The Holy Island
THE sky was slate grey.
The wind was strong and the air was filled with the calls of curlew and sandpipers.
Across the broad, flat sands of the bay sea birds scurried.
She took off her boots and put on sandals.
Then she set off across the sands to follow the line of tall poles that marked the ancient pilgrim route to the holy island.
This was a special place, holy and remote, and she felt that she needed to come upon it slowly, to get out of the modern desire for speed, for instant gratification.
She had come for a day to drink at this well-spring of faith, to sit in the ruins of the old monastery and reach out to touch the past made alive by the prayers of countless pilgrims, to join in worship in the living church and feel the privilege of being part of the continuing legacy of this bright beacon of faith.
After the church service she sat on a great slab of rock and she looked out over the sea.
She, like many others, thought of faith as coming in various levels of intensity.
The great martyrs and saints are at the top having most faith, then the intensity descends through the ranks of the faithful to those like her who always felt that they needed more faith.
In the service, however, she had been reminded that Jesus himself would have none of this.
He said that we do not need to be forever seeking more faith, we just need faith – but we also need to accept the discipline of the servant so that our faith can truly direct our actions.
And she understood that, with discipline, faith can become more focused, more useful.
She saw that in faith we really can move mountains – the mountains of inequality and unfairness that blight the world.
By this time the tide had come roaring in and the pilgrim route across the sand was under water.
So she stayed until the early evening and allowed the place to soak into her soul.