Another Thought

Another Thought for the Day this week – this time a reflection on the Iona Celebrations of the 1450th Anniversary of the arrival of St Columba

‘Always wanted to go there … special place … on my bucket list’ Those were some of the reactions on Facebook when I said that I was going last weekend to Iona for the celebrations to mark the 1450th Anniversary of St Columba’s arrival. It’s a special island. George MacLeod, founder of the Iona Community, said that it was a ‘thin place’. He meant that it is a holy place – where earth and heaven, the mundane and the spiritual are very close. People of all kinds – of all faiths and none – feel it.

To read the whole script ….


  1. I’ve been to Iona and I’ve been to Govan old parish church. Although some structures may exude a resonance of former grace I believe it is more to do with the thinness of time rather than geography or buildings.
    This comes to mind –
    Sir,’ the woman said, ‘I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshipped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’ ‘Woman,’ Jesus replied, ‘believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’

    1. Thanks Jimmy

      I’m thinking about that. I wonder if the corollary is true – that thickness of time makes the divine presence seem remote. Which brings me back to my time in Northern Ireland and the sense that, in the presence of long and bitter memories, God seemed peculiarly absent. One thinks in both Ireland and South Africa of the ministry which they call the ‘healing of memories’

  2. When I was still working, I was very privileged to be given the job in 1991, to design and build the original sound system in the Abbey. We spent a week there, and on our last evening, I was at the altar doing some final checking and there was a tangible feeling of ‘the thin place’. The next morning, at the jetty, I felt that I didn’t really want to leave. But leave I did, and the memory of that evening, in the silence, has remained with me for over 20 years.

    1. Strange isn’t it – I used to bother myself more about my objectivity when I found myself in the thinness somewhere or other. But I don’t worry now. There are two of our churches here which do it for me.

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