Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Aidan of Lindisfarne *


Leave me alone with God as much as may be as the tide draws the waters close in upon the shore. Make me an island, set apart, alone with you, God, holy to you. Then with the turning of the tide prepare me to carry your presence to the busy world beyond, the world that rushes in on me till the waters come again and fold me back to you.

( Aidan of Lindisfarne, c590-651 )


Praise the Lord for great Saint Aidan inspiration to us all;
in the presence of our Saviour his example we recall;
life of service to the needy gentleness and kindly love,
living witness to the gospel, honoured here and crowned above.

How we long to share his story, faithful in response to grace,
sign of God's eternal presence in the realm of time and space.
Now his pilgrimage completed cross of Christ his only boast,
he unites his own rejoicing with the great angelic host.

Hail Saint Aidan now in glory robed before the Saviour's face,
here we claim your intercession on your feast and in this place.
May the spirit bring us wisdom, courage and integrity.
Pray that we may share your passion for the truth that sets us free.

Praise and honour to the Father, adoration to the Son,
with the all-embracing Spirit wholly three and holy one.
All the universe, united in complete diversity,
sings as one of your endless praises, ever blessed Trinity.

( Saint Aidan's, Little Chalfont )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Aidan of Lindisfarne: monk and missionary

The tale of the spread of Christianity in England is, initially, a tale of two forms of Christianity struggling to establish themselves. Pope Gregory had sent Roman bishop, Augustine, to England, at the turn of the seventh century, to organise the church and spread the Gospel along Roman lines: a church centred around bishops and clergy, headquartered in Canterbury. Another form of Christianity predated this: a Celtic form of Christianity, based around monasteries and the labours of monks. It was less regimented and hierarchical than its Roman cousin.

The Gospel first came to the north of England in 627, when King Edwin of Northumbria was converted by a mission from Canterbury led by Bishop Paulinus, who established his headquarters at York. Edwin's death in battle in 632 was followed by a severe pagan reaction. A year later, Edwin's exiled nephew Oswald gained the kingdom and proceeded at once to restore the Christian mission.

During his exile, Oswald had lived at Columba's Celtic monastery of Iona, where he had been converted and baptised. Hence he sent to Iona, rather than to Canterbury, for missionaries. Thereupon Aidan was sent out to northern England. He centred his work, not at York, but in imitation of his home monastery, on Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England, not far south of the Scottish border, now often called simply Holy Island. It is a tidal island or semi-island.

With his fellow monks and the English youths whom he trained, Aidan restored Christianity in Northumbria, King Oswald often serving as his interpreter, and extended the mission through the Midlands as far south as London.

Aidan died at the royal town of Bamborough on the thirty-first of August, 651.

The Venerable Bede had written of him: "He neither 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. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever on his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, he sought to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works."

Scripture. In the third chapter of "Philippians," verses thirteen and fourteen, we read:

Forgetting what lies behind, and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... that the Celtic practice of the Christian faith may continue to be a balancing influence on the Church throughout the world, calling it away from its obsession with power, wealth and hierarchy to a more simple, Christ-centred, missionary life attuned to the eternal and unsurpassable love of the Holy Trinity.

... for those who live and work on Lindisfarne.

... for pilgrims to Lindisfarne and Bamborough, that their journey may bring them closer to God and his kingdom.

... for the people of Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia and Trinidad and Tobago who celebrate their national days today.

... for those who are in pain following surgery.

... for the dolphin, penguins and fish abandoned in a derelict aquarium in Japan and for the success of those trying to rescue them. DETAILS

... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.


"An Irish Monk on Lindisfarne about 650AD" by Gael Turnbull, 1928-2004:

A hesitation of the tide
betrays this island, daily.

On Iona, at dusk
(ago, how long ago?)
often (did it happen?)
I saw the Lord walking
in the surf amidst the gulls,
calling, "Come. Have joy in Me."

Yes, with these eyes.

Now, on strange rocks
(faintly through the wall)
echoing, the same sea roars.

Detail is my toil.
In chapel, verse by verse —
in the kitchen, loaf by loaf -
with my pen, word by word —

by imitation,

The patience of the bricklayer
is assumed in the dream of the architect.


On the road coming, five days' travel, a Pict woman
(big mouth and small bones) gave me shelter, and
laughed (part scorn, part pity) at my journey. "What do
you hope for, even if you get there, that you couldn’t
have had twice over in Ireland?"

Then I told her of the darkness amongst the barbarians,
and of the great light in the monasteries at home, and
she replied, "Will they thank you for that, you so young
and naive, and why should you go, you out of so

I said that I heard a voice calling, and she said, "So men
dream, are unsatisfied, wear their legs out with walking,
and you scarcely a boy out of school."

So she laughed, and I leaned my head on my hands,
feeling the thickness of dust in each palm.

Then she told me there was not another of her race left
in that valley, not one, nothing left. "And all in three
generations. Once even Rome feared us. Now my
children are mongrels. And my husband has left me.
No matter. Or great matter. I am still a Pict."

Then she fed me, put herbs on my feet, wished me well,
and I blessed her but she said, "Save that for yourself;
you will need it, when your heart turns rancid, and your
joints begin to stiffen on the foreign roads. Remember
me, when you come, returning."

So she mocked; and sometimes, even now, ten years later,
I hear it as I waken (receding in a dream), that laughter,
broad, without malice.


in the mind, still there,
— devout green hills
— intimate peat smoke
— a cow-bell beseeching
— warm fleece in my bed
~ fresh water, fresh, a brook

- rain clouds like beggars’ rags
- stench of burned weed
— fret of the chain-mail sea
- hard knees on cold stone
— dry saliva, salt fish

The gulls cry:
— believe
— achieve

The bells reply:
- some
- some

At the lowest ebb
you can leave dryshod
this fitful island.


O loving God, who called your servant Aidan 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 our gifts to share your gospel in both word and deed, through Jesus Christ; our saviour and lord. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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