A Weekful Of Aidan

It began last Saturday. It was standing room only at Lindisfarne's Saint Mary's Church, what with two music groups and the Bishop of Newcastle to trumpet in Saint Aidan's Week amid the most glorious Lindisfarne Gospels Flowers and Arts.

It continued on Sunday. After the church service, a Northumbrian piper led us along the boundaries of Aidan's original Celtic monastery - Fiddlers's Green, down Marygate, across the field to the Heugh - stopping to pray at various places. Assistant Bishop Frank blessed the island.

Monday's focus was Saint Aidan's Church, Bamburgh, where Aidan died. The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, came to dedicate a more spacious and worthy shrine for pilgrims. 'Christ's way is vulnerability; he reversed the way of hierarchy. Jesus' authority is exercised at the feet of each person', he said, and explained how Aidan modelled that approach among the English. 'Aidan was a great reconciler', he continued, 'he went everywhere on foot. I encourage you to do as Aidan did.' Then the crowd moved from the church to the village outside. He told them: 'Anglicans mumble a lot. I want you to shout at the top of your voices, three times, "The Lord reigns"'. It was a Bank Holiday. The police stopped the traffic to behold us!

Tuesday. Archbishop Sentamu is on retreat on Holy Island during Aidan's Week. Despite being in silence, he saw a member of The Community of Aidan and Hilda, gripped his arm and said something like this: ' This is how Aidan did it. He greeted you and said "You are my friend. Will you be my friend? Tell me all about yourself. Now would you like me to tell you something about myself? I have good news". Then Aidan would repeat something from the Word of God. The Word of God was in his heart, not in a book. "Now", he said to his friend, "see if you can repeat that so you will remember it when you get home".

Wednesday onwards: So many arrive for retreat or to seek spiritual advice. Members of our Caim Council arrive. Aye, Aidan's children all. And blow me down, I have to fly to Stavanger. That is for next week's blog.

Posted at 01:37am on 28th August 2013
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