This Friday will see me leaving on a jet plane for the homeland. For two weeks I will be traveling, studying, and playing (yes, maybe some golf) across Scotland with two good friends (who also happen to be Associate Pastors!). The first week of my trip is the one I am perhaps the most excited about. I will be staying at the Iona Abbey – a place George MacLeod (the founder of the Iona Community) described as “thin" – where only a tissue paper separating the material from the spiritual.
As I prepare to head off to this exciting place and experience, I want to share some of what I know about this place and this pilgrimage. Iona is a tiny and island off the west coast of Scotland and is considered the cradle of Christianity in Scotland. In 563AD the Irish monk Columba established a monastic settlement that evangelized large parts of Scotland and the north of England. Over the centuries, this “thin place” has attracted many spiritual pilgrims.
The Abbey is now under the care of Historic Scotland and the Iona Community – an international network who live by common Rule and share common interests – is the worshipful presence there. Year round workshops, pilgrimages, and retreat weeks are offered.
Some of you may be familiar with the Iona Abbey and Community because of the worship materials that come from there. We have sung songs and prayed prayers published by Wild Goose Publications, the Community’s publishing company. Part of why I am so excited about this experience is due to the opportunity to be where such beautiful worship materials have been inspired.
As I travel to this beautiful place, our church family will be much on my mind and I hope I will be on yours. I do not know what this week at the Abbey will hold for me, but I do know whatever I glean from this “thin place,” I will look forward greatly to sharing with my family in Christ.