I am linked to the past and the early Celtic Christianity of these British Isles. In the 7th century A.D., and from the misty island of Iona came missionaries to the Picts of Scotland and the Anglo-Saxons of northern England spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is not a day that passes by that I do not ponder these great men and the impact they had in those early centuries of church history. One has been on my mind of late:
He was known as Aidan, or St. Aidan of Lindisfarne. He was born in Ireland in 580 and died in 651 A.D on the island of Lindisfarne, also known as “Holy Island.” In 635, at the request of King Oswald of Northumbria, Aidan came as a missionary to the pagan “Angles” of that region (we got the word “English” from the word “Angleish”) after an earlier missionary monk by the name of Corman had given up, saying that they were too uncivilized and stubborn to be taught!
On Lindisfarne Aidan built a school, a mission, and a church. From Lindisfarne Aidan walked from village to village, meeting people and teaching them about God’s Son. He loved the joy of speaking with people as he met them, eye to eye. It was his greatest love to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He baptized, married, and buried in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. His gentleness and humbleness, his quiet demeanor brought out the best in people eager to talk to him, and eager to hear about the Living God who sent His Son to walk among men, and to save all who came to believe in Him.
Aidan was in awe of God’s power and greatness, as he saw a glimpse of this on Lindisfarne with the coming in and going out of the tides. He wrote:
Leave me alone with God as much as may be. As the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore, Make me an island, set apart, alone with you, God, holy to you.
Then with the turning of the tide prepare me to carry Your presence to the busy world beyond, the world that rushes in on me till the waters come again and fold me back to You.
Let us, like St. Aidan, seek out God again and again through prayer; and, like the constant motion of the waves and the coming and going of the tide upon the shore, know that the coming in and going out of our prayers and thanks, as often as we would, He hears us and loves us forever. Amen