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Spirit of adventure

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29.11

No post yesterday; it was my day off. But I used it well! Annice and I were in Assynt, where we came upon a plaque commemorating Norman MacLeod, the local school-master turned minister, who led his congregation in one of the most extraordinary migration odysseys of all time: across several oceans and over many years - in home-made ships and with hand-crafted instruments.

Many of us would have flinched at Norman's autocratic style and we may have found his preaching difficult to swallow. Yet there is no doubting the effectiveness of his leadership, nor the strength of his convictions. His abiding legacy is that he heard the call of God in his life and he stopped at nothing to obey that call, as he perceived it.

Norman lived at a critical moment in highland history: dispossession and clearance were accelerating and exacerbating the breakdown of the old order. His fierce commitment to God and community led him to shepherd that community to the far side of the world and, having left the land of their birth forever, to make a vital contribution to the development of their adopted homeland of New Zealand.

However attached we feel to wherever we call home, Christians know that our true home lies beyond: in another time and another place. In cultivating the mindset to get us there, we could do worse than taking inspiration from Norman MacLeod...

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