Elder, Swordale Over four years have now elapsed since the death of Roderick MacLeod, or “Roddy Swordale” as he was popularly known, and it is a matter of great regret that it is only now that this short obituary appears in our magazine. It cannot be other than short because Roderick was a man of few words, out of whom it was difficult to prise anything that might shed light on the nature of his spiritual experience in passing from death to life. That must remain in obscurity. But if, in regard to personal matters, he was reticent in the manner indicated, his outward life and walk manifestly declared whose he was and whom he served, and those who came into close contact with him will always remember him as one who was a humble, firm and forthright follower of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
He was born in Swordale in 1912 and at an early age began to earn his living on a fishing boat based in Stornoway. In his early twenties, however, he enlisted in the regular army and faithfully served king and country, as did many others from his home village, throughout the whole of the Second World War. Over these years of conflict he was preserved in the midst of many dangers, particularly in connection with the rearguard action fought in France in 1940 and then again in Europe after D-day in 1944. He was demobilised in due time and returned to civilian employment. An employer could not have a more honest and trustworthy employee.
In 1967 he was moved to appear before the Stornoway Kirk Session. By then, he was already, we believe, a mature Christian, and the Session had no difficulty in receiving him as a member in full communion. In 1971 he was ordained to the Eldership and faithfully carried out the duties of that office in his own quiet, unassuming way. As one aware of the deceitfulness of sin and the wiles of the devil, he, by the grace of God, kept himself unspotted from the world and in the sphere of duty allotted to him he proved himself to be a good soldier of Jesus Christ. At times of ecclesiastical turmoil and division, he remained rock-firm in his attachment to the testimony of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
In his latter years he was well cared for by his niece and her husband in Knock. On the sixth day of October, 1996, he entered into the joy of his Lord. “Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.”
(Rev) John MacLeod