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Showing posts from June, 2014

St Columba

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I like to think that Columba was a Scottish saint. But he wasn't. He was Irish. His Irish name was Columcille. I like to think that the island of Iona near Mull off the west coast off Scotland where he founded an abbey was Scottish, but it wasn't. It was Irish territory and populated by Irish Gaels in Columba's day (521 - 597 A.D.) It's part of Scotland now. 

I've visited Iona twice and have only ever seen it in bright warm sunshine. The beaches have beautiful white sand and the rebuilt abbey and the whole island is a peaceful place.

It is said that Columba had to leave the Irish mainland under a bit of a cloud. According to tradition, as an abbott he was involved in a quarrel with Finian, the abbott of Movilla Abbey.  Columba had visited him and copied the manuscript of a Psalter held in Movilla Abbey, intending to keep it. St Finian disputed his right to keep it - and that's how the quarrel started. This led to a battle with many deaths - probably the first bat…

Pentecost 2014

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I've never visited St Michael's parish church in Linlithgow, but now I've seen this image of its stained glass window, I want to go there. It represents the Day of Pentecost story from Acts 2 and really does seem to convey the 'Wow' factor of that momentous occasion that gave birth to the infant church in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. "When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability." (Acts 2: 1 - 4 NRSV)
The problem with hearing or reading a story like this, that is very familiar to Christians, can be that we freeze-frame it, box it in to a particular time and place and so not see how that story connects w…