While a settlement is recorded at this location as early as Roman times, the town earned this description in 1332 when local people gave devoted care to dying Regent, Randolph Earl of Moray. When offered reward the townspeople declined, saying they had only done their duty.
This legacy prevails to the present day and is commemorated each year in July with a festival and competition to elect an ‘Honest Lad’ and ‘Honest Lass’ to represent the area.
We stopped there one morning this summer for coffee and were charmed by the inscription on the park bench in the above snap:
‘In memory of our Granny Jennifer Scrimgeour who brought us here for ice cream’
I’m thinking a town could be famous for worse things than doing their duty, welcoming and honouring guests, caring for those sick and in need and teaching children the lesson of kindness by example!
Musselburgh earned a good and honourable name. Unlike several towns mentioned in the Bible.
Capernaum, Chorazin and Bethsaida in the northern region of Galilee were the locations of much of Jesus’ teaching and working of miracles. God’s truth and power were demonstrated by God’s Son, the ‘King of Kings’ among these people but there was little change of heart. Few showed any evidence of repentance or faith. Once healed, delivered and fed, most people carried on their lives and business as before.
The solemn bit is that we have a record of Jesus’ assessment of these towns:
‘Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgement than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths!’ (Luke 10 v 13-15)
We soberly note from Jesus’ own lips that there will be a judgement by Almighty God and towns and people will be rewarded according to our deeds. Those who welcome the One sent to be our Deliverer, who turn from sinful attitudes and practices and show mercy and kindness in His name will be saved and blessed. Those who don’t will not!
Let’s pray the Lord may never have cause to speak of us like that. Let us humble ourselves before Him in penitent prayer and seek His grace to change and show love and peace like Him.
That we might earn an ‘honest’ name, not just here on earth but where it counts for eternity, in Heaven!