Some of the oldest rock on the face of the earth is on the Isle of Iona. While the island is only a mile and half wide and three plus miles long it has been known for the last 1,500 years as a thin place between heaven and earth. From the earliest histories we have of the island, it is a place where humans and God have encountered each other in a special way. These encounters have been in the form of monastic experiences and worship in community. Some of the encounters are found in the landscape of the island. Whether these are on the beaches of the island or in highlands and swamps that cover the island, each environment provides a window, an opportunity, for an individual to gather new insights about how God’s will can be done on earth like it is in heaven.
Bruce and I will be spending the month of October on the Isle of Iona. This is the final part of a three-month sabbatical. We will be living in a cottage about a half mile outside of the village. There will be times to worship with the Iona Abbey Community, and at Bishop House, the Scottish’s Episcopal Church retreat House. There will be times for quiet reflection and reading. Also, time for hiking all the various parts of the island.
As preparation for the month, I am reading Richard J. Woods book, The Spirituality of Celtic Saints. He writes about the enduring Celtic issues of social justice, the place women have in Celtic life and spirituality, and the ecology and the value of the natural environment. Surprisingly, he also addresses the dual characteristics of the art of blessing and and cursing in the Celtic tradition.
I look forward to the Isle of Iona being a thin place for me during the month of October and sharing some of my experiences with all of you when I return.