Posted by: owizblog | October 2, 2019

Thought for the Day, 2 October 2019:Island Living

It was a huge story, but you might have missed it. For a time, a fortnight ago, all of you were completely cut off. One Bute ferry was out of action, and the other developed a fault which kept it tied up for hours. We contemplated the big island across the Firth where most of you live; all of you trapped on it! Of course, you could have crossed over to other islands, by other ferries – but you couldn’t get to Bute. You were cut off.

I’m over-egging the pudding. But from our perspective, you really all do live on an adjoining island.

At the kirk door on Sunday, only three people emerged to shake my hand. Everyone else was down at the front of the church, where the long, multi-panelled work by local artist Ruth Slater, called “Island Living” was on display. Its panels depict various landscape scenes, partially overwritten by thoughts from real life Bute folk, rapturous, realistic, nuanced and surprising, about this place we call home.

On the reverse, though, the joined panels are wonderfully textured in creamy white, and a broad, blue, irregular line meanders across them. It’s our coastline, usually wrapped around us, what makes us an island, stretched into a line.  A barrier, but also, thanks to the ferries, a highway. It’s often been noted that from the perspective of the early Celtic saints, the land was a barrier, and the sea was the highway.

There’s vast admiration for Greta Thunberg, yet I read* again, today, of the hostility and contempt aimed at her. How can people mete out such vitriol to a sixteen-year old girl? Well, she’s made Climate Crisis inescapable in global media and culture. We really do all share a tiny cosmic island, green and blue against an infinity of black. Thunberg reminds us that island living is complex, and that we have to relearn how to do that, now. People in denial or fear can lash out, often cruelly, at individuals who embody an Inconvenient Truth. But as Jesus says, it’s the truth that sets us free.

*present tense!

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