The monastery on Lindisfarne started in the 630’s when Oswald, the new King of Northumbria, keen to establish christianity in his Kingdom brought Aiden from Iona. A few years later, after Aidens death, Columba came to the island as Abbott. Both lived austere lives; indeed Columba lived on his own mini island and later the more remote Farnes. The churches were equally simple.
After Columba’s death the monks became rich. In 793 Lindisfarne became the first place in England to be sacked by the Vikings and by 865 the monks abandoned the island altogether. It wasn’t until the 1080’s they returned to set up a Priory created as a mini-Durham cathedral and later a monastery. But after 150 years the Anglo-Scottish wars started which greatly reduced the monastery size. This finished then Henry V111 decided to dissolve the monastery in 1536 and the building fell to ruin. Only in recent years have the Island’s spiritual roots been rediscovered.
We all have times of growth personally as well as times of difficulty. But I was especially reminded of the persecuted church which 60@60 is all about. In China the church had a number of false starts from the 500’s and in the 1200’s then grew slowly from the late 1800’s. Mao thought he had destroyed the church in the cultural revolution but it expanded rapidly underground to become one of the world’s biggest. Now it is being pressured once again. Persecution is still alive around the world today and our support is needed. But with our help there is hope!