Tuesday, November 21, 2017
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Holy Island

I thought I had been to Lindisfarne, on Holy Island, before. I had stayed near there at Seahouses, a small fishing port, around 20 years ago, with my youngest daughter and her friend, both in their mid-teens. I can remember visiting the Beamish museum (there is an ancient dental surgery there!), and Hadrian’s Wall, and the Farne Islands… maybe we did not go to Lindisfarne. I think I would remember the importance of the tides.

It is approached from the A11 just south of Berwick-upon-Tweed. There is a lengthy promontory from the mainland to the island, and it is covered to the depth of at least a couple of feet when the tide comes in. So you have to time your journey to the island, to make sure you can get there. And if you stay too long, you can’t get back till the next low tide. Should you be walking, and get cut off by the incoming tide, there are towers, where you can climb a ladder onto a platform… and wait? Or phone for help?

It is a lovely little village, with a quaint picturesque harbour.

We watched crabs being brought ashore. Maybe hundreds of them. Our room looked out to Lindisfarne castle, currently enshrouded in scaffolding.

And the menu each night was awash with seafood. Lovely for me, but perhaps not my wife.

Lindisfarne was a centre of Celtic Christianity. The gospel was brought to these shores by Mediterranean people, before the Romans came with their form. It was a little closer to the early church, with less ritual and clutter. And that is the way many of us prefer it today – a relationship with the Father through the Son, and worship, ministry, and fellowship. No religious clothes, religious voices, and religious ceremonies. I tried the ‘religious’ way decades ago, and it did not satisfy. But when I came to faith in Christ, everything changed, and there was no looking back.

I think Aidan and Cuthbert knew what it was to have a relationship with Jesus back in the 7th century. But I wonder if they ever got the tides wrong?

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