Thursday, 28 February 2013

Leaving Lindisfarne: St Aidan as guide

At the end of our retreat we were invited to 'throw an image out into the future to guide us' (Carl Jung) 

I had been working on a pastel sketch, so this became my image -  St Aidan to guide me (based on the Statue in the grounds of St. Mary the Virgin, next to the Priory)  
I've taken the 4 headings from Ray Simpson's booklet: Give yourself a (Re)treat on Lindisfarne   St Aidan Press 1998) section 2 'figure out St Aidan'


1 the face - gentle, humble, winsome, of stature and vision

his personality and character - described by Bede as a man of 'peace and love, purity and humility'
He was called by Bishop Lightfoot of Durham ' The Apostle of England' 

2 the torch - a passion to pass on faith to everyone one meets

He set up schools for court members and freed slaves, trtaininig indigenous priests; mission stations which were local focused and led, scriptorium producing books and churches ....... 

3 the staff - a shepherd's faithfulness
he preferred to walk so he was at the same level as ordinary folk and could easily talk to them.  He also used his priestly authority (symbolised by the staff) to check the proud and powerful, he tenderly comforted the sick, he relieved and protected the poor....  
the cross - a protecting and encircling shield at one's back

The Celtic Cross 'The circle is the world made one in the cross of Christ. The cross is not just for the church but for the whole world'
Aidan left behind churches in Essex (St Peters Beadwell-on-sea); Lashingham in N Yorks  and his disciples traveled far and wide : Wilfred to the South Saxons of Sussex, Holland and Belgium; Hilda of Whitby; Chad - bishop of Mercia, Lindsay of Litchfield, Wilfred & the Abbey of Hexham and Rippon 

Leaving Lindisfarne: 
'God of our Pilgrimage you have fed us with the bread of heaven. 
Refresh and sustain us as we go forth on our journey'

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 our presence
to the busy world beyond, 
the world that rushes in on me
til the waters come again
and fold me back to you

Prayer of St Aidan of Lindisfarne

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