Just back from a gorgeous week away with my youngest and husband in the borders of Scotland, around the areas of the original Celtic Christianity. Always being there is amazing for me, learning more about St Cuthbert and St Aiden and the work they did to promote the Gospel in this whole area of North East England. Seeing St Cuthbert’s island where he went to live on his own looked very inviting and isolating at the same time.

No distractions and no internet was an interesting time for all of us. It made me more aware of how much time I spend on the internet or being distracted away from the Word or in prayer. Understanding what distracts us or takes our time can be very revealing. Sometimes the masks we put on to show what we think protects us or makes us look better to each other can take a lot of time and effort. Lowering masks and showing each other and more importantly, God, who we really are is a freeing of us. He knows who we are anyway, we just try to pretend we are someone else. The masks are not of Gods making. They are a protective response to something that has happened to us or said to us in the past that has hurt us. We raise a shield that pushes us further away from others and God every new mask we create out of pain or trauma.

Thinking back to Holy Island and how small the community is, and how the whole island is cut off from the mainland twice a day seems a world away from me here. Learning what masks we can use can make us feel vulnerable and open and naked. Holy Island feels a good place to move to at those points for us! Me in particular! Opening up to God brings us back to where we should be. God cant begin the work in us of freedom, until we are ready to start to walk towards Him and say that we want to be back with Him.  

The ancient ways

Reflecting back to March, when on a very cold, snowy day, we travelled to Lindisfarne (Holy Island) and the Priory with the kids to show them where Christianity was first lived out in our area. With the weak sunlight desperately trying to push through the freezing clouds which were heavy with unshed snow, we went to the old priory ruins.

As we walked round the old walls, its not hard to wonder what St Aiden or St Cuthbert would think of modern day Christianity. It is so different from the Celtic Christianity, based around fellowship and communion with God throughout the whole of their lives. Their prayer times were near constant as was their love of the poor and needy. The cutting themselves off from anything that would distract them from their Lord, meant that St Cuthbert went to live on an island all by himself. No one to talk to but his Lord, only his Lord to help him make the island liveable for himself, including sowing and reaping vegetables and corn.

How would we cope if everything was taken away from us? Would we know how to live, and to only live for God?

In some ways over time, the old Celtic ways of living and loving God have been watered down and weakened. Was it right in the first place to only live for God, and cut themselves off from everyone? I don’t know, but I do know that in a lot of ways, it would focus our attention and stop the life distractions from stealing the time away that we give to God.

I thank God for all the early Christians who gave their lives for what they believed.