Holy Island wind

It is always with you – even when you get out of it you are conscious of its absence and that shelter is only temporary.

It is at your back and in your face.

Lord, where can I go to escape your presence?

And it resists being easily sermonised into a trite metaphor for the breath of God’s Spirit. As days pass there is nothing refreshing about it, it is brutal and harsh and unceasing – it batters you and screams at you – it drives you to seek shelter – it always wins.

Cuthbert saw some monks in trouble at sea – a crowd of amused peasants were enjoying the spectacle. Cuthbert knelt and prayed. The wind abated, the monks were safe.

Aidan saw king Penda besieging Bamburgh – setting a fire to burn out king Oswin. Aidan prayed and the wind changed and smoked Penda away, tail between his legs.

It is surely no coincidence that controlling the wind should be part of Aidan and Cuthbert’s prayer life.

After all, Jesus did it and was amazed that the disciples had so little faith as not to be able to.

Holy Island castle has a magnificent wind-indicator attached by elaborate mechanisms to a weather vane.

It can tell you which way the wind is blowing before you go outside – it is a marvel of human ingenuity.

But it cannot change the wind…

Cuthbert was in touch with a higher, untamed and uncontrollable power – and as he prayed – amazing things happened.

O God, Who calms the sea and tames the wind, may I not be tempted to offer a tame and controllable version of you – but to embrace wind and wave – sign of your immovable power and glory.


Kingsteignton Chapel

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