29th June 2017

“Guid Nychburris Day”

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 (NKJV)

The town of Dumfries in South West Scotland embraces a very special local tradition. Every year, in June, the Doonhamers (residents of Dumfries) celebrate a festival called “Guid Nychburris Day,” which translates from mid-scots to “Good Neighbours Day.” Indeed, it is the town’s main festival of the year—a ceremony which is largely based on the theme of a positive community spirit.

The day includes lots of events and is very family-oriented. The main ceremonies start with the designated Cornet and his Lass leading their followers on horseback around the town boundaries, following a route and sequence of events laid down in the mists of time. Formal proceedings start at 7:30 am with the gathering of up to 250 horses waiting for the courier to arrive and announce that the Pursuivant is on his way, and at 8.00 am they all leave the town-centre “Midsteeple” and ride out to meet the Pursuivant. They then proceed to Ride the Marches and Stob and Nog (mark the boundary with posts and flags) before returning to the Midsteeple at 12:15 pm to meet the Provost. The Charter is then proclaimed to the towns people of Dumfries. Later in the day, amidst much celebration, the Queen of the South is crowned and her traditional song is sung. Finally, a vehicle parade of carnival floats makes its way through the town cheered on by the townsfolk.

Good neighbourliness is surely well worth celebrating, and for Christians it is a trait which is actually commanded of us. The Bible has much to say on the subject and Jesus even exhorts us to love our neighbour as ourselves, which is surely the ultimate expression of neighbourliness. In doing so, Christians are to express the love of God dwelling in us by the Holy Spirit, which is in every sense a communication of the faith, hope and love which God gives to us—indeed that is the very gospel (Galatians 5:13-14).

It should not be confined just to those we know and love, but to all those with whom we come into contact. Kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity and hospitality are all traits which Christians are encouraged to have and extend to all others. Experiencing this kind of neighbourliness from others engenders reciprocity and enhances the quality of life for all. It opens doors, it builds up, it encourages mutual respect and friendship. (Sadly it is also true that meanness of spirit and hostility engender reciprocity too, but one which is negative and highly destructive).

How nice it would be if the principle of “Guid Nychburris” was a feature of all human relations—interpersonal, communal and international. What a different and better world it would be. For Christians, it is a royal command right now (James 2:8).

Father in Heaven, please fill us with your faith, hope and love by the power of your Holy Spirit. Help us to reach out to others in friendliness and good neighbourliness for the furtherance of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ’s name.

Study by Richard Whiting


About the Author:
Richard Whiting is a retired Elder of the Worldwide Church of God UK living in South West Scotland. Richard served as an Elder in the Sheffield congregation for 25 years before retiring and moving to Dumfries.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Irvine
Woodlands Centre
16 Kilwinning Road
Scotland KA12 8RU

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
John Muir
Email: info@wcg.org.uk
Tel: 01858 437099

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