Sunday, 31 August 2014

Feast of St Aidan - Flame of the North

Aidan - Flame of the North 

Genesis 1:3
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 

Today sees the feast day of St Aidan and a week of celebrating the the Holy Isle of Lindisfarne and her saints.

For a wonderful account of the life of Aidan see Canon Kate Tristam's article here

St Aidan's Bamburgh
from the Baptistry
When I have the time, my visits to Lindisfarne include paying my respects to Wilfrid at Hexham and then Aidan at St Aidan's in Bamburgh. By tradition, Aidan died in an earlier wooden church on this site and the beam he was leaning against has survived two major fires. Benedictines rebuilt the church in the 12th Century, honouring the memory of the Celtic 'apostle'. 

In a symbol of resurrection the beam is now part of the roof work over the baptistry. 

There is a simple shrine over the ground where he lay and, touchingly, prayer tokens take the celtic shape of shells, pebbles and feathers tucked into a little stone recess at the side.  

Then it is often a case of racing the tide for the crossing - it seems to be another personal tradition to only just make it one way or the other. 

This year was the first year that I made the crossing on foot - in bare feet to be precise - following the sentinel posts that mark safe passage. The poem and post Pilgrim Sands celebrates the experience of walking in the footsteps of all those who wander for the love of Christ.  

There are probably a thousand ways of expressing Celtic spirituality -  Aidan is one who carries God's hospitality with him. Wherever he was, he was the doorkeeper to the Kingdom - and his lamp was always lit.

Blessing of Aidan 

May you  shine with Heaven's Light 
May your heart be Light
in Love's longing
May your words be Light 
in dark times
May your hands be Light
in life's struggles
May your feet be Light
in sharing journeys
and bringing all to the Feast
May you shine with Heaven's Light

Blessed be


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