Monday, February 09, 2009

'I Climb the Rainbow Through the Rain'. George Matheson -XVIII



In October 1885, George Matheson received one of the highest honours that a Church of Scotland minister could receive, he was invite to peak at Crathie Kirk (pictured) before Queen Victoria. Crathie is the parish Church for Balmoral, the Highland estate of the monarch of Scotland. It was a favourite residence of Queen Victoria, as it was connected with her beloved Prince Albert. Queen Victoria invited the more noted Church of Scotland clergy to take services at Crathie during her residence there. Victoria took her Christianity seriously, especially after the death of her husband. She had been given copies of Matheson's books of meditations by the Bishop of Ripon, and it was reading these that led to her invitation of the author to preach at her parish Church.

Matheson preached from James 5.2 on 'The Patience of Job'. The theme was Job's patient endurance of repeated and overwhelming calamities and submission to God through faith. He pointed out that Job never asked 'why?', even though his friends came forth with all manner of false explanations. They tried to trace the ways of God's providence, and they blundered terribly. Not so Job, he waited for God. And in all this Job pointed forward to the object of faith, Jesus of Nazareth, who suffered more than Job, and who is our hope and our redeemer. Here was comfort for suffering Christians. Queen Victoria greatly appreciated it and requested that the sermon be printed. The sermon was distributed among the Royal family, and Matheson had the chance to speak to many members of the Royal family. The blind preacher whose sisters had learned Greek and Latin to help him to learn had become one of the most important men in his denomination - and he remained incredibly humble.

His time at Innellan was coming to an end. In 1886 he was called to the pastorate of St. Bernard's Church, Edinburgh. God willing, next time we shall deal with the call to Edinburgh.

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