"Surrounded by law but living in grace". These words were spoken by the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland at the beginning of GA 2014.
The General Assembly was constituted this morning with its usual pomp and circumstance, heightened this year by the presence of His Royal Highness, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, this years Lord High Commissioner, along with his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
The Assembly was asked to graciously accept Her Majesty the Queens's representative.
Also in the entourage, this morning, was first minister, Alex Salmond.
The Queens letter, which the Assembly graciously agreed to have read, referred to the upcoming referendum in Scotland.
The poignancy of this moment in history struck me today. It could be that next year, when we meet in General Assembly, Scotland might be an independent country. I'm not sure how independence will affect the Constitution of the General Assembly. There are many details to be worked through in the changed landscape of an independent Scotland, should that be the situation after the referendum.
Whatever the outcome, the church in Scotland, in all its guises will be a huge agent of reconciliation after the referendum and a continuing force for communities working together to support the vulnerable. Grace remains a driving force in all that the church seeks to do in the mission that is God's throughout the nation, be it independent or part of the United Kingdom.