Monday, June 05, 2006

"I Climb the Rainbow Through the Rain" George Matheson, VII.

George Matheson's biographer gives a description of a summer morning service at Innellan during Matheson's ministry. We are to imagine a great crowd converging on the little kirk that stood on the crown of the hill. Once the congregation were seated George Matheson, arrayed in preaching gown and bands, emerged from the vestry door, which was located immediately behind the pulpit. There would already be an open Bible in the pulpit in front of the minister, something that was for the benefit of the congregation rather than the preacher.
He would open the service by giving out the first Psalm. After the Psalm was sung, he would pray. The prayer was a mix of liturgical fragments selected from prayer-books and extempore expressions.
When he gave out Bible passages, Matheson looked down at the open Bible on his book-board. Not that he could see it, of course, but it meant that his listeners were not distracted by reflecting on the preacher's blindness. Like many blind people, Matheson had a fantastic memory - he memorised practically the whole service.
The sermon was, as was normal in Scottish Presbyterianism, was the crowning glory of the service. Seldon much longer than twenty minutes, it was beautifully constructed, and usually held the congregation from beginning to end. Unsually it was a three-point sermon, followed by a brief application of the exsposition of the text.

George Matheson rapidly became known as 'Matheson of Innellan', and his popularity further increased the holiday resort's income! Not only that, the local people valued his preaching and his pastoral care for them. God willing, next time we shall look at some more aspects of Matheson's Innellan ministry.



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