St Aidan established a monastery on Lindisfarne in 635 AD, where the Lindisfarne Gospels were created some years later, and we have just commemorated St Aidan on 31 August 2020.
When we think of this Monk and about the beautiful illuminated pages of this valued scripture which must have been inspired by the surroundings of Lindisfarne, his mind must have been full of adoration for our Creator and all his works. The illustrations, painted with colours that glow like some stained glass windows, show St Aidan's love of birds and animals living around him.
Looking at the complicated designs twisting and interlacing around the page in a forever circular movement makes us contemplate our own lives which are full of twists and turns ... mazes perhaps, not knowing where life is taking us, or what is going to face us around the next corner. There is wonder and beauty in our world but also we can be fearful and puzzled by the things we don’t understand, especially at this moment during this pandemic and especially during times of suffering and death.
When we stand back from the detail of the patterns and design on these Lindisfarne pages we see they are not confused and complex, but patterns corresponding to each other and form a complex harmony of design and colour, created lovingly.
So we stand back and look at our own lives, the complex interweaving of comings and goings, and see designs of harmony because we have had the hand of our loving Creator upon us to bring us to where we are.
The surprising thing about the Lindisfarne Gospels is that when we see the harmony and pattern emerge, placed at the middle of each page is a Cross, a Cross that seems to hold the page together.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for today and our lives and all that passes within it.For the unlooked for blessings that have come from you, through others, for the smiles and laughter, for the eyes to gaze on the beauty of your creation, for the ears to hear words of compassion and care from those we meet or to simply listen to the bird song. Father we thank you also for being near during sad times, for in those times of sorrow, fear, illness and loneliness we know that you are with us. A very present help, a place of refuge and comfort.
We ask Lord that you give to those struggling in body, mind or spirit your healing touch, that you give to them the strength to face each new day and we ask for your deep deep peace for all who mourn in these times, where we cannot come together to share our grief as before, to hold one another other than in prayer.
In the name of Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen