Summary: There is a stretch of water west of Scotland called the ’Doris Mor’ - ’Big Door’. Christians have nothing to fear from the ’Doris Mor’ between this life and the next.
Psalm 103: 1-12
1st John 5:1-13
Sermon: The big door
Pray: May the words of my mouth ………
The Gospel has been preached in this country for nearly 2,00 years.
Apart from the famous names, such as Ninian and Columba,
John Bunyan, John Wesley, Bill Graham,
there must have been hundreds of "unsung heroes",
ordinary Christian soldiers in the Roman legions, merchants and traders,
and their wives and children,
who shared their faith with neighbours and colleagues,
even if they did not formally "preach the Gospel".
And apart from full-time ministers and pastors and evangelists,
the Gospel has been preached from the 1st century
by all Christians who share their faith by using words,
or in the way they live their lives,
by their sufferings,
and by their deaths,
and especially by the way they face death.
All Christians know that God sent His only-begotten Son to Earth
to take our sins as far away as the East is from the West,
and to give us the assurance that we definitely will spend eternity with God;
but not all Christians are passing on the Good News,
but we should be doing this,
and not leaving it to "someone else".
For the Sermon today, I’d like to tell you a story.
It’s a true story, but whether you think it’s a happy one or a sad one,
I’ll leave that up to you.
A man who had been born and raised in Glasgow;
now elderly, retired, widower, moved to Troon, joined one of the churches.
On his own, children grown up, married, away.
Faithful member, attended regularly, for about a year.
He invited minister (a Glasgow man) to visit him.
Tests, results not good, he had about 6 months.
Minister asked what the man wanted, Care Team to visit, hymns for funeral.
Man had assurance of forgiveness, favourite Scriptures he wanted read.
Ps 103 his sins had been taken away as far as the E is from the W,
and he KNEW God loved him, and his eternal rest was assured
not through his own goodness, but because of God’s grace, in Jesus Christ.
Said he did not want to be a burden, but were some things,
4 things he felt he had to do while he had time:
1. Ride on the top deck of a Glasgow Corporation bus (had a car for years)
2. Visit the Burrell Collection (had seen other museums etc)
3. Go to a live show at the theatre in Renfield Street
(where he had taken his girl-friend, who became his wife)
4. Go ‘doon the watter’ (a cruise on the Clyde, he had done many years before).
These things brought back memories for the minister also,
so over the next few months, they:
1. Drove to Glasgow, got a bus to Maryhill and back
2. Went around the Burrell Collection
3. Saw Val Doonican ‘live’ at the Pavilion (Easter 2001 – Marty Wilde)
4. Went ‘doon the watter’, leaving the city passing Helensburgh on the right,
and Greenock and Gourock on the left,
then south between Bute and Great Cumbrae island,
down the Firth of the Clyde, around the bottom of Arran,
and the Mull of Kintyre, then west, passing to the south of Islay.
After about 2 hours it came to a stretch of water
called in Gaelic ‘Doris Mor’ which means ‘The Big Door’.
This is the end of Scottish or British territorial waters,
where the Irish Sea becomes the Atlantic Ocean,
where the mainly fresh water from the Scottish hills
gives way to the salt water of the deep sea.
It is a gateway through which thousands of Scottish and Irish emigrants
have left their homelands to start a new life in the US and Canada.
It was a wonderful day out and a fantastic journey for the man and the minister; both returned home glowing.
Just exactly a week later the man passed through a different ‘Doris Mor’
because he died.
He went through the ‘Big Door’ that separates this life from the next.
The man died happy, because he had had a good life,
a good family upbringing, a good wife, a happy marriage, a good home,
a steady job, children he was proud of, and a sound faith,
and because, with the minister’s help,
he had done everything that he had ever wanted to do.
The minister was by his bed when he died
and the man’s last words were thanks for helping him to have
that last ride on the top deck of a Glasgow Corporation bus,
that last look at the exhibits in the Burrell Collection,
that last visit to the Pavilion, and for that last trip ‘doon the watter’.
He died a happy man and went to be with his Lord;
what the Salvation Army call being ‘promoted to glory’.