ian-front-pagePrincipal Rev. Dr Ian Birch opened the academic year with a short reflection at last week’s Opening Service. This is the script of his meditation which brings to life the logo of SBC that we hope you will find both helpful and inspiring.



John 6:1- 13

“The logo of the Scottish Baptist College is to many people a series of mysterious lines and dots, as comprehensible as hieroglyphics. To the initiated, and here I have to confess that I had worked at the college for a number of years before I worked this out, these seemingly random squiggles represent two fish and five loaves of bread.

Our logo: ‘Food for thought’ is a play on words connecting the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand using only two fish and five loaves with the task of theological education.

It is not exactly bread and fish we break and distribute, though we have been known to share the occasional pizza lunch which has similarities, but truth and ideas as food for thought. We gather as a community to study scripture, theology, tradition, mission in order to learn the ways of God, to understand better the nature of God’s kingdom; we come to feed on God’s word and the reflections of others in order to become those who can feed others.

We live in a world that is hungry for truth and meaning, where so many people seem bored with life. Maybe that is why we witness people of more extreme views to left and right being elected to positions of power and leadership. In spite of material prosperity life seems humdrum and tedious and we want tables to be turned over, the political and social scene to given a good stir.

We live is a world where many people are literally hungry, one in nine people, 795 million according to the World Food Programme.

In the story we read in John 6 we have Jesus asking Philip ‘where will we get bread for these people?’ The irony of the question is that Jesus himself might have turned stones into bread and fed the crowd. Jesus was just the person you needed when faced with a major hunger problem, but he offers no help, only a question to others – ‘what are you going to do?’

In the event, the answer to the difficulty comes from the least in their midst, that is, a young boy. From the one who was least likely to have anything to offer in the face of so great need, from a child the crowd are fed. And not only were they fed, they were ‘filled till they were full, and there left overs.’ Is that not a beautiful illustration of the upside down nature of God’s kingdom which makes a mockery of the values by which we so often operate? Those who are considered least find they most valued and valuable in the purposes of God.

We should not fail to notice that this miracle also involves community. Jesus is at the centre of events, but the disciples and children have their part to play in the feeding of a multitude. So do we. The community is fed when the community acts responsively to Jesus.

Today is the first day of a new year at the Scottish Baptist College, and we come to learn the ways of Jesus so that we might do the works of Jesus. Enjoy the ‘food’, take as much as you can, learn well, so that you might serve well, in the name of Jesus, for the sake of Jesus.”