Aidan Bishop of Lindisfarne, 651 | The Rev. Susan E. Hill, Associate Rector

09.1.23 | Celebration, Community, International, Pulpit Posts, World

Aidan was a monk at St. Columba’s monastery on the island of Iona in the seventh century. Upon hearing that a fellow monk had gotten nowhere in preaching the gospel to the northern English, Aidan piped up and opined that perhaps a gentler approach would work. The predictable result was that Aidan soon found himself on the way to Northumbria to evangelize! He was so successful in his mission that Christianity soon spread as far as London.

Perhaps the success of his mission stems at least in part from Aidan practicing what he preached. The historian Bede wrote of Aidan: “He never sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men of the world.”

King Oswin found this out the hard way. He presented Aidan with the gift of an excellent horse, so that he would not have to travel around by foot, as he was accustomed to do. But as soon as Aidan left the palace, he came upon a beggar. He immediately gave the man his new fine horse and happily went back to walking. The king was not pleased ─ he asked Aidan why he gave away the horse that had been particularly selected for him as a gift. Even if he wanted to give a horse to a beggar, he could have asked the king to give away one of his lesser horses.

According to Bede, Aidan replied: “What are you saying, your Majesty? Is this child of a mare more important to you than this child of God?”

May Aiden inspire us to look at our own priorities as well today!

O loving God, who called your servant Aidan from the peace of a cloister to re-establish the Christian mission in northern England, and gave him the gifts of gentleness, simplicity, and strength: Grant that we, following his example, may use what you have given us for the relief of human need, and may persevere in commending the saving Gospel of our Redeemer Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Rev. Susan Hill

Rev. Susan Hill


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