The last day of ‘formal’ class dawned bright and clear. To be honest, there has hardly been anything ‘formal’ about our studies this week. Our little hodge podge of Kiwis, Scots, Canucks, Americans and English have enjoyed a delightful week together looking at the roots, story, and style of Celtic mission.
After writing about Thursday’s experiences, I walked again past the ruins of the old Benedictine Monastery (which replaced the buildings and Celtic monastic site some time after the Norman Conquest of 1066, four centuries later). I took more photos of the local scene (which can be found at www.facebook.com/timothy.c.aho), several of which I thought turned out very well. The serendipitous slo-mo video of the bumblebee was a highlight!
Olive led the final session, helping us to reflect on ‘Spirituality to Go’ which also happens to be the title of a book she wrote a few years ago. Essentially, as the Celtic Christians, integrating prayer intentionally into the warp and woof of life. This is the question I wrote to myself, “What daily practices do I have that can become spiritual practices because of what prayer or posture I add to it?”
We concluded with communion together, and then each of us was given a large piece of matzos (unleavened cracker). We were to go to each of our classmates, break off a piece, and say something to that person about what we had observed, enjoyed, or been challenged by in him or her. I wish I had been able to record or video this! The little groups of two gathered to speak to one another: laughter, tears, smiles of encouragement. I can only say that it was deeply affirming.
And then it was gear on, motorbike started, and off Holy Island! I headed for Bamburgh (the view of the castle as one comes into the town is amazing!) and took the coastal route south for an hour before heading inland toward the Northumberland National Park – and a short stop to see Hadrian’s Wall. Making my way south, I went through the stupendous and barren beauty of the Fells, north of the Yorkshire Dales.
I wasn’t able to go through the Dales again because I had to make my way to Leeds and our friend Hirpo. Meeting him and son Mattiel, we drove to the home of the current leader of Emmanuel Christian Fellowship, to whom Hirpo handed over leadership after planting the church. I have got to write down their names, because they are Amharic, I cannot wrap my head around the spellings! I certainly could wrap my mouth around the curry and rice I was served and the warm cups of coffee and the hospitality I received!