, etc.,

Walter Hamilton

(address supplied)

OK for tractor but not gay couple?

Sir, – Regarding the opening of the Queensferry Crossing last Monday, I am constantly surprised by the apparently obligatory appearance of clergy at the official opening or hanselling of a huge variety of things.

In recent years clergy across the UK have ‘blessed’ bridges, tractors, fields, pets, a circus Big Top, a Great Yarmouth ale and even a Cumbrian sewage plant, but still they seem to have a problem blessing two gay people who love each other.

It seems their Lord does indeed move in mysterious ways! – Yours, etc.,

Alistair McBay

(by email)