During our recent holiday on the beautiful Isle of Arran among the places of interest Marion and I visited was what is known as, “The King’s Cave.” This is a cave where it is said in the year 1306, Scotland’s King Robert the Bruce, fleeing from the wrath of England’s King Edward the first, had” a close encounter of the arachnid kind.” The legend goes that Bruce inspired by a patient and hardworking spider diligently attempting to spin its web despite many failures resolved to return to mainland Scotland and continue the fight to free his country from Edward’s oppression.
Whether or not the cave on Arran that Marion and I visited was the actual place is open to question but what is undoubted is the beauty of the scenic views the coastline which contains the cave offers. Uninterrupted views across the water to the Mull of Kintyre with gannets diving for fish a few yards offshore and black guillemots nesting in the cliffs above the cave. The natural history was more of an attraction than the rather more dubious medieval history surrounding Bruce and the spider. In any event when I was at school the scholarly opinion for the location of Bruce’s self-imposed exile was Rathlin Island off the coast of Northern Ireland. But wherever the encounter between King and spider did or did not take place the point of the story is one of encouragement never to give up.
Encouraging one another is at the heart of the Christian faith and way of living. Paul exhorts the Galatians,
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”(Gal 6:9)
Often today, as in the case of Robert the Bruce long ago, we can be driven by circumstances in our lives to give up. It is at this point that a word of encouragement offered in love can make all the difference. If we know someone who needs such encouragement at this time let us offer it to them.
Jesus encouraged his disciples to love one another and in so doing to reach out with his love to the world.
There is much in this world that tends to discourage but let us take an example from the lesser known Biblical character, Philemon, a friend of Paul’s to whom he wrote with gratitude –
“Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.” (Philemon: 7)
As the summer holiday season approaches Marion and I wish you all a very happy time and, if you are and going away, may you return refreshed and encouraged.