Yesterday, Today, Forever

There was no need this morning to rise before 5:00am to watch the sun rise over the Passage of Tiree. It is mid October and sunrise was at 7:58, a convenient hour of the day to make my way over to the memorial situated just off Pier Road. From that vantage point there is a clear view across the headland, Loch a Phuirt Bhàin, and the Passage of Tiree to the Isle of Mull.  

Looking across Loch a Phuirt Bhàin and the Passage of Tiree

As the sun slowly rose the sky over Tiree was almost cloudless. The same was not true for some of the neighbouring islands. Ben More and the Wilderness area of Mull was not obscured by cloud, however much of the Ross of Mulll was covered in cloud. Later in the day, to the south, the distant Paps of Jura would look magnificent, but at sunrise they were hidden by a band of cloud.

Sunrise

Just before the sun rose above the horizon and broke over the clouds, the sky surrounding Tiree turned a delicate shade of pink. 

The Memorial and the sky turns a delicate shade of pink

Turning round the view was clear to Tiree’s three Bens, Hynish, Kenavara and Hough. The air was so still.

The sky over Kenavara turns pink

Occasionally a gull would fly past, but the distinct sound of startled geese was a reminder just how many geese are on the island at present. A closer examination of several photographs revealed them feeding in the fields and several skein in the air, particularly over Gott Bay.

Stand in awe and wonder

It was evident that those working on refurbishing the old pier and the pier approach were already hard at work. The pier lights were switched on! There are three distinct areas where the work is progressing. There is the refurbishment of the old pier, the area where the original pier approach ends and the new begins, and the replacement of the metal footway. No doubt the workmen appreciated the calm day.

An early start to the working day

Later in the afternoon, the autumnal sun caused the crane to cast a colourful shadow across the clear blue waters of the bay. All day the sound of a powerful jet of water could be heard as they continued to work on the underside of the 50’s pier.

As the day wore on we had a walk around our township of Scarinish. Our walk generally takes in the pier, the old harbour, and the lighthouse. It was a particular joy to have the sun overhead and not to be struggling against a headwind. As forecast high level clouds came and went, but the day has remained bright. Daylight hours are reducing noticeably. The bright but with weak sun is a reminder that this is October.

Scarinish Old Harbour in the late morning sunshine

It being Wednesday, there was no ferry, however the ferries that are sailing under the emergency timetable are busy. Watching the traffic roll off the ferry it takes no great detective skills to work out that many of those visiting the island are surfers. Yesterday and today, kite surfers have taken to the waters of Gott Bay.

Surfers in Gott Bay

Talking of yesterday, it felt a strange day in many ways. The sun shone and although there was a breeze, it was a pleasant day to be out and about. Around lunch time I attended a funeral at one of the island’s two graveyards. Coming home I caught up with the news on our iPad.

Looking across to the Rum Cuillin

I read several items including news of a tragic road accident concerning the death of a mother and three of her children. Not long after we heard from friends that the young family came from the village of Chinnor in Oxfordshire and were in fact members of Chinnor Community Church, where I had served for 24 years. Although I did not personally know the family, the news report became much more personal. Words fail. In fact the less said the better, listening is what counts. The church is stunned. The critically injured husband and his one surviving baby daughter will have many deep needs.

The Memorial at Sunrise

I felt drawn to turn to God in prayer. It was a stark reminder that life is not all beautiful sunrises and sunsets, there are dark skies and storms. There is joy and pain. Tiree is an island but we are not isolated from the realities of life. For the Christian there can be no pat answers. In such painful circumstances I know God’s character and am assured, ‘Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?’ (Genesis 18:25).

Looking across to Ben More on the Isle of Mull

Jesus was a real flesh and blood baby.
He knew what it is to be despised and rejected.
He was betrayed, suffered injustice and died a criminal’s death.
The song writer Graham kendrick says,
He walked where I walk
He stood where I stand
He felt what I feel
He understands
He knows my frailty
Shared my humanity
Tempted in ev’ry way
Yet without sin
God with us so close to us
God with us Immanuel

Looking across to Ben Hynish at Sunrise

How timely was the hymn published earlier this year by Keith Getty. The hymn was released in time for Easter, as the impact of the global pandemic began to dawn. They wrote, “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death is a modern hymn that expresses the comfort and assurance that flow from trusting Christ, who has conquered death and guaranteed our future by his resurrection.”

The words of the first verse are so very apt,
What is our hope in life and death
Christ alone Christ alone
What is our only confidence
That our souls to Him belong
Who holds our days within His hand
What comes apart from His command
And what will keep us to the end
The love of Christ in which we stand

In the Bible, the Writer to the Hebrews says,
‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.’
(Hebrews 13:8)

Monday’s sunset

This is ‘Life on Tiree’