At the beginning of the 7th Century, England was mostly non-Christian. It had received the faith in Roman times but since then, the pagan Anglo-Saxons had invaded and driven out most of the natives and the faith went with them.
At this time, one of the radiant Christian centers was on Iona, a small island off the west coast of Scotland. It was from Iona that the Irish monk Cormac came to evangelize the English. He preached among them for some time without success and returned demoralized, saying that they were “a stubborn, uncivilized people.”
Next, Iona sent Aidan, an apostle with a vision of a land transformed in Christ. From his torch of faith, England caught fire. Within a single lifetime, there were monasteries and bishops established all over England. Here was a man of faith and vision. He saw what needed to be done and did it.
In Aidan time only people with money rode a horse. Aidan used to travel on foot so whenever he passed someone on the road he could turn and speak to them about the faith. One day King Oswin of Northumbria gave him an excellent horse. Soon afterward Aidan met a man begging for alms. He dismounted and gave the horse, complete with its royal trappings, to the beggar.
He was given a chance to be a cut above the people, but he did not take advantage of it for very long. Maybe we need to follow Aidan’s example: climb off our high horses and get down to the level of the people so we can do the Lord’s work.
Still, who among us can have faith for a whole nation as Aidan had? When our land is shrouded in darkness, what are we to do?
Perhaps the prophet Habakkuk has the answer: “Then the Lord answered me and said: ‘Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.’” (Hab 2:2-3)
St. Paul was also trying to give us a vision of how we should live as Christians when he wrote to the Colossians. He spelt out for them what being dead to sin means. Let us examine ourselves by his standards: (Col. 3:5 - 4:5)
You must kill everything in you that is earthly: sexual vice, impurity, uncontrolled passion, evil desires. You must especially kill greed, which is the same thing as worshiping a false God.
You must give up excessive anger, hot temper, malice, abusive language and dirty talk. You must not lie to each other. You are to be clothed in heartfelt compassion, in generosity and humility, gentleness and patience.
You are to bear with one another; forgive each other if one of you has a complaint against another. You are to let the Word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you. You are to have gratitude in your hearts as you join with the Church in the worship of God.
Husbands and wives, you are to love one another and not be sharp with each other. Children, you are to be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord. Parents, you are not to irritate your children, but encourage them or they will lose heart.
Employers, you are to make sure that you give those who work for you what is fair and upright. Whatever your work is, you are to put your heart into it as done for the Lord.
You are to be persevering in your prayers and be thankful always.
Posted on Fri, August 22, 2014
by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd