Yesterdays Conference to mark the 450th Anniversary of the Scottish Reformation was one of those events that sort of grows on you as it happens. Our own Alison Peden gave a paper on the SEC as ‘the other reformed Kirk’. We all went up to St Giles for a Service in which the Moderator, the Cardinal and I led a shared Affirmation of Baptismal Vows. Some protestors turned up outside to help me feel at home. And we went up to the Castle for a bit of a ‘do’ with the First Minister.
The Lecture Theatre was stiflingly hot and I’d had a very early start. So I may have missed the odd moment or two. But I found myself following two trains of thought both set in motion by Alison Peden.
One was about the place of the Oxford Movement experience in our life – no doubt the place from which we draw much of our strength in worship and spirituality. But I was challenged to think past that to our earlier and much more Scottish history and spirituality. As I listen to our clergy and people talking about the life of our church today – particularly in the Highlands – it is that spirituality which I hear re-emerging.
The other came when a Church of Scotland questioner asked Alison if we have a statement of faith. To which she responded that as a church we are as much or more defined by our liturgy as by statements of faith. Which again brought me back to the question of how we should shape the next generation of Scottish liturgy and what it should say about us and our worship of God.