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Catapult

"All the believers were one in heart and mind..." Acts 4.32


Tucked away at the far end of the site in the early evening, we came across our favourite performance at this year's HebCelt music festival in Stornoway. Folk ensemble 'Rura' enjoys a loyal following and the connection with their fans was palpable. You could sense the crowd drawing the songs out of the band. It was the first and only encore we heard at the festival: "One more song..." rang out insistently, until one of the musicians sheepishly emerged to invite everyone to adjourn to the main tent where the headline act was about to take the stage.


When affection turns to devotion it is as if a chemical reaction occurs and a new level of relationship is reached. It's a heady cocktail: there are, of course, dangers in it - faith can lead to fanaticism if it fails to keep its eyes open - but it is motivational too. At its best devotion gathers the faithful and inspires them to fresh levels of sacrifice, creativity and imagination. You catch glimpses of it in many avenues and corners of life. It is the antidote to "same old, same old" and the medicine a society which has lost its way urgently needs to get back on track. Only the highest quality of devotion has the power to break the routine of habit, transform the landscape and unleash the energy to change.


Sometimes we lose sight of the earthiness of Jesus, we forget that, in coming to save us, he was also showing the way, offering himself as a role model, not only of true manliness but of what being human - whatever our sex - should look like. It gripped the disciples, it kick-started the church and it transformed the society which tried to stamp it out. Speaking for more recent generations, GK Chesterton famously remarked: "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried." Might this be the moment?

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