Off the east coast of Scotland are a cluster of Islands. The Hebrides. If you travel from Oban on a ferry and then take a bus all the way across the Island of Mull you will come to the small Isle of Iona. You will see a cluster of buildings, a small village for fishermen and tourists and then a large stone structure, Iona Abbey.
Columba traveled from his native Ireland to Iona and founded an abbey there in the sixth century. Iona is beautiful but inhospitable in the long, cold and wet winters. Yet, in this place, close to nature, grew a monastery which sent monks out across Scotland and down into Northern England. It was a Gospel message infused by the rhythms of the seasons and borne by people who were closely in touch with their natural surroundings.
We are blessed to live in a place where we, too, can stay in touch with a rhythm which goes far beyond our daily busy-ness. Columba would have had the sound of the ocean, the change of the tides and the smell of the saltwater around him constantly. Ponder a moment, the next time you are on the beach, that we are watching that same rhythm of the earth that Columba watched. We worship the same God, through the same Jesus Christ. Breathe deep and feel your heart beat.