Reflections from the Iona Pilgrimage 2013

Come with anticipation but no expectationIMG_1062

Traverse rocks travelled for centuries

Kneel before a Celtic cross

Pray in an ancient abbey and a tiny chapel

Move among graves of those who have knelt in prayer

Allow the “thin place” to surprise you

Knowing the destination is in the journey

 

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IMG_0770Simply be

As cows chew cud on wind swept pastures

young lambs climb rocky paths

seagulls fly overhead, corncrakes sound their “krek-krek”

Become one with God and creation

 

 

Rocky coastlines, fog and rain, more than 50 shades of grey, charming accents, snowcapped mountains, turquoise waters, ferries, holy spaces, ancient stones, paths trod by centuries of other pilgrims, gourmet food and the quiet rhythm of prayer, ocean waves, walking and self-care …  essential elements of the Iona pilgrimage – and well worth the price!

The gift of time and space in which to encounter God  and hear answers to questions I didn’t know my heart was asking – priceless.

The trip far exceeded anything I envisioned.

Grateful to all the Confluence staff who, seamlessly, made it happen.

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IMG_0833As varied as the Iona stones

are we

Yet as the stones one beach make

So we, united in the quest

for the God of earth and sky and sea

One body make

One Body break

 

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Pilgrimages were very popular in the Middle Ages but fell out of favor with the Reformation. Today people are re-learning the value of pilgrimage and they go for a variety of reasons: to mark a moment in time, to find direction, to remember the importance of faith and focus more intentionally on it, etc. Iona is a place of pilgrimage, and when you stand on the dirt and stone of Iona, its inherent holiness goes straight to the bone. You become part of something that has inspired and called many. It is indeed a holy land, a place of grace.

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“A week I’ll never forget!”

Abby Nave and Altar

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As we leave the island I hope I will be able to remember the peacefulness that is here. The people in the Iona Community call this a “thin place,” one where the distance between heaven and earth is thin. Perhaps the peacefulness I feel is the same as the thinness they describe.

 

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