Thursday, September 17, 2015

spirituality of transitions: Lindisfarne

coracle

Today I head to Lindisfarne, Holy Island. It has a rich and deep spiritual history. I went there in 2012 for a time of retreat at a number of significant life junctures. I was in a process of call to be Principal of Uniting College. So the time on Lindisfarne was important in terms of prayer and reflection.

On Holy Island, I encountered another transition. Here is what I wrote -

Inside the church, St Marys, I came across my fathers death. A lifesize sculpture, four men carrying a coffin stands inside the door. It is black, carved in stone. Cold, enduring. It is a confronting moment, facing death. Enclosed within ancient stone walls, it makes the church feel like a tomb.

The moment was more confronting, for my father’s name is Cuthbert. Entering that church, in that retreat of transition, I faced the reality that one day, I would carry my father’s coffin.

So, some four years later, I am returning. I’m wanting to place myself again in that rich and deep history. I go expecting to be prayerful about the ending of one season of being Principal (at Uniting College) and the start of another (at Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership). I go expecting to honour my father, whose name is Cuthbert and to be glad of his ordinary saintliness in my life.

I’m taking Praying Our Goodbyes: A Spiritual Companion Through Life’s Losses and Sorrows by Joyce Rupp. I’ve used this personally at times of transition, including to help me find God when a community I really wanted to work with said no. I’ve used it in ministry, to help communities process farewells and individuals engage with deeply buried grief.

Posted by steve at 06:47 PM

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