It’s Aidan’s Day and whilst Shirley and I will be away at a family wedding in Altrincham, my thoughts will focus at times throughout the day on one of my favourite Celtic saints. It was back in 1975 that I encountered God so powerfully on the beach at Bamburgh on the Northumbrian coast, an experience that witnessed my response to His calling me to ministry. Five years later and under the shadow of St. Aidan’s statue on Holy island I prayed and was later the same day ordained into the Baptist Ministry at Berwick upon Tweed. It will come therefore as no surprise to those of you who read this blog that Bamburgh, Holy Island, the Cheviots, Berwick and Northumbria hold a very special place in my heart. It’s not only the place of past calling but present inspiration. When we responded years ago as a Community, to walk again the ancient paths, repair the broken altars, restore the ruins and raise up the foundations of many generations, it was to Northumbria and Ireland that a few of us journeyed, prayed, waited, watched and worked.
In celebrating Aidan’s Day I will pause to give thanks to God for godly, gentle and peaceable forefathers, like Aidan who paved the way for us now, who laid down a spiritual legacy that we are able to inherit and release. The same Spirit that touched their lives and transformed European culture is the same Spirit at work among us. The same torch of the gospel needs carrying for the love of God today, beyond the walls of the church, out into a changing, turbulent and challenging world needing God’s wisdom and grace, compassion and justice.
I have just contributed to the Overseers Report for our Trustees who are meeting this weekend. What would I say to the wider Community on this saint’s day? In the words of the great saint himself;
Love God and Live Generously.
Have a blessed and meaningful day.