Today is the feast day of St. Columba. Traditionally, many Lutherans haven’t done much with feast days, but the more I learn, the more I yearn for what they promise: inspiration, enrichment for our spiritual lives, and a way to learn about heroes of faith.
Some credit Columba, an Irish Christian, with spreading Christianity to Scotland. He also helped spread literacy and founded a school for missionaries. He’s associated with Iona, that thin place in Scotland that remains an important force in Christianity today. Some of the most exciting music and liturgy of our time comes to us from Iona.
But there’s more to the story. St. Columba had to leave Ireland because of a dispute with another monk that led to a battle in which many were killed. Instead of being excommunicated, Columba was made to serve as a missionary to Scotland. At that time, Scotland was a fierce and scary place. But Columba sailed off with his supporters and managed to turn punishment and exile into something positive. It’s a message most of us need to hear, that out of ashes can come new life.
This message is excerpted from “The holy month of June” by Kristin Berkey-Abbott in the June 2019 Gather magazine. Today we commemorate Columba, 597; Aidan, 651; Bede, 735; renewers of the church.
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