A Laird, 20 Bishops And A New Wind

Twenty one members of a Norwich Parish  spent a long week-end on a St. Cuthbert Pilgrimage based at The Open Gate.  They were, led by Explorer Rev Simon Stokes with his guide dog Maine and me as a human guide. On the Saturday we journeyed to Old Melrose, the original site of the monastery where St. Cuthbert trained. The laird of this private land, William Younger, welcomed us.  We had lunch in the old barn which has been turned into a public tea rooms.  This has fine explanation panels of the make-up of the monastery rath in a U-bend in the river Tweed. Here, we lsarned, the monks were self-sufficient: they reared animals, caught fish and ate herbs and natural plants from the woods. Their cells were made of wattle and daub, by weaving branches through upright stakes. The remains of the earth mounds that delineated the rath can still be seen.  After Cuthbert’s death a chapel was erected in the wood on high ground, but this was burned down in 1321 by the English. We celebrated Holy Communion in the laird’s private summer house, on a wood table covered in sawdust, with a fantastic view down to the monastic site. 

 They journeyed on to Saint Cuthbert’s Shrine at Durham. I journeyed by boat to Saint Cuthbert’s Chapel on Inner Farne with local church workers, led by Newcastle’s Bishop Christine. In this thin place a renewed Partnership Agreement between Newcastle and Norway's More Diocese was signed by their two bishops.  The following day I skyped a Norway Aidan and Hilda memmber in West Norway. 'Oh, we will meet the bishop soon. She has invited us to join her on her visit here. I will tell her about our links' he said.

Three days later some twenty bishops converged on Holy Island's Priory grounds. There they and a host of missioners  were commissioned for a Mission to the North East of England. Archbishop Sentamu told how Aidan had prayed the wind would change. This saved his kingdom from destruction and allowed his mission to go forward. He called us all to pray that the anti-God winds would change into a pro-God direction - this we all did, including retreatants at Open Gate who had learned about the mission integral to the Lindisfarne Gospels from that great expert Michelle Brown.

 

Posted at 07:58am on 7th September 2018
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