If you ever have the blessing of visiting the Holy Island, be sure to stay overnight. The island is connected to the mainland by a causeway that is only accessible during the low tide. So each day the “day trippers” come and go with the tide. When they leave, those staying on the island can experience a bit of the peace and stillness that makes the island what many would call a “thin place” — a geographical place where God’s presence seems especially close.
When the causeway opens each day, the island is invaded again (especially on a perfectly sunny and warm Sunday, like we experienced) by hundreds of tourists — some walking with sticks and backpacks, some pushing strollers with other children in hand, and some bringing a dog or two along. They quickly disperse to see the castle, walk the dunes or shop in the tourist gift stores. Our hotel proprietor likened it to the Viking invasion the island suffered in 793: “Only now there is a more even exchange of goods from these invaders — at least they leave behind money!” Of course, he said this tongue in cheek, as tourism is the principal way the island survives.
Early on Sunday morning, before the causeway opened and many people “invaded” once again, I walked towards the sun which was already rising above the sea. The birds called, one or two people passed by. One lady rode her bike along to a spot where she evidently scatters food on the ground for the birds each day; she also splashed clean water in the bird bath.
I thought of the moving story of St. Aidan (see post of August 31st). We had a lecture the evening before about the wise and loving Irish monks who first brought Christianity to this part of the British Isles. I wondered about the deprivations they must have faced. I thought about how I complain because the showers are too cold or I face some other slight inconvenience. How much am I truly willing to give up for the sake of my neighbor who needs to know the love of Jesus?
I pray for a renewal of the deep love of Jesus in my life. May I be willing, as Aidan was, to relate lovingly to each person I meet, ready to listen and serve so they might know the love of God.