Whilst we rejoice that the majority of Councillors voted against the Stornoway Sports Centre opening on the Lord’s Day, I feel deep pity for members, albeit a small minority, of the Campaign Group who have been frantically clamouring, behind the scenes, to see it open.
It is also sad, very sad indeed, to see that nine Councillors, who obviously were quite happy to see it open, have no respect whatsoever for the majority views of the people they represent, Christian and non-Christian alike, who wholly opposed the doors of the town centre facility opening - on a singular special day which they highly treasure and value for varied reasons.
On reflection, one really wonders why on earth the full Council had to debate, and then vote, on this controversial issue in the first place, in the light of the grim, sometimes ruthless, austerity measures they’ve implemented themselves through cuts in all their frontline services over the past few years. It just doesn’t make sense and neither does it make sense for the Council to be playing ‘sports for or against’ in a community that has a unique and distinctive identity in relation to its culture, traditions and beliefs.
While the nine Councillors are entitled to views, which not everyone shares, they obviously all have an undisturbed conscience that prefers to see money spent on the opening of this facility, on Sunday, more than allocating it to the many elderly folks in the Island community who are given…wait for it…only quarter of an hour for the provision of a home-help service at any given one time! Let no-one dispute it, as I have experienced it in my own family home, on the Island. In saying that, we still rejoice that wisdom and common-sense has prevailed.
I have already read of the sneering and disparaging remarks of some Councillors who voted for the floodgates to open. It reflects their contempt for the Lord’s Day. Can I respectfully bring to their attention, along with others who may be of the same persuasion as them, the arresting words of Bishop J C Ryle, a godly evangelical minister of the 18th century, who once said: ‘Common sense, reason, conscience, will combine, I think, to say that if we cannot spare God one day in a week we cannot be living as those ought to live who must die one day.’
Another eminent late theologian adds to these words: ‘The day of the Lord (or the day of Judgement) is likely to be a dreadful day to them that despise the Lord’s Day.’ (George Swinnock) Before this day comes, we continue to pray on that a mighty wind of the Holy Spirit will yet mightily blow upon the Island community so that many souls are swept into the Kingdom of God.
Mr Donald J Morrison
Inverness, IV2 3HT