Ephesians 1:3 says: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places….
Iona is a heavenly place and it certainly was a blessing to me….
I spent a week here living in community and learning about Iona and its worship and mission.
What can I say?
It was a great week.
What can I say? I saw the Gospel lived out everyday in the wonderful volunteers who offered us extreme hospitality. I saw the Gospel lived out in daily worship at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The perfect way to start and finish my day. The worship was fresh and alive and filled with good songs with great words. It was filled with real liturgy and prayer – no fluff here. We got down to the nitty gritty of living the Gospel.
What can I say? I met great people from all over the world: Africa, India, Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, Scotland, Canada, the U.S. and there were volunteer from many more places. We came from all walks of life and from many different places on our spiritual journeys. It was a blessing to get to know one another and share our journeys and grow together.
We gathered together to talk about worship and how to look at the words of the hymns we like to sing and if we sing what we mean and mean what we sing. We learned some new songs written by members of the community. We had an overview of their most excellent bookstore and the works of Wild Goose publishing – http://www.ionabooks.com/. We took time to ponder how we make decisions about ‘where we are headed’. We took a tour of the Abbey church and heard its history.
We shared wonderful food – many blessings and thanks to their wonderful cook and her cadre of helpers – mostly vegetarian and always yummy.
We shared chores – to help keep us all clean and healthy – and take care of this wonderful place. It helped us to get to know one another as we worked together preparing the dining hall for a meal and each taking part in the cleaning and sweeping and such.
We got to enjoy some wonderful art work – on the walls and in the Abbey.
We had an opportunity to knit for peace.
We had an excellent day to walk 7 miles around the island on a pilgrimage to hear its story and to think about our walk through the wider world and how we can care for it and for the beautiful children of God that God has placed in this world. We were blessed with a sunny day!! The beaches and the sky were beautiful blues. I will have pictures later. We walked together. Helping each other over the difficult bits. Seeing the beautiful wild flowers (some orchids), and the birds, and rocks and rocks and more rocks…on the beaches, the foundation on which we walked, and up into the hills. We stopped and pondered and ate our lunches and later had tea and flapjacks. And I made it to the end. I had foot surgeries on both feet and ankles last year and so it was a goal to be ready to do this walk as a sign of healing and a step into a more healthy life as a I can exercise to the fullest once again. I was very thankful.
I journaled and journaled and journaled some more.
I found quiet places to sit and ponder – from my room that I shared with a wonderful Scottish woman, to the library, and all the various corners of the Abbey church, cloisters, etc.
A wonderful boat trip out to the island of Staffa to see Fingal’s (the giant) cave and the puffins. The puffins come up from the ocean when people come because we keep away the gulls that will attack and kill them. Also saw a pair of oyster catchers (birds) and their two nestlings.
I walked beaches and listened to the ocean waves, saw the tidal pools filled with barnacles, sea anemones, snails and algae.
As we parted we talked about the many ways that we took to arrive at Iona – many of us traveling all day. We decided that it was good because it helped us to prepare for our arrival and the week. And the same as we left – the long journey home gave us time to debrief and transition and it was indeed part of the spiritual experience of the entire week.
Well that is enough for this post…..as the pictures are put onto the computer I will share them and share more of my thoughts of the journey…..
I recommend it highly……