Holy Island (Lindisfarne) is a deeply special place for the story of Christianity in our land. It was to here that St. Aidan came from Iona to proclaim the love of God in Jesus Christ for His people. Here St. Aidan trained up twelve Saxon boys, including four brothers, to spread the Good News of Jesus. It was here, the day after Aidan’s soul was taken up to heaven that a boy named Cuthbert came to dedicate his life to God after first testing his vocation at the Abbey in Melrose.
When Cuthbert was called to be a great leader of the church and weighed down by the many tasks he undertook, he escaped to his special meeting place with God. As Lindisfarne became (and becomes) an island twice a day, so the little island known as Cuddy’s isle is the same. Here Cuthbert crossed before the tide cut him off and left him to simply be with God.
Here’s a poem I’ve just written inspired by Helen’s photograph and the thoughts it has stirred.
There is an island
made holy by the prayers and tears of saints.
A holy, set-aside place where souls in search of God
find him waiting.
It is a thin place
where earth touches heaven
and barriers are paper-thin:
tissue hiding nothing,
light warmly radiant.
I have been there,
down the rough path
past the church to a bend in the road
where expectancy parts the air.
The sea drifts to shore,
benign and welcoming
or pushing waves to the limit of its power.
It beckons and seeks you.
Clamber and scramble the rocks of your desire.
You have a meeting, a moment, an arrangement.
God waits and stretches out his hand in welcome,
shelters safe and holds.
You are there
at the place of speaking,
Even as the wind swirls and chills,
you are warm.
And this place?
Cuddy’s Isle of Lindisfarne.
[Mr G. 1st July 2021]