Iona Three –
Travel brings a certain type of wisdom if one is open to it. And, I wanted to be open. I felt a call to go to Iona and to learn not only from its ancient ways but its current incarnation. You see Iona is not just a historical place, one where you can see an ancient site. Unlike many ancient churches there is a vibrant living community which resides in its halls. One of my questions was, how did that happen and what might it have to say to me and my faith tradition?
I find I can soak up more of what a place has to offer if I have prepared myself for it-art, music, stories, spiritual reading, looking at maps and history are part of that preparation. I started off looking through Amazon’s many offerings to find resources on Iona. Several I downloaded, several I orderd, but most of them were unreadable. I tried again and found “Chasing the Wild Goose, The Story of the Iona Community” to be the most insightful. Written by a leader in the community (Ronald Ferguson) it’s style invited me to consider more deeply the history of the time both anceint, modern and future. It was helpful in understanding the current community as a model for ministry today. I finished reading the book my first day in Scotland.
I also spent time looking through the current art of Scotland and listening to music. I settled on “Let Scotland Flourish,” a CD of current day, young Scotlish artists. For art, I spent time exploring traditional celtic design with a focus on Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie who revived the celtic arts and crafts movement through their jewlry and metal work. And while I did for a moment consider bringing my ukulele to Iona, I did I bring watercolors and pens so I could create as well.
But something was missing. About a month before I left I came across a helpful author, Brene Brown. I had watched her TED talk and heard her interviewed by Krista Tippet. These words of Dr Brown’s jumped out as I prepared for Iona:
“Authenticity is a daily practice. Choosing authenticity means: cultiviting the courage to be emotionally honest, to set boundaries, and to alow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit; nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we let go of what we are supposed to be and embrace who we are.
“Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving -even when it’s hard, even when we’re wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it.
“Mindfully practing authenticity during our most soul-searching stuggles is how we invite grace, joy, and gratitude into our lives. ” Brene Brown, Phd.
Her quote came with me to Iona and was the missing piece to view Iona through…
Next Iona Four