Ministry, thoughts and God in Cowal & Bute, Argyll & The Isles
Friday, 6 December 2013
Global grace and connection
This is an image of the 'Peary Spirit,' an oil tanker, as she rounds Strone point and moves up Loch Long, towards (I assume) the Finnart Oil Terminal. Apparently there are pipes that connect Finnart to Grangemouth Oil Refinery, built in the 1950s to allow crude to be imported via the west.
Why am I blogging this today? I spotted the vessel as she came up the Clyde after I paused for my usual 'in-car-office' on the sea front, prayers said from my phone. She progressed from a (quite large) blur down near Arran and passed by where I was.
ShipAIS is a useful tool for the marine aficionados of Argyll: click to the right map and there's a live feed of whatever is passing you at that minute. So I, an Anglican priest, sat on the sea front in Argyll, saying my prayers, was being passed by a vessel built in Korea (by the chaebol Samsung, who also made the phone I was looking her up on), owned by a Canadian company, flying the flag of Barbados and quite probably crewed by Filipinos. Taking oil (from Shetland, according to her ShipAIS history) to the west of Scotland, to be made into petrochemical products in the east of Scotland. For example, the diesel that my car was burning to keep me warm and keep my phone charged as I did all this stuff.
The interconnectedness of it all occasionally smacks us between the eyes and shows us the invisible connections that hold the human world together. One can go down a route of Anglicanism: the Scottish Episcopal Church as the local manifestation of a church that also exists in all those places, nearly 80 million followers, as diverse as the culture and countries that it tries to align. Or one can go down a route of globalisation through technology (culminating in the chaebol created, lawsuit protected smartphone that allowed the prayers/knowledge/research to take place and reveal the connected lines...). Or one could just thank God for his gracious gifts in all that we see and all that we know.