The history of Edinburgh in tombstones

Admiring the gravestones

Last Sunday afternoon, a group of some 20 of us from the Church of the Good Shepherd enjoyed a guided tour around part of the Dean Cemetery. There are a large amount of well known Edinburgh forebears buried here and the whole history off our city can read via the inscriptions and dedications to them. The Victorians had desire to see themselves immortalised in ways that we do not, perhaps, share today. Yes these tombs and stones tell us much but they only commemorate the wealthy, not the ordinary people of our city through the ages. In God's eyes we are all equal, God knows every hair on our heads and does not discriminate between us by class, race, or wealth. There is equality in the Kingdom of God. 

That said, however, does not distract from the history contained within our graveyards. We can learn much from what is said and perhaps what is not said as well and a wander through the Dean Cemetery or any graveyard can be fascinating. As I was guided through on Sunday, I could not help but compare the elaborate tombs with the simple plaques that commemorate loved ones in our own Church Garden. The simplicity of their memorials is just as poignant and heartfelt. 

May all the faithful departed rest in peace and rise in glory. Alleluia!



After the weeks of preparation through Lent we have arrived at the glories of Easter and Eastertide. We have a whole 40 days of celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, when we sing or say 'Alleluia!' at every service.

Easter is a time to rejoice because it is the time in the Christian year when we are specifically reminded of the hope our faith can give us. Jesus' resurrection gives us hope of new life in so many ways. We hope that one day we will all rise in Christ and be reunited with each other. We hope that the things in our lives and in our world that need to change will change and change for the better. We hope that the light of the resurrected Christ will shine into those dark places we try to shun or forget; those  things that can pull us down and hijack us when we least expect it. When illuminated by Christ's light we hope that we can change those places of darkness into places of light.

Our prayer this Eastertide is one of the hope of transformation. Changing things for the better and beginning to live life anew.

O Lord, of life and power,

who, through the mighty resurrection of your Son,

have overcome the old order of sin and death,

and have made all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin

and alive to you in Jesus Christ,

may reign with him in glory;

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen.

                                 from the Collects of the Scottish Episcopal Church 


Holy Week and Easter

Holy Week is the most important week in the Christian Year. It is the time when we walk to Jerusalem with Jesus and share in his passion and death on the Cross. This year we have we can pilgrimage our way to Jerusalem by walking the Labyrinth at Saughtonhall United Reformed Church and then walk through that Holy City as we follow the Stations of the Cross around the garden of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Both of these activities are designed to help us experience the true meaning of Holy Week and alongside the services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday to journey with Jesus to Golgotha. 

Holy Week is a stark and difficult few days but we do not journey through them on our own. We journey alongside millions of Christians around the world and with our brothers and sisters closer to home. As we pray for those we are concerned for and for our own concerns as well, we do so in the knowledge that others will be praying for us, just as we will be praying for them. In doing so we help each other carry our own crosses, just as Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry his Cross.

On Maundy Thursday we gather to celebrate the Eucharist and to commemorate the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples and followers. We then journey with him to the Garden of Gethsemane and keep watch until he is taken by force and betrayal. Good Friday sees us walk the way of the Cross and to symbolically stand by the Cross until Jesus dies. It is a hard couple of days and they are days filled with emotion and personal pain for many of us.

Holy Saturday, is almost a 'nothing' day as we see Jesus laid in the tomb but ........ we have the glories of the Resurrection on Easter Day to look forward to and in doing so we hope for new life and for light to shine in the darkness. 

Keeping New Zealand in Our Prayers

Having not long returned from Christchurch New Zealand, the people of that city and wider country are not only in my prayers but the prayers of the congregation too. No one should be afraid to worship. Keep the prayers going and the candles lit.


Loving God, 

your ways are the ways of peace and love.

Help us to live lives guided by your ways.

We remember the people of New Zealand 

and most especially the people of Christchurch.

We pray for those who lost their lives, their loved ones

and all those injured and affected by the awful deeds done.

May peace, harmony and love reign;

In Jesus' name. Amen.


Making Music at the Good Shepherd

This coming Sunday the congregation will make the decision as how we will continue to make music in the church. For many years, our organ has been in need of repair or replacement and after many months of careful research, thought and prayer we will meet next Sunday (24th) to decide the best way forward. Please keep us in prayer as we try to discern what is the most appropriate thing to do for the long-term future of our music making.