7.30 in the morning and the day is damp and dreich. It’s the time of day when the only people you usually see coming through the fog are your fellow dog walkers, heads down and half awake, much like myself. Not today however. The village was busy with cars drawing in, doors slamming and even a wee bit of double-parking on the side.
As I walk up the hill to the community centre I was mindful of how typically Scottish the weather was on a day when the future of Scotland was being decided. I’ll be honest with you – I approached the polling station with a tear in my eye. Don’t ask me why, it just felt like the most important cross I’ll ever put in a box.
As I walked in the door of the polling station I met one of the oldest members of our community coming out. In her lifetime she has seen the world at war, the rise of consumerism, the fall of communism and England win the World Cup. As we exchanged ‘good mornings’ I wondered at the wisdom of age in all of this. I doubt if it makes the responsibility any lighter.
Today is just 24 hours long and yet one way or another it will change our world. We have become a nation divided and no matter the result we have some difficult days ahead. Over four million people will put an X in a box today. If the polls are correct only half of them will get what they hope for. I suspect one of the biggest challenges of my lifetime will be the reconciliation of our nation.
Throughout the last few weeks in watching the Yes and No campaigns unfold I have come back again and again to one part of the Bible.
When Joshua was near the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and demanded, “Are you friend or foe?”
“Neither one,” he replied. “I am the commander of the Lord’s army.”
At this, Joshua fell with his face to the ground in reverence. “I am at your command,” Joshua said. “What do you want your servant to do?”
The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did as he was told.
Joshua 5:13 -15
The ballot paper said, “Should Scotland be an independent country?”
What I long for Scotland to be is a country that belongs to God. A nation that acknowledges faith and worship as a part of its life. A society where truth is born from the pages of the Bible and where social justice is less of a political policy and more the way of life found in every community.
As I stood at the ballot box this morning I wondered if the place where I was standing was holy ground. I marked my X and thought of that other Cross, the Cross of righteousness, reconciliation and truth. May that be the Cross that covers our land on this day and in the days to come.
Director of National Ministries