I am reading a book written by a friend, Ray Simpson, it is called Aidan of Lindisfarne. Ray had been hoping to write a Celtic novel for many years and it was finally published a few years ago.
It is about one of the early Celtic missionaries from Iona to England. In the book Ray retells and imagines Aidan picking a team and getting ready to reach out to people of Northumbria. I am really enjoying the joining and engagement of the historical story with Ray’s knowledge and values of the times. This is one part that particularly struck me:
Spiritual reasons for choosing this different route came more from intuition than logic. Aidan recognised the warriors lost battles because they did not know the enemy, or did not prepare thoroughly, or were outnumbered, outmaneuvered or divided amongst themselves. Was it like this with spiritual initiatives? From his childhood days a new that those who became monks were also known as soldiers of Christ, and that all Christians were supposed to overcome evil with good. But no one… had explained the skills of a spiritual warrior. [Two of them] went off to train as warriors: how did soldiers of Christ train? The brothers did learnt disciplines of body, mind and soul. They learn to pray, to think, to befriend, to create – but was there something more to do with the unseen forces of good and evil? p. 90
This week I am teaching on ministerial formation and hope to share and explore some of these concepts, practical ideas of how we can be God’s skilled servants, to fulfill the tasks and roles God has for us. What can we learn to do, skills, knowledge etc, to build upon what God has already given and made us to be?
Aidan of Lindisfarne, Ray Simpson, Resource Publications 2014