First off, please pray for Stuart Gilmour. We received a phone call from Graeme while we were traveling yesterday that Stuart broke his jaw in two places on Monday night while playing football (soccer). He was taken to the hospital that night and had surgery yesterday. I have yet to hear how the surgery went. Please be praying for Stuart's healing and attitude, Linsey as she cares for him, Graeme and Steven as they encourage and support the couple. Pray especially that this would not dissuade them from moving forward in what God is calling them to do in building Christian community in Scotland.
We arrived safely and without incident on the Isle of Iona yesterday afternoon. I mention the travel because to get to Iona takes traveling 3 hours by train, a 45 minute ferry ride, an hour bus ride across the Isle of Mull, and then a 10 minute ferry ride to the island. But everything went well and I was awe-struck again by the beauty of Scotland as we passed by lochs (lakes), mountains (foothills to people who live in CO), forests, and fields and fields of verdant green, speckled with yellow, white, and purple flowers. Ah! It is absolutely gorgeous!
Today is our day of silence & solitude which has been awesome for me so far: I went to the service at the Abbey where I was brought to tears by the way they sing 'All Creatures of Our God and King' as well as the liturgy we read together.
Wandering the Abbey afterwards was just so peaceful and inspiring to read and meditate on our brothers and sisters of the faith who went before, from St. Columba and his successors, to the Benedictines who restored the Abbey in 1200, to the founder of the Iona Community who restored the Abbey to it's current state as evidence of his desire to call Scotland back to Jesus.
I went to the Abbey Museum which I haven't visited since my first time here in 2008. I was astonished by how much they have improved it! It now tells a cohesive, chronological story of the life of the Abbey and Iona from which I learned so much!
After the Abbey, I climbed Dun I (pronounced 'dune ee') which is the highest point of the island and from which you can see the entire island, back to Mull, and out across the ocean. To say it is beautiful is ineffective. It is... I don't know, awe-inspiring, wonder-full, yes, all of this and more. Standing on Dun I, I realize God's love for me and the world and I feel the peace of knowing the His love will triumph over all.
I prayed, I sang, and listened, and cried. God is overwhelming on this island. I don't actually remember how I found it, I believe one of the volunteers at the Mission told me about it and I looked into it, but I don't remember who or any specific details about it. But I know it was inspired and I am so incredibly grateful. Walking onto the island from the ferry, I can feel worries and cares draining off of me. As we walked to the cottage we are staying at this time, I felt God's peace slowly filling me as I entered into it. The early Celtic Christians talk about 'thin places' where the barrier between the spiritual and physical is thinner than other places. This is truly a thin place!
And the final thing that makes me dumbfounded in my joy and thankfulness is that this year, I get to share this experience with Tina! I knew she would love it from the first time I brought a team here in 2008 before we were even dating. It's so awesome that God has provided us the opportunity to be here together and share in the peace and beauty He lavishes upon this place!
Please pray for our team as we seek God today, that we would be open to Him and what He desires to speak to us and show us, pray against any thing that would distract us, and pray for safe and uneventful passage back to Glasgow tomorrow.
Thanks so much for reading!