Ghosts of Tingwall

Tingwall Kirk in Shetland has an eerie feel to it. I am not easily scared and neither am I one of those spiritually sophisticated Christians who can smell evil at a distance. It might have been the dull, dark day, the unappealing grey concrete render, or the uninviting sign by the church which inadvertently advertised the lack of minister and the bleak prospects of ever obtaining one. The Scottish Kirk is all but dead in these islands, its handful of clergy apparently resigned to managing its decline and ultimate closure. The whole plot of land seems to be a 1400-year-old cemetery and if ghosts and spectres fly about and haunt their surroundings, this place would be like an overpopulated 1970's towerblock. There was even a seventeenth-century tomb with an open entrance. I went in, naturally, and examined the old carvings and memorials, some of which lay broken on the ground.

Whether this was a place of spiritual darkness or just a sad and melancholic old kirk in which the lively oracles of God are no longer proclaimed, I did not know. What I do know is that there is a voice that speaks through the darkness, through the gloom, piercing even the grave. He who commanded Lazarus to rise and the widow’s son to resurrect, speaks now to you and me:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live". John 11:25