Thursday, June 14, 2007

Destination Lindisfarne

I hope you will all join me for the next stage of my world-wide virtual island hopping expedition! This time I want to visit the holy island of Lindisfarne, a tidal island off the north-east coast of England.
At the moment I know almost nothing about Lindisfarne, but that will surely change in the next weeks. Do you have any questions about this island that you want to ask? Please do let me know and I will try to get in touch with some people who are living on this island or who have been visiting it. You can read a bit more about Lindisfarne on Wikipedia. Mike, thanks for suggesting this island to me!
(Click pics to enlarge. You can also click on the virtual island hopping label below to read about other islands that I visited - well, sort of.)


Vicki said...

The photo looks intriguing! I can't wait to visit this island, and learn about it.

Mike said...

This is a wonderful place. Home of the Celtic saints. Do a little reading on Aidan for example.

This island has a tiny village on it. Ruins of a monastary and a vibrant church. I once attened a meeting there.

I would love to read about who the islanders see their spirtual hertiage.

Mike said...

I have tag this post on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm coming back to find out more. How lovely this picture is. Wish I was in the season of life to pop on a plane and travel to such destinations.

ann_in_grace said...

Wow! What a great idea! I will certainly be back to see what exciting facts you describe about this place.
i came over from Mike's place.

Mike said...

With Paul taking us on an island visit to Lindisfarne I thought I would share my experience there. Before I go into details you have to understand a little about me. I am a disciple of Jesus, armchair theologian and amateur historian. I love biblical archeology and recently have enjoyed studying how ancient Christians lived. I am fascinated with this subject as we are living in times similar to those early believers. I had also been doing some reading on Celtic Christianity.

On one trip to my home land of England, I decided to leave the hustle and bustle of London for the scenic beauty of the Lake District. After spending time in Wordsworth’s country I crossed the landscape, visited Hadrian’s wall and then arrived in Northumbria. For a long time I had wanted to visit Lindisfarne and now I had my chance. After some effort I found the B & B I had booked into, the “Friendly Hound”. With a good nights sleep I resolved to visit the Holy Island.

Maybe some of you don’t know much about this place. But when Christianity first came to the British Isles a mission base was established on Lindisfarne. It was ideal for the work of the gospel, central to powerful tribes yet when the tide came in it was isolated and a place of prayer. The historian in me was eager to experience the past.

After checking the tide times I determined when the tide was going out. I then set out to the island. The drive was not that long and soon I was faced with this rather wet road linking the island to the mainland. As I drove along the road, sandy plains were on either side of me. Pools of sea water were all over the place, shells and sea weed were scattered across the landscape. Seagulls swooped overhead and then there was the smell of the sea, that rich salty smell that reminds a person that you are really on holiday.

Driving really isn’t allowed on the island unless you are a resident so I parked the car in this large car park. Getting out I walked toward the village praying as I moved along. I decided that I wasn’t going to walk fast. This was to be a prayerful walk. I wanted to take in the sights, sounds and smells.

Little houses doted the lane. They were simple and clearly sea worn. Small well kept gardens spoke to the care these people have for their island home.

Once you arrive in the center of the village there is a large statue of Aidan, founder of the mission there. I decided to make my first visit to the monastery ruins. In later years a monastery had been built there, long after Aidans time. The ruins are not as spectacular as those in Yorkshire or Glastonbury. But I was there for the place not so much the ruins. I visited the monastery museum which did a good job of depicting monastic life. I then wandered around the grounds, exercising my right as tourist by taking many photo’s.

I then went to the local church and had an experience that I will cherish for a lifetime. As I have said I love history and being in a place were our Christian ancestors were gives a person connection to the past. As I entered the church it was soon to be time for the afternoon service. I went up to the very front and knelt in the prayer area. Next to me were two ladies and a man, friends who had hiked to Lindisfarne. For them this was a spiritual pilgrimage and as we know it is the journey that counts.

The service started and we went through the set Anglican prayers. Yep, I know I’m a Baptist boy, and I loved every minute of it. We sang hymns, prayed, read scripture. I do enjoy liturgy. As we went through the service I was struck by how the centuries pass. GOD is absolutely timeless both in nature and being. Here I was praying in a place Christian’s have been praying for over a thousand years. I was awe struck with a sense of wonder at our GOD.

Once the service had ended I decided to get something to eat. The best place for good cheap meals in England is the local pub. It is also a place were you can meet local people. So I walked down the street and came to the local public house. There were a few people in the place and I went to the bar and ordered. Yep, it was cod and chips. I can’t get good seafood in the Midwest of America, so I over indulge when I am back home.

My cod and chips arrived in a timely manner, despite a few green peas who made a bid for freedom rolling away from my plate. Their hopes were crushed as I caught them with my knife and returned them to the plate. Next to me was an elderly couple who every year visit the island. They enjoy the peace and solitude. We got into a conversation about the GOD of Aidan. This led to a wonderful time of sharing the gospel.

In the pub I asked a resident what they liked about the island, their answer was “in the summer the tourists get annoying, but when the tide comes in your on your own. It feels like you are in your own country”. I suppose this is what island living is all about.

I returned to my car and began to drive off of the island. I stopped at the beach to pick up a few seashells, smell the sea air and think about when I would next return. Here are a few websites you might find interesting about Lindisfarne.

Community of Aidan and Hilda:

Phil & Sue said...

So nice to read Mike's comments. Sue and I dropped into Lindisfarne on one when visiting the old dart and loved it. Saw and experienced mush what Mike did including the Pub.
On the day after we visited Lindisfarne and then the great wall, we dropped in on Duram Cathedral and in their history display learned more of the early evangelists work in UK.