On a recent holiday to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne I was reminded that the Celtic Christians called holy sites ‘thin places’. These are places where the distance between heaven and earth seems to collapse. Lindisfarne is known as the Cradle of Christianity because of its association with Saint Aidan and St Cuthbert. It is certainly a very beautiful place and reflecting on its Christian heritage gives it a special feel.
A Time Of Remembering
We are in a period that the Church knows as All Saints to Advent. It is a time of remembering. Being a Christian is not a solitary exercise but through our baptism we become members of a community whose belonging together transcends death. As we have celebrated All Saints Day, and the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed on All Souls Day, we have acknowledged our mutual belonging with Christians throughout the ages. Remembrance Sunday helps us to keep alive the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts and war.
This is no morbid preoccupation with the dead but an affirmation that ‘we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses’ (Hebrews 12:1). The services we have shared together over the past weeks have served to become ‘thin places’ to us. As we move towards the season of Advent, perhaps we can spend some time giving thanks for those who have gone before us in the faith of Christ.
Let us remember those who have affected our lives for good and assisted us in our Christian discipleship.
One family we dwell in him,
one Church, above, beneath;
though now divided by the stream,
the narrow stream of death.
Yours in Christ
Canon Keith Farrow