Pastor’s Blog: Stardate 1161021.4
The Place: A small church (kirk) in the Highlands of Scottland
The Time: Sunday morning in the 1750’s
The reformed worshipers of the Kirk (church) of Scotland gather together for the morning worship service. They are all wearing the standard ‘Saxony’ dress of the English instead of their traditional tartans, which have now become illegal under the Disarming Act of 1746. The service is in English rather than the native Gaelic of most of the worshipers. To a casual observer, this service and church would be indistinguishable from one in London. However, these worshipers remain Scottish to the core. During the priest’s blessing, each sticks his or her hand in a pocket, a bustle, or another secret place where a small (and illegal) piece of family Tartan (plaid) has been pinned. In putting their hand on this fabric, they seek God’s blessing on their family, clan, and Scottish heritage.
It is a great story, unfortunately, there is not a lot of historical evidence for it. The strongest case for the beginning of the Kirking o’ the Tartans is much later, the beginning of World War II when the Reverand Peter Marshall ‘revived’ it to help get support from young Scottish men for the war effort. Whatever the genesis, Kirking o’ the Tartans has become a Scottish and American-Scottish tradition. It is celebrated mostly by Presbyterians, but also Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. It has become a celebration of Scottish heritage and seeking God’s blessing on families both past and present.
November 6th, we will hold a special service at Faith Presbyterian Church to honor those who have passed away in the last year, and to seek blessings on each of our families past, present, and future. While not all of us are of Scottish descent, all of us come from families, clans, and nations; and all of us seek God’s blessings for them. All are invited to bring a sign of your family (a Tartan, family crest, a seal, Kalikori, heirloom, picture, or other item symbolizing your heritage). After the service, all are invited to join in a luncheon, bringing together dishes from our families and people. I hope that you consider joining us in person for this special service (If it is not possible to join us in person, we will be live streaming through youtube as well.