In September of this year, office- bearers and members of the congregation attended a series of three meetings with our Parish
Grouping friends from Cadder and Kenmure Churches, led by Robbie Morrison, a Mission and Discipleship Facilitator. The purpose of these meetings was to look towards our common shared purposes and to create a vision for the future in Bishopbriggs given the Church of Scotland’s desire for ‘radical change.’
On the early morning of Friday 13th of September, after the second of these sessions, I was driving down Balmuildy Road towards Hilton Road. Directly in front of the car ahead of me was a young cyclist making his way towards Meadowburn Primary School. As a cyclist myself, I watched as he navigated his way down the hill towards a large white van which was parked half on the road, and half on the pavement just beyond Muirton Drive. At the same time a bus had just turned onto Balmuildy Road from Hilton Road. The car in front of me decided to overtake the cyclist which was a curious manoeuvre. I could almost hear the cyclist’s mental cogs turning as internally he debated what to do next, with a bus approaching him on the opposite side, and a parked van in front of him on his side of the road. By this point I had reduced my own speed and with a sense of time slowing down and foreboding growing, I watched as he turned sharply to the left intending to mount the pavement and ride on the ‘inside’ of the parked van as it were.
Before it had happened, I knew what the outcome would be. Instead of addressing the curb at a straight angle he hit it side on and went crashing over the handlebars onto the pavement. Fortunately, his helmet protected his head, but his right elbow and his left knee and shin took quite a beating. All this occurred within seconds although the time sequence felt like an eternity. When it was safe to stop I did so, parked my car and walked back to see if I could help. Meanwhile the traffic continued on its rush hour commute and the world kept turning on its axis. I helped Daniel, a P7 pupil to his feet, righted his bike and had him sit down on a garden wall to draw his breath. Once I had checked his injuries, he got his phone out and phoned his mum, and I spoke to her to reassure her and offered to wait with him until she arrived. All the while, the traffic continued to journey on. But then things began to happen which reminded of the phrase, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ The owner of the house on whose wall Daniel was sitting came out to offer his help, fetching a glass of water for the shock, while I wittered on trying to distract Daniel from his torn trousers and badly bleeding and grazed knee and shin. After a while another neighbour from down the street, sporting a pair of cycling shorts himself, came up to ask me if I needed to get to work, he would wait with the boy! Mum in due course arrived and took her son off to get him medically checked out. But what of Daniel’s bike I hear you saying? From another house two doors down came a workman who asked mum what her address was, put Daniel’s bike into the back of his van and said he’d drop it off that morning. That in a sense is where my story ends – for I trust and pray that Daniel is none the worse for his accident.
But it set me thinking. The night before we had been thinking all about the future with Robbie Morrison. And that is a good thing to do. But I was also struck by the fact that often the present is all we have. ‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift – that is why it is called the present.’ Today, the present is all that we have. Tomorrow is yet to come and may well not shape up as we anticipate. So perhaps we need to reflect on how we are using the here and now.
I had been worrying about what would emerge from our Future Focus discussions – what did God want for our future? I don’t know what that is, but I do know this. God is already at work in our community, in the people of Bishopbriggs who come out of their homes, workplaces, leisure and stop to help a boy on a bike in need. Yes, we need an eye to our future, but we must be careful not to lose sight of what God is doing in the here and now. In the words of the hymn, “God is working his purpose out”, we are reminded of the words of the minor prophet, Habakkuk, who has a major word for us, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)