Aidan was slowly tracing a pattern of Celtic knot work, and thinking leisurely of what had been. So many lives and cultures had crossed and inter-related. There was no Scot, Pict or Celt, no Angle or Saxon; all were one in Christ. Christ had broken down the barriers that divided them. In Christ the nation was becoming more united. Even this artwork was deeply influenced by the exchange of cultures. The illumination of the Gospels coming out of the scriptorium was a blend of Celtic and Anglican or Saxon. They had greatly enriched each other. The movement from hostility to hospitality was enriching all. . .
|Design influenced by illustration in the Lindisfarne Gospels |
Aidan traced a few of the ups and downs of the knot work pattern. How like life it was, full of ups and downs, ins and outs, light and darkness. The pattern rose and fell, was open then went under and was hidden, again reflecting the openness and the hidden in our lives. ‘That Christ may walk with us in the dark places and give us His light’ – Aidan’s heart ached with the love he had for these people. . .
As his fingers rose on the pattern, he thought of all the good things that had happened. . . More and more people were committing themselves to the religious life. More and more were seeing it as a heroic way to serve God. It was not an escape from the world but a deeper immersion into it. New communities were having to be built, new places of learning and new churches. . .
Aidan’s finger followed the pattern where it dipped under. He remembered that there was still much tyranny and violence, too many people still lived by the sword. . . The yellow plague was also ravaging parts of the kingdom, . . . in some areas whole villages were being wiped out. . .
Aidan’s hand had wandered on to the next dip in the pattern. The queen was insisting on keeping a chaplain from Kent and on keeping the continental reckoning of Easter. This could make things difficult at the palace. It would be absurd to keep two Easters, or for the king to have Easter and the queen to still be in Lent. . . They would obviously have to have a Synod to resolve these matters. . .
This extract is taken from 'Flame of the Heart' by David Adam and is reproduced by kind permission of SPCK. You can find the book here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flame-Heart-St-Aidan-Today/dp/0281050333.