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1973 was a memorable year. We were in England at Lincoln Theological College and at the Easter Break were given the opportunity to go for a week to Iona, an island off southwest Scotland. The island was accessed via a medium size open wooden boat which was a bit unnerving for a landlubber like me. My memory of the landscape is of rocks, steep cliffs dropping down to the ocean, grassy areas where sheep grazed, and strong winds. A rugged environment!

One of the reasons for going to this remote location was to see the place where the Irish monk Columba landed with 12 companions in 563 AD. and set about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with the local population. Their endeavours as disciples of Jesus led to the conversion of many people including Brude, king of the Picts. We saw the simple stone hut that Columba called home and a replica of the coracle which Columba likely used in sailing from Ireland to Iona. Much smaller than the boat we had used in making the crossing from Mull to Iona.

Columba died in the church which he and his companions had built. It was June 9, 597, and he was waiting for Mattins to begin. Today we remember Saint Columba.

Bible Reading: Matthew 28: 16-20