Three Days: Three Countries: One Well-spring

On Tuesday I drove to Holy Island to meet a couple from Germany. One of them, a church leader, no longer found God only in his private and church framework. Now he sought God also in nature, the work-place and in other traditions. So he came to learn all he could about the holistic Celtic approach, and to visit a 'thin place'.

On Wednesday I drove over to meet with Ken McIntosh from USA (see last week's blog) who led an Open Gate Retreat on Well-springs. He is a pastor of the Uniting Church, and on its behalf is seeking links with the United Reformed Church of England and Wales. He is concerned that so many of us see everyone else through our own constructs. That is why, before coming, I followed his advice and began the Harvard University Implicit Bias Test on-line.

This led me to ponder different views people have of Holy Island. Some people who visit the island on a summer's day forget that if islanders did not fish, farm, clean and cook throughout hard as well as sunny days the island would no longer be a living community. Some visitors come for nature, others for history, and some seek to walk in the steps of Saints Aidan and Cuthbert. If we picture the island as a well, it would be silly to try and insert an artificial base half way up. Jesus said 'I am what I am'. Let the island be what it is, and let us be what we are.

On Thursday I gave some Canadian friends of The Community of Aidan and Hilda a tour. At the Lindisfarne Centre one of them saw the blow-up of bird decorations in the Lindisfarne Gospels. 'That is just like the art work of one of our native tribes' he said. Another told me that when he reached the age of seventy he ceased his work in prisons. In his retirement he sat with the fishermen in his village and learned to catch lobsters. One fisherman came to a church service led by my friend, but did not know that you are not supposed to interrupt a church service. He shouted that he had come to hear his friend and told everyone about a video they might be interested to get. The local bishop (perhaps thinking of Jesus and the Galilee fishermen) asked my friend to be ordained, despite breaking the rules about the age of ordination!

Posted at 07:59am on 22nd June 2018
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