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Tribute to the Rev Murdo M Macsween, Kinloch

Tribute to the Rev Murdo M Macsween, Kinloch

This tribute was written for the "Gazette" by the Rev Murdo Ewen Macdonald, St George's West Church, Edinburgh.

Scalpay, Harris has produced leaders in every walk of life, out of all proportion to its size and Murdo Macsween was one of the most illustrious. Educated in hiw own little village school and later at the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway; Inverness Academy; Glasgow University and Trinity College. Murdo was throughout it all a good student and at University he distinguished himself in Philosophy - a fact which those of us who knew him could sense behind his passionate and evangelical preaching.

He came of good stock; physically, mentally, spiritually and he embodied to the full the best of the inherited qualities of his forebears. If anyone doubts the fact of heredity, he must find some other explanation for the strain of music running through the whole Macsween family. I remember as a boy listening to Murdo's three uncles precenting at a Communion Service at Tarbert, Harris and by the time our boat reached Drinishader, division of opinion still prevailed as to who was best.

Murdo's first charge was in Kinloch, Lewis to which he came straight from College. The impact he made not only on this parish but on the whole of the Long Island was considerable and is still remembered with gratitude by young and old. From there he was called to Broadford, Skye where he exercised a notable ministry for eight years. He left many sad hearts behind him when he accepted a call to Govanhill Church, Glasgow and there in the midst of a hectic, heaving, tumultuous life of a large city, he made an indelible mark.

In the course of my ministry I have been present at many funerals at home and abroad but Murdo Macsween's funeral was by far the most moving I have seen. When I came out from a packed church where people were present from all over the country and saw the streets lines with silent people, suddenly my grief momentarily lifted and in a mood strangely jubilant, I said to myself; "Who says the Church is a spent force in the land today?"

Only a man of God holding forth the Word of life could evoke such an extraordinary response.

To us who here only see through a glass darkly, the death of a great minister in his prime and at the summit of his fruitfulness is mystifying in the extreme. There is no use pretending that it is not but because our faith is centered in the Cross and we are sons and daughters of the Resurrection, we know that one day the enigma will be made clear and the mystery will be revealed and we who now grope in darkness shall walk in the light of a knowledge which is made perfect.

Murdo Macsween's death has come as a shock to his family, to his congregation, to the Church of Scotland and to those of us who loved him and who will miss his merry laugh and friendly handshake more than we can say. While we are conscious of our great loss, the best tribute we can pay to the memory of a stalwart Christian and a faithful minister is to show forth in our own lives the robust exuberant faith that characterized him, that others seeing it may take heart and glorify our Father which is in Heaven.


Title: Tribute to the Rev Murdo M Macsween, Kinloch
Record Type: Stories, Reports and Traditions
Type: Newspaper Article
Date: 1960
Record Maintained By: CECL
Subject Id: 36625