I stand at the edge of the cliff and watch the sea blowing wild around me. This place, this ancient place of Wales with wildness, metaphor and song in the depths of its very land, has rapidly become embedded in my heart in a way I never expected. My friends point out a little dot of an island jutting out past the edge of the shoreline and explain that it is a tidal island, cut off from the world when the tide comes in but able to be reached over land when the tide goes out. I am transfixed. Might there be something we can learn in the rhythm of these wild tides, something of eternity in their comings and goings?
The ancient Celtic saints sure thought so. They would find or in some cases build their sacred spaces on tidal islands, like Lindasfarne. One thing I love about the Celtic understanding of our faith is how they allowed their natural surroundings and the elements of their everyday lives to become metaphors that shaped and informed their life journey with Jesus. Aidan and Cuthbert of Lindasfarne lived in the rhythm of the wild tides of God’s grace.
When the tides came in they were hemmed in, surrounded by the ocean, into a secret thin place of meeting with God. When the tides went out, they too could spill out from the secret places into a world thirsty for the bit of heaven they carried. This pattern of rest and run, hiding in Him and then seeking the ones He is seeking, is really built into the core of our faith. Whether we live land locked in Africa or have the grace to be near the literal tides that became the metaphor of a live lived in balance with the tides of eternity.
My path in this season is leading me down some ancient unpaved roads as I take time to remind myself and travel a bit deeper with the Celtic saints of old whose understanding really gave me my first language to describe my own journey. I want to walk with Aidan, Cuthbert and their contemporaries and learn more of what they knew that so quietly and profoundly wrote history. As I am leaning into the echoes of eternity from the past, I also want to lean forward into new sounds of heaven being unlocked in the shifts that are happening all around us and dare I even say within us. For they are ever so connected.
As one of my friends, Justin, from Wales shared in his post on all this a while back: I heard an audible voice speak in the night from heaven. It said “The answer to the mysteries of the future is in the past.” Ancient tides. Ancient cries. Ancient rhythms. We are listening. We are slowly awakening. There is another way emerging, a wildfire generation rising to the unstoppable rhythm of the tides.
Selah. After all, so often the journeys that matter most and some of the roads most unpaved are found inside our own hearts. May you, sweet friend, rise to embrace the unstoppable rhythm of the tides of His grace.