about this as a start for a short talk? Imagine that I’m writing you
a LONG postcard.
Listener, having a lovely holiday but having a sleepless night in the
in Shetland. It’s 3 in the morning and I’m able to write clearly
without the aid of a lamp – the midsummer sky is that bright.
What had made my holiday special? Can’t say it was the warm
weather. I can’t suggest that it was the complete rest –long walks
and long cycle rides and long hills have put paid to that.
No, this holiday, and especially Unst has been special because
of the people.
There was Loz who arrived at the hostel on his 3 wheeled bike
desperate for a drink. Disaster! No sugar for him. Easy solution. He
took a cup next door. Loz tried to pay. No way! He ends up with a cup
of tea, beef burgers, an invite to a barbecue, the promise of help
with repairing his bike – oh, and a cup of sugar. Special people.
Then there was the dialect of the people of Unst, here’s a
short sample from an old story I heard. …..
Well, what’s so special about the dialect? The people don’t
use it to exclude visitors from the island. They have kept their
dialect, almost a new language, but they make sure that tourists hear
it in such a way as to admire it.
Then there are the sounds around you – lots of birds, sheep
– and the wind. …..
And then there is the emptiness. Not many people, not many cars,
not a lot of industry – just a whole lot of peace – now that is
Now before you think that I am getting a nice commission from
the Shetland tourist board think again. Remember, it was the people
who made the holiday so special. The highlight was
. Just a man in the youth hostel in Uyeasound. We were talking, I
mentioned that I collect sand from around the world.
, the next day, walks 6 miles and collects me a sample of sand from an
isolated beach. He presents the gift of sand the next evening. I
didn’t ask for the sand –
didn’t expect payment for the kind deed – or perhaps anything more
than a thank you. But it was so special to me.
All of the people who did me good either directly or indirectly
were living out a verse from the gospel of
, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, when you
love one another”
Loving one another isn’t about having kind thoughts in the
heart and strong ethical values about the treatment of the poor in
Loving one another may mean you offer to drive the bus to the
shop and wait a while. It may mean that as a passenger on that
self-same bus you put your desires after the needs of the other people
on the bus.
It may mean a 6 mile walk to fetch some sand – and not expect
anything in return. I could go on, but you want to ask the question,
, do you practice what you preach?”
Well, because you asked the question I’ll answer.
I showed love, the right sort that is, to a man who had been
trying to find out where he fitted in society.
Yes, I’d made him a cup of tea, brought him back some soup
from the shops and spent time listening to the man – all just as a
friend, no thought of reward or favour.
The best act of love I offered him was showing him how God could
come into his life. My friend was shown that all he needed to do was
ask. My friend did – and began to discover more of the beauties of
the kingdom of heaven – greater even than those of the
Well, as I end this postcard I’m going to wish you well. The
weather looks set to change as
it often does up here. I’m for moving on. See you later in my