Beloved People of St. Martin’s,
It was wonderful to be back among you after three weeks apart. I am so grateful to have been able to go on pilgrimage to Iona, a place I had longed to visit for years, a place where even the light is different.
Part of Iona’s gift to the pilgrim and the seeker is a palpable sense of time slowing down, of light diffusing and radiating from the very stones and hillsides. Thanks to the leadership of the Rev. Susie Skinner, each day began with prayer, individually and then as a group, literally grounding each day’s hike or travel in a firm sense of community and purpose. At night, we would have time for reflection and fellowship followed by a wonderful dinner together. I then slept with the windows open each night, and when the wind was right, you could hear the susurration of the waves chanting the name of the island, a running prayer to the God of the Running Wave, one of the lyrical names for the Creator in the prayers of the Celtic people often say.
Iona is a holy place in its very bones, but it is made even more holy by the holy people who have been drawn there throughout the centuries, including now. The work of the Iona Community is one of ecumenical partnership. Deeply rooted in a life or prayer and gratitude, members of the community are strengthened to direct their gaze outward, into the hurting places of the world, working for justice, freedom, and true peace founded on empathy and integrity.
I was deeply moved when I saw this poster as a centerpiece of a display about the work of the Iona Community in the world—it’s one of my favorite verses in scripture, summing up for me a life of integrity as a disciple and seeker of God’s grace.
Holy places are to be treasured, for they nurture our spirits for the work we have been entrusted by God. I am grateful and indeed blessed, as I remember and give thanks for the 2nd anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood this Saturday, to be among you in this holy place, for that is what St. Martin’s is. May we join together in this holy work here in this place, sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit that calls us into community, no matter where we are.