Readings for Cuthbert of Lindisfarne, Bishop and Missionary (20 Mar 687)
“May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.” (Psalm 104:34)
I meditate. As a spiritual companion I encourage meditation to all who sit in consultation with me. I also encourage journaling. Many of my spiritual companions express an aversion to journaling. I’m still working on them. Today we remember Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. What I know of him comes from James Kiefer as reported www.satucket.com/lectionary/Cuthbert.htm.
It seems Cuthbert, like many monastic religious, really preferred the life of prayer and solitude with meditation. But it was not to be for Cuthbert. And I must say, almost every religious person that I have studied reached a point where they had to engage the community in which they lived for the spiritual and physical health of that same community. “Although his real preference was for the solitary life of a hermit, he recognized a duty to minister to the needs of the people about him.” (Kiefer)
Cuthbert had somewhat a gift for negotiations. And although he had grown up in a system that was being phased out he assisted in the transitioning of his worship culture into the tradition of Rome. “Although Cuthbert had been brought up in the Celtic customs, he accepted the decrees of the Synod of Whitby in 663, which committed the English Church to following instead the Roman customs that had been introduced into Canterbury by Augustine, and so he helped to minimize contention over the decision.” (Kiefer)
Another request I ask my spiritual companions to do regularly is to pray. And as they come to see me I inquire of the prayer life. I don’t want to know the content of their time with God just that they did and how was it for them. Soon they realize that the line between prayer and meditation diminishes. Finally they realize that some prayer is made manifest in meditation and it is to the glory of God that they are thankful for and to whom they give glory to like the Psalmist says, “May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.”
Cuthbert served the people faithfully as best he could often traveling great distances to do the will of God. It did not go unnoticed. “Theodore, the Archbishop of Canterbury, made Cuthbert Bishop of Hexham, but he was a solitary by nature, and promptly exchanged bishoprics with Eata so as to remain at Lindisfarne. After two years, he retired to the neighboring island of Farne as a hermit, and died there the following year.” (Kiefer)
None of us knows where we will end up as we do the work God has given us to do. The only thing we can do is to do such work to the best of our abilities with a prayer in our hearts and on our lips thanking God for the opportunity to do it. Cuthbert demonstrated the gift of walking people into new ways of worshiping and serving God and making them feel welcome in that new way to worship and serve. The truth is, we are all evolving spiritually. In two minutes, two hours, two days, two weeks, two months or two years, you could be a whole new spiritual person. Ask Paul.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” John Thomas Frazier Sr. mat1