#AdventWord #Ancestor #先人
Look ahead, look ahead with joy. In the stormy winds of time, find your roots in Christ our tree of life; eternally held in the verdant soil of God’s unending Love, drawing in all that ever was, nurturing us in this moment, and promising the outstretched grace of our salvation.
When Aidan established the first monastery on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne in 635, he started with 12 young monks. These monks, and their successors, would go on to travel extensively throughout England preaching, teaching and setting up churches. Most famous are St. Chad, St. Cedd, and St. Wilfrid. Aidan, and his successor, Cuthbert were responsible for the establishment of numerous monasteries and churches throughout northern England and southern Scotland. Cuthbert was regarded by many as a saint, with many coming to seek advice, prayer and miracles. In 875, violent attacks by marauding Vikings forced the monks of Lindisfarne to flee, taking Cuthbert’s body (which, on opening up his coffin was discovered to be uncorrupted) with them. They found refuge in Chester-le-Street, and in 995 finally settled in Durham, where Cuthbert’s shrine became part of what is now Durham Cathedral.
This sculpture, in St. Mary’s Church, Holy Island, titled ‘The Journey’ by Fenwick Lawson, shows 6 monks carrying Cuthbert’s body, as they flee Holy Island. He writes, ‘The Lindisfarne community, with the uncorrupted body of Cuthbert, their saint, founded Durham as refugees. With this significance in mind, and some nerve, considering ‘The Burghers of Calais’ by Auguste Rodin, I saw this epic journey as a great theme for a sculpture: a journey of faith, a journey of hope, and a journey of love for fellow man; a brotherhood forged by the necessity of co-operative effort.’
These early saints are our spiritual ancestors in the Christian faith. Though their roots were in Holy Island, in fact their roots stretched down much deeper, into Christ himself as the tree of life. Many faced the ‘stormy winds of time’ and were forced to flee. Persecution forced Joseph, Mary and the Christ child to flee too. We treasure our history, our holy places and our traditions, but our faith is a journey, and we are challenged to look ahead. Look ahead with joy!