Crossing Boulevard

with Rev. Rachel


The Scottish Luckenbooth takes a crown and a heart (or two) and intertwines them. Look for it on the front of stationary and t-shirts; or upon skin, in ink.

Some credit Mary Queen of Scots. She gave it as a token of her affection and commitment to Lord Darnley. That, or the husband before him, the Dauphin of France, gave it to her. In any case, now as in the 16th century, the Luckenbooth symbolizes devotion.

It continues to go by the name of the place where it was first put up for sale. [Until 1817, an Edinburgh-er shopped the Luckenbooths.] I wonder what it would have been like to work as the stall’s silver or goldsmith, hammering out the trinkets. I wonder if all those centuries ago, Mary dressed in disguise so as to handpick the one brooch among the many to say, I will be with you, I will be for you. Mostly I wonder about devotion and signs thereof in our time.

Devotion is a matter of the heart. I do know that. But this is not to say that devotion cannot be seen. Luke says that early followers were ‘constantly devoting themselves’. They were devoting themselves to prayer and to life together. People noticed.

Full disclosure: I read ‘constantly devoted’ and hear “Hopelessly Devoted”, a song from the soundtrack to Grease. Over the melodrama of a musical, I hear the Spirit inviting me to stay a little while longer on the subject. Am I constantly devoting myself to anything? To what or to whom is Boulevard devoted?

For each of us, something or someone receives our Scottish Luckenbooth. I guess the question becomes: What or who is it? How intentionally? And then: Is this of God? Or might God long to love me into a differently devoted state?

I am thinking about fetching one from the treasure chest within—that could take a while—and then living these days of June as though a Luckenbooth from me might mean the world.

I hear that a parent loves what is given to them by their child (and for reasons beyond reason). Maybe God would like a brooch? If I have been beaten to the punch, one crown and heart would seem to be enough. Smiles God: Never. In your expressions of devotion, I rejoice. That is when I know… It has been every bit worth it and more.