Photos and Writing by Carol Dixon
Featured photo: Cuthbert’s Isle, Lindisfarne
Opening Prayer (David Adam Tides & Seasons)
Thanks be to the Father, I arise today,
He gives me light, he guides my way.
Thanks be to the Savour, I arise today,
He gives me love, he hears me pray.
Thanks be to the Spirit, I arise today,
He gives me life, with me to stay.
Song: Cuthbert’s Isle (Tune: Whittingham Fair -trad)
1. Behold the beauty of our God,
in vast expanse of sea and sky,
in bobbing seal and cuddy duck,
in tern and puffin’s raucous cry.
2. We sense the imprint in the sand
Aidan and Cuthbert’s feet once trod,
upon their daily pilgrimage
to draw them closer still to God.
3. We catch the whisper of their prayers
in gusts of wind on rippling dunes,
and lapping waves on Cuthbert’s Isle
dance to creation’s joyful tunes.
4. We learn to praise the living God
in service and in solitude,
and draw aside from teeming throng
to work and pray for greater good.
5. The Spirit wings across the air
to touch us with God’s kiss of peace,
and so renewed in heart and mind
our love for all will never cease.
6. All glory be to Christ our strength,
safe haven of the Father’s love,
and praise to God the three in one,
from saints below and saints above.
© Carol Dixon
Carol’s comment: I sang this in Alnwick Castle Guest Hall for the pilgrims travelling from Canterbury to Iona commemorating the 800th anniversary of St Augustine and St Columba in 1997. A wonderful occasion and a great privilege.
Thoughts on St. Cuthbert (from David Adam’s Walking the edges)
In Cuthbert we see someone who has “tuned the five stringed harp”, the human senses, until they vibrate with what is going on around him. When people are insensitive to the mysteries and wonders of life, to the wonderful world or to people, they are not open to the glories of God, which are about them. The more open we become to God, the more open we are to his creation: the more open we are to creation, the more open we become to God.
Cuthbert saw through the false divisions we make between heaven and earth, God and ourselves, other people and ourselves. Cuthbert was aware of a unity of creation that we have become insensitive to, though the modern world is learning once again that nothing stands alone, all things are in unity with other parts of God’s Universe. Heaven is woven into our world, and is here and now. A world viewed with this insight gives us a vision of a world that is ablaze with the glory of God.
We need to reawaken our senses so that they will react to the depth and wonders of the world about us. Too often we have taken a closed-circuit attitude that will not let anything enter that is strange or challenging. We seek to be in control and in so doing limit our vision, our senses and our experiences. The world we live in has many levels and is multidimensional and yet we often opt for a narrow view with a tightly controlled environment.
Lord, open my eyes to the wonder of the world
and your presence within it.
Lord open my ears to the calls of creation
and to your voice, quiet and near.
Lord open my heart to the love of others
and to your love, close and real.
Lord open each sense and make me aware
of the wonder and beauty always there.
A time of reflection
In our imaginations let’s go on a pilgrimage around the island, and at each ‘station’ for prayer-
Beginning at St. Cuthbert’s Church
A prayer from St Cuthbert’s
From the expansiveness of the skies – to the feathers of the sparrow
from the rhythm of the waves – to the falling of the leaves
from the undulating horizon – to the journey of the sands
the Spirit calls us to observe – the constancy of change
the intricacies of creation, the complexities of life
to be -at one with ourselves
with all that is around us – and with the Divine
to inhabit spaces – where clamour is calmed
questions paused, souls are fed
at home – with change
with rebirth, and with hope
©️ Rachel Poolman, URC minister St Cuthbert’s, Holy Island
Statue of Cuthbert….
Collect for St Cuthbert’s Day
who called your servant Cuthbert from following the flock
to follow your Son and to be a shepherd of your people:
in your mercy, grant that we, following his example,
may bring those who are lost home to your fold;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
St Mary’s Church from the Heugh
A prayer from St Mary’s
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
That we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name,
Trough Christ our Lord. Amen.
As we contemplate your Cross
And think of the sacrifices of islanders
Who gave their lives for others
In the name of peace,
We offer you our prayers, Lord God
For peace in our world today. © Carol Dixon
A safe harbour prayer
Lord of earth, ocean and sky, you rule the mighty deep,
your loving hands reach the uttermost part of the sea,
even in rough waters your hand will lead me,
your strong hand will uphold me.
You are my compass, my lighthouse,
my safe haven in the storm,
your grace surpasses the mightiest wave,
protects me in raging winds and treacherous billows!
May your peace keep me whole – spirit, soul and body,
until you come and take me home.
May your Spirit guide me, into your save harbour,
My Redeemer and Lord. Amen. [adptd From The Lutheran Book Of Prayer (1951)]
St Aidan’s Church…..
A voyagers prayer
As St Aidan approached this Holy Isle in a small boat,
travelling in faith and hope, with a vision of discovering
new ways to share your name, Lord Jesus,
and bring your word of hope and love to those in darkness,
may we be open to new opportunities to travel forth in faith
and reach out to those who live in darkness in our world today. © Carol Dixon
Ending at Statue of Aidan….
St. Aidan’s prayer
Leave me alone with God as much as may be.
As the tide draws the waters close upon the shore,
Make me an island, set apart, alone with you,God, holy to you.
Then with the turning of the tide
Prepare me to carry your presence
to the busy world beyond, the world that rushes in on me,
till the waters come again and fold me back to you.
Song: Cuthbert (Tune: Sussex Carol )
St Cuthbert, humble shepherd saint
and hermit on the inner Farne,
who lived a simple life of faith,
praised God, and kept his folk from harm.
On Holy Island he worked and prayed
that all might come to God and be saved.
He blessed the cuddy ducks and seals,
and priests and pilgrims called him friend.
The poor and needy sought him out,
for help and hope, their lives to mend,
learned to set time apart to pray,
care for others and follow Christ’s way.
(Optional last verse)
Still in St Cuthbert’s Church today,
Folk dedicate their lives again,
And strangers come to feel at home
So all are welcomed in Christ’s name.
Praise God for saints who served of old!
May we who serve today be as bold!
© Carol Dixon 2014
Based on St Cuthbert’s Holy Island Mission Statement
We follow the example of St Cuthbert by offering: A place to be apart with God, A simple hospitable welcome, A place of prayer & renewal, A place where strangers feel at home.
May God who guided St Cuthbert throughout his life
Be with us today and always. Amen.
In the last few days of his life, Jesus moved from garden to garden from suffering to resurrection.
Join Christine Sine for a Lent retreat that reflects on this journey and prepares for the challenging week that follows Palm Sunday.