Let the World Know You Care

Notes on the Sunday address by Dr Francis Macnab, 29 November 2015.
By John Abbate.

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“I saw on the hospital table a well-worn Bible. […] Clearly, it had been a valuable presence for her. If nothing else, it pointed to something greater than the grit, the gravel and the grief of her passing years.”

A coracle is a small, usually round, one-person boat once used to ferry people and supplies between the islands of the Scottish archipelago. The coracle represents food and gifts, and the spreading of good will among the people of a community. The coracle brought relief and a message of hope to those undergoing hardship. For Dr Macnab, with his deeply rooted love of Scottish culture and wisdom, the coracle is perhaps the ultimate symbol of caring and of “people who are carriers of contact and care.”

Dr Macnab tells us that caring is “one of the supreme values of our human existence.” The apostle Andrew, patron saint of Scots, represents caring in the Bible through his part in the “feeding of the multitude.” It was Andrew who identified the boy carrying the basket of five loaves and two fish that Jesus would distribute to the hungry thousands. It was enough to feed them all until they were satisfied; the leftover fragments of bread filled twelve baskets.

It is Andrew, with his “eye to human need [and] the resources available in the moment” (creative mathematics aside), who can inspire us, as much as the one who performed miracles. We may not be able to change the world, but it is enough to do a little.

What little does Dr Macnab ask us to do? It is only to be messengers, to be part of a “coracle of caring,” by informing those near and far about the existence of Mingary, the Quiet Place.

Mingary is a space converted from the old, neglected chapel within the church at St Michael’s. It is accessed via its own door onto the street. It is a non-denominational place of reflection and sanctuary for those in need. It contains rock and water and light; it contains symbols of peace and continuity. It is a very beautiful place.

“Mingary is about finding caring and comfort in our times of crisis…soothing and solace in our stressful times; it is about finding a time to transcend our traumas; it is about finding some stillness and new strength after our adversity and anxiety…our sadness and stress.”

Dr Macnab asks only that we care for others experiencing difficulty and distress, by offering friendship and consolation, and by the gift of a word: Mingary.

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