Our Minister  - Rev Alan Livingstone BA



                                  “Do you have a place of safety?”


Let me tell you four stories and then return to the question.


First, many years ago when I was a boy my parents bought and welcomed


to the family a black Labrador puppy.   We took possession of him when he


was just weeks old.   The first time I took him out to the back lawn and gave


him some freedom he sprinted back into the kitchen – his place of safety.



   Something very similar happened when father and I drove to the public


park, stopped the car in the parking area, clambered out with him and let


him off the leash.   What did he do?   He loped back to the car as quickly as


he could.   His place of safety.



Secondly, and years later, while travelling by air back from Heathrow to


Edinburgh, I was seated on the plane beside a gentleman I didn`t know.


This was in the days when cabin staff offered free in-flight drinks and


snacks.   He asked for and received four small bottles of wine which he


began to drink.   He leaned across and said, almost sheepishly, “I`m going


to get drunk on this flight.”   I replied, “It sounds like you don`t want to.”   His


response to that was a sad one.   “I don`t, but I always run back to the


wine.”   Drink was his place of safety.   I remember that evening because it


had a sad ending.   He got drunk and in the arrivals hall at Edinburgh I saw


his wife embrace him and then push him away when she smelled his


breath.  His place of safety wasn`t a safe place at all.



Story number three, from the Old Testament and the history of King David.


   Read about it in 2 Samuel Ch 22.   David was pursued relentlessly by


King Saul, who tried several times to kill him personally.   David was king for


forty years and in a brutal tribal world of savage war he had many enemies


who wanted his crown and his kingdom at any price.   They hounded him,


pursued him, trapped him but never got the better of him – (it took a woman


to do that -  2 Samuel ch 11).   Towards the end of his life, the old and infirm


king praised God.


“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my saviour.

He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety”


King David personalised it.   His God, in whom he trusted and to whom he


prayed, was his place of safety.



My final story and perhaps more of legend than of reality.   St. John of New


Testament fame was a busy man.   His C.V. read as follows:-

Professional fisherman with his father and brother.

Close disciple and confidant of Jesus.

Bishop of the church in Ephesus.

Refugee on the island of Patmos.

Author of five books included in our New Testament.


Did he need a place of safety?   From pressure, from stress and busyness?   Yes indeed.   What was his place of safety?  St. John, holy man and busy man, kept, bred, tended and fed pigeons!   This was his place of safety.


I return to the opening question.   “Do you have a place of safety?”   Can I suggest we all need one.   Think about it.   If thus far you don`t have one, make time and a place of safety for yourself where you can renew your energy and nurture your most valuable relationships.





Your Minister


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