“Parking Space No. 23” – Edinburgh, Scotland

img_1486-1The last leg of my 12 day adventure was two days in Edinburgh, Scotland, spent with Ivan Ibbotson the pastor at “The Chapel:Salzburg.” Originally, Alex from “City Chapel:Klagenfurt” was to join us, but the Lord had other plans. Unfortunately those plans included Alex getting really sick and simply could not make the trip with us. My twisted mind began to wonder if the plane was going to go down and Alex would be spared because of that sickness. Stranger things have happened. Later, Ivan confessed he had thought something similar. I guess twisted minds think alike.

img_1504We arrived Tuesday afternoon, graciously picked up by Thomas Breimaier, my Church History professor from an online class I took at Moody Theological Seminary. Jenny and I had coffee with him last summer, and when I told him we were coming, he offered to not only pick us up, but to give us a quick tour of Edinburgh.
Part of the tour included another cup of coffee at the “Brew Lab,” a very trendy coffee place and then dinner at a Japanese restaurant that some of his friends own. The food was quite tasty and one particular dish which I won’t even try to pronounce had fish shavings that were moving at it was served. If you don’t believe it, check it out yourself. Usually I am not much of a fish person, but I pressed through my fears and found it to be quite enjoyable. Although I admit a little creepy with those fish shavings moving about.

It was my second (Ivan’s first) tour of Edinburgh. By the time we started, it was quickly moving past sundown. Getting a tour of the city by someone who has lived there and is quite familiar with the area made it so much more enjoyable. The evening added yet another dimension to it. The only thing that was missing was Alex!

fullsizerenderWe spent a couple of hours walking around the city, looking at Edinburgh Castle and a tour of the Edinburgh University’s School of Divinity. The lunchroom was especially interesting. Such great history in that room with portraits of great theological minds hanging on the walls of the dining hall. We met one of Thomas’ fellow PhD students and got a look at their study tables where they likely spend the bulk of two or three years of their lives. Needless to say it was quite fascinating.

What an adventure trekking through the various alley ways, up and down so many cobblestone steps. Had Thomas not been with us, surely we would still be there walking around. It would have been easy to get lost.

img_1551One of the great things about Europe is how old everything is and history of the cities you visit. Literally hundreds and hundreds of years old with names like Robert the Bruce, William Wallace, Robert Murray McCheyne, and David Hume, just to name a very few. The list seems to be never-ending. Since visiting Edinburgh the first time, I have been intrigued at the number of theologians who either studied or ministered in this city. Visiting Edinburgh a second time makes these saints from the past, all the more alive.

As we were winding down for the night, Thomas took us to one last spot, “Parking Space No. 23.”

What is so special about this parking space? As it turns out, it is the grave marker for John Knox (1513-1572), a notable Scottish clergyman, theologian, and writer who was a leader of the Protestant Reformation. He is considered the founder of the Presbyterian denomination in Scotland.

Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. (Psalm 39:5)

It is sobering to be reminded of how frail man is. At his best state, at the pinnacle of his life, and all of his accomplishments and accolades, he is but “vapor.” And before he realizes it, he is buried beneath a pile of asphalt with a weather worn marker, white lines, marked by the No. 23.

I thank God for the privilege he has afforded me to travel to Europe and the constant reminder that the Christian faith has endured for centuries with mighty men of God who at all costs, to include the giving of their lives, stood on the solid foundation of the Bible.

I could only hope to be a mere shadow of such examples!

You can check out some more pictures here…

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