My sister and I recently visited North Berwick for the first time.
At the Scottish Seabird Centre, we really enjoyed learning about the local sea birds and their habits.
Given how easily most of us get lost, it never ceases to amaze me how birds can navigate their way over vast distances while coping with bad weather.
Having lived in Fife for many years, I was particularly interested also to take a boat trip around the Bass Rock on the Sula II.
Having so often looked across to the Bass Rock during my walks along the Leven to Lower Largo beach, it was really fascinating to see what the Bass Rock actually looks like, and to see for myself that it is partly the thousands of light-coloured birds that make the rock look white from a distance.
Apparently, the Bass Rock is the largest single island gannet colony in the world and home to 150,000 gannets who spend most of the year on the Rock until the end of October, when they set out on their long journey to the west coast of Africa.
The boat trip showed us the sights, sounds and smells of the island and satisfied my long-held curiosity.
After disembarking, we then climbed North Berwick Law, from the top of which there were great views inland and down to the town but rather hazy views across the Firth of Forth.
It was very interesting for me to have had both a much closer look at the Bass Rock and to have (just) seen Largo Law from the top of Berwick Law.
In other words, I had two experiences of looking at something familiar from a different perspective – experiences which helped me learn a great deal and see things differently.
It is often a very positive experience to try to look at things from a different angle. This is one reason why we like to discuss our dilemmas with family and friends and why we sometimes seek professional advice.
One of the great things about reading the Gospels is they help us see things from Jesus’ perspective and to understand more about God’s love and mercy and what Jesus’ ministry was and is all about.
The Gospels also encourage us to follow Jesus’ example of responding to other people’s needs, rather than just thinking about what we want.
One of the very positive encounters described in Luke’s Gospel is Jesus meeting with Zacchaeus, who was rich and greedy but lonely.
After inviting Jesus into his home, Zacchaeus made a commitment to give away half his belongings to help the poor and to pay back anyone he has cheated four times as much as he owes them.
Undoubtedly, Zacchaeus was changed for the better by his encounter with Jesus.
How open are we to being changed by our relationship with Jesus or by our encounters with other people who challenge us?