UK Kingdom Travel Journal—Day 9

Holy Trinity Church

Today we happened to be in St. Andrews on the one day of the year where the town recreates the run across the beach from the opening scene of Chariots of Fire.

That scene, which in the movie supposedly took place in Kent on the southern coast of England, was actually filmed here in St. Andrews on the beach adjacent to the 18th fairway of The Old Course.

Today, two hundred and fifty people in white t-shirts ran a three mile race on the beach while the theme from Chariots of Fire was played over loud speakers.

Eric Liddell, olympic athlete and missionary to China, actually has no other connection to St. Andrews, but the beach is one more recommendation for the town that better than any other brings together God and golf.

After leaving the beach we walked through the town centre to Holy Trinity Church. It was here John  Knox preached his first sermon in 1547. It was here on June 11, 1559, Knox would preach his famous sermon that many believe marked the beginning of the Scottish Reformation. And It was here three hundred years later that Old Tom Morris, four time British Open Champion, architect of The Old Course at St. Andrews, served as an elder.

Knox was a disciple of George Wishart, serving as his body guard during the the very dangerous times leading up to the Scottish Reformation. Wishart was martyred, burned at the stake on March 1, 1547 for preaching the Gospel. Wishart was only 24 years old at the time of his death.

Graves of Old & Young Tom Morris

Judging in the natural, Wishart’s life came to a premature end. What can a person accomplish in only 24 years? But Wishart had enough time to disciple Knox who would go on to lead the Scottish Reformation. The story of Wishart and Knox reaffirms that we should always be making disciples and that those with whom we may have the least amount of time can have the biggest influence.

After fish and chips at Cromars on Market Street, we walked over to St Andrews Cathedral, which was once the largest cathedral in the United Kingdom but is now only ruins. In the graveyard there we found the gravestone of Samuel Rutherford, Reformed theologian and writer, and not far away those of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris. God and golf, you see.

After Ice cream at Jannettas and some golf shop shopping we settled in for a long leisurely dinner at the Rusacks Hotel overlooking the 18th fairway of The Old Course. We sat, ate, and talked, watching golfers finish their rounds in the slowly dimming dusk. We spoke about evangelism. Dr. and Mrs. H told us two incredible stories of how the Lord used their son to lead two people to the Lord. There is nothing more inspiring to me than to hear the stories of people whose lives have been radically changed by Jesus, and it always feels as if a grace is imparted in the telling.

After the restaurant manager turned the lights off in the restaurant and we noticed we were the last ones still there. We took the hint and called it a night. GS