June 2017: Gift Day
Two weeks ago I was invited to the ceremonial saddling-up of Oreo at MRT (Muirfield Riding Therapy). Former Scottish rugby player, Nathan Hines, performed the honours after seven year old, Eilidh Liston, had pulled Oreo’s name out of the hat. Eilidh then climbed on Oreo’s back for his first official ride.
Unlike all the other horses at MRT, Oreo, has no heart. He is a mechanical horse whose power cords needs to be plugged in. Like an actual horse Oreo is able to replicate all the movements of a real horse, but in a much more predictable and controllable way.
While Oreo will never replace real horses, he has several advantages. He will allow people who do not have sufficient balance, strength or confidence to take part. Through riding Oreo they will get the benefits of hippotherapy, and for many it will be a stepping-stone to riding an actual horse. He also allows a physio to do a much more effective assessment of a rider’s weaknesses. Oreo can then be programmed to perform specific movements to address them.
I was invited to the saddling up on behalf of our church. From our Gift Day in 2016 we gave £4,081 towards Oreo’s total cost of £40,000. One of the real privileges of being minister of St Andrew Blackadder is I frequently receive thanks for what the congregation has been and done. I am often humbled to discover the depths of appreciation that some of the things we do evoke.
Days before Oreo’s saddling up I completed the leaflet for this year’s Gift Day, which will be on June 18th. As we have done most years, half the money will go to a church project and we will give the rest away.
In the run up to Gift Day you might want to ponder these words. ‘The Lord Jesus himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”’ (Acts 20:35 )
At first sight this seems to be nonsense. Surely it is receiving that is a blessing. Giving is a burden. In receiving we gain. In giving we lose. Like many of the things that Jesus said it appears to be back to front.
Yet, when we give it a go, we find Jesus is right. It may be back to front, but it’s true. While it is a blessing to receive, the greater blessing comes from giving, sharing and being generous.
To see other messages from Neil, click on the appropriate month in the table below.
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