- Published: 28 November 2017 28 November 2017
Being of a certain age, the words to the song “The Long and Winding Road” take me to a pleasant, peaceful place. Since May of 1989, they have become a constant life theme for me, past, present, and future. Why is May 1989 important? This is when I first visited my adopted hometown of Campbeltown Scotland. This is not a typographical error. They spell it with one “l” in Scotland, even though the town is named for the clan Campbell. No one can explain it and any reason given is probably a result of many hours of pondering over a wee dram of Scotch whisky.
One of the first people I was introduced to when I arrived in Campbeltown was a woman whose family owned the local farm implement business. She was very proud to tell me that their business supplied most if not all of the equipment for Sir Paul McCartney’s farm located just outside of Campbeltown. I can’t quite recall who told me about the genesis of the song “The Long and Winding Road”, but the story goes that it was written while Sir Paul was driving to Campbeltown late one night. You see, there are only two ways to get to Campbeltown, a ferry from Glasgow, or a very, very, long and winding road. One must travel far north of Campbeltown and then turn south to reach the end of the Kintyre peninsula and the charming village of Campbeltown (just south of Campbeltown is the Mull of Kintyre (sound familiar music fans?). The trip is sometimes tedious but along the way you experience some of the most stark and beautiful hills, dales, beaches, and almost every other geographical feature known to man. I have traveled to Campbeltown by ferry and car. Hands down, I prefer the narrow, winding, slow, two lane highway made famous by Sir Paul.
I have found in life that most good things require patience and time. People of faith also add prayer to this piece of wisdom. Nicsplace began over 15 years ago during a Sunday service. I was raised by wonderful Christian parents who never missed Sunday worship. Logically after Susan and I were blessed with children, we came back to the church hoping to instill the strong faith in them our parents had in us. It’s just what you did.
Leading up to this particular service, Susan and I had begun to experience some uneasiness about the direction of organized religion. Many future blogs will address these in more detail. Suffice it to say that my mind would often drift during sermons for various reasons. Many Sunday’s I would simply open my Bible and read during the sermons. On this particular Sunday, I felt God lead me to the Gospel of John, chapter 3. This is the account of Nicodemus, a member of the powerful ruling Jewish council, who fearing to be seen in public with Jesus, sought Jesus out at night to have a conversation. Jesus was not liked by the leaders because Jesus felt that the Jewish people had abandoned their original agreement with God. Nicodemus was obviously intrigued by some of Jesus teachings and wanted to hear His responses directly. During their discussion, Jesus spoke one of His most famous quotes “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The encounter Nicodemus had with Jesus changed his life. Nicodemus returned to his position of power in council but later after Jesus was crucified, it is reported that Nicodemus came forward with another man to claim the body, prepare it for burial, and find a tomb for Jesus. The inference from this account is that Nicodemus openly opposed the religious ruling body he was part of, the same body which condemned Jesus to torture and death.
The story of Nicodemus inspired a vision of a safe place where people could come to talk to and about Jesus, His teachings, and His plans for His followers. Nicsplace would be a gathering of people not governed by rules and rituals. Nicsplace would be a place of encouragement for all people on the journey of faith which Jesus inspires. Nicsplace would not be a church.
15 years later a gathering of sojourners has begun. A website has been created. Why has it taken so long in human terms? To God a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day. We are convinced that trying to force anything through human effort will eventually fail. Only by the power of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the teachings of Jesus and in harmony with the Father’s plans, will we experience eternal peace and joy.
Welcome to Nicsplace. Enjoy the journey.
God Bless y’all.