Mid Week Reflection – Aiden

Aiden (Gaelic Aedan – little fiery one, died 651)

Statue of St Aidan, Holy Island.
Christine Matthews – Wikimedia Commons


It is believed that Aiden was born in what is modern day County Cavan, Ireland which is near to the border with County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.

He became a monk at the monastery on the Island of Iona. While on Iona he would have met Oswald of Northumberland, who was exiled there. Oswald was baptised and he wished to bring Christianity back to Northumberland, as soon as he could. He achieved his aim in 634, when he became king of Northumbria. Oswald later requested missionaries be sent from Iona to Northumberland to start the process of re-establishing Christianity in Northumberland. The first attempt was far from successful. Bishop Corman was sent, he was a harsh man and called the Northumbrians a stubborn people. Aidan was critical of Corman’s approach resulting in Aiden being sent as Corman’s replacement. Aiden arrived in Northumberland with 12 companions choosing the island of Lindisfarne as the seat of his diocese on becoming bishop in 635 and began a more caring and understanding ministry.

The Venerable Bede was impressed by Aidan’s style of ministry, Aiden walked from one village to another and engaged in conversation with the people he met, he would gently impart the Gospel as he walked and talked. The expression ‘feeding with milk’ was used to describe this careful, gentle and empathetic style. He was a man of prayer, of gentleness and humility and a bishop who cared for the sick and the poor. Commenting on Bede’s words of affection and admiration regarding Aidan, Elizabeth Rees wrote ‘Bede’s unusually lavish words about Aiden may have been intended as a reproof for the lax bishops of his own time.’ (A Dictionary of Celtic Saints p15)

The tomb of St Aidan,
St Aidan’s Church, Bamburgh
Stephencdickson – Wikimedia Commons

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God of glory, the end of our searching,
help us to lay aside
all that prevents us from seeking your kingdom,
and to give all that we have to gain the pearl beyond all price,
through our Saviour Jesus Christ.
(Common Worship Collect for the 11th Sunday of Trinity)

The Word of the Lord
(Verses from the readings from those set for the 11th Sunday of Trinity)

Psalm 111
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, •
in the company of the faithful and in the congregation.
The works of the Lord are great, • sought out by all who delight in them.
His work is full of majesty and honour • and his righteousness endures for ever.
The works of his hands are truth and justice; •all his commandments are sure.
They stand fast for ever and ever; • they are done in truth and equity.
He sent redemption to his people; he commanded his covenant for ever; •
holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have those who live by it; • his praise endures for ever.


John 6 (51-58)
I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’

Let us reflect peacefully and with trust on the memorable qualities of Aiden:

• He shared the Gospel with a gentleness and empathy as he walked and talked with people he met on his journey around the Lindisfarne and the surrounding villages.
• He offered them Gospel stories in a way they could understand.
• He encouraged them

Take the opportunity to remember those have helped you understand and hear the Gospel afresh.

Read through the words from John chapter 6, above. Are there words that stick out? If so, ponder on them.

Christ, be the light shining brightly before us. Christ, be the song in our hearts every day. Christ, be the love flowing into and from us. Christ, be the shield that protects us from harm Lord, be to us the light, within and without, that illuminates both thought and sight. (John Birch)

Bless us with strength when faith is wounded by the world around us. Bless us with patience when our prayers are seemingly unanswered. Bless us with peace when daily schedules start to overwhelm us. Bless us with joy in quiet moments and simple pleasures. Bless us with love in sensing your arms reaching to embrace us (John Birch)

Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Local church and its leaders
wider community

widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed
those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill
those facing death

Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

The Lords Prayer

+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May the cleansing water of God’s love refresh you,
the gentle breeze of God’s Spirit revive you,
and the radiance of God’s Son surround you,
this day and all days. (John Birch)

*John Birch God beside Me page 21,26 and 48

You may wish the finish this time of reflective prayer sitting silently and enjoying a peaceful moment or two. You may also think about listening to some music that has touched you or a favourite hymn or song. Enjoy these moments! God bless!

Derek Akker