Here’s what I said in the pulpit yesterday for Lent 3
The door opened. That door at the back, with its annoying squeak. And I looked up and immediately I was afraid.
I saw someone come in and knew that I needed to do something and do it quickly.
I checked the clock and took off my headphones.
Either I needed to shout at everyone to evacuate the building or I had to try to do something myself.
I looked around and decided to walk forward and try to distract him and see what happened.
We were about to do a Radio Broadcast. A live radio broadcast and the clock was, well, not ticking because things like that need to be silent when we are recording, but the clock was moving inexorably towards 8.10 and the moment when the red light would go on and I would say, “Good morning and welcome to St Mary’s Cathedral in the City of Glasgow, a city that is still in shock.”
It was the day after the terrorist attack at Glasgow airport. Transport systems were in a mess. The airport was completely locked down and roads were closed all over the place. People couldn’t fly into Scotland. There was transport chaos and the police still didn’t know how many other people were at large who intended harm.
And that door right there opened right before an advertised liver broadcast and someone unexpected came in. Someone whom I didn’t know.
And in that instant I saw a stereotype walk into the cathedral. He was young and rather swarthy looking. I later discovered that he was indeed just back from Libya and he looked like it.
A thin white scarf around him. Khaki camouflage clothes. And a backpack.
It was the backpack that worried me most as I walked towards him.
Hello I said, welcome to St Mary’s.
These are the words that I use when I think someone is about to blow me and the cathedral up.
Hello, welcome to St Mary’s.
Hello, he said.
There was a pause as I looked him up and down and he did the same to me.
Do you mind telling me, I asked – do you mind telling me what’s in the backpack. [Read more…]