As we walked across the pasture to morning worship at the Abbey, I heard a distant beep beep beep. As we got closer it sounded louder and louder, much like the fire alarm that had gone off during worship Thursday evening when incense filled the Abbey. Apparently they are very serious about fires here on Iona. We were bustled out with great haste on Thursday night.
When we entered the Abbey today by our usual back door, not a candle was lit, and the space was empty and quiet except for the fire alarm. We could see people gathered outside and joined them, much to the horror of one of the Iona community who, on seeing us come from inside the church, went to stand by the side door to prevent others from entering the back way.
There was laughter and conversation as the cold wind blew, and fire fighters came in and out, unable to find the source of the alarm. There was talk about praying outside, but after yet one more false alarm, we were in our places near the 9 AM start.
I am mindful this day of the way the Holy Spirit is with us whether we hear the fire alarm or not, whether we feel the bite of the wind or not.
After worship today, I went to sit in the Quiet Corner, that side chapel reserved for silent prayer. Everytime I go in there, my heart feels the blanket of prayer that seems to never leave that space.
As I sat there in prayer, I heard the sound of wild geese out the window. Fitting, somehow, since the Iona community has as its symbol of the Spirit a wild goose.
Fire. Wind. Wild geese.
The Holy Spirit is with us.
As we sang this morning,
“Give me courage when the world is rough
Keep me living though the world is tough;
Leap and sing in all I do
Keep me traveling along with you.
And it’s from old that I travel to the new
Keep me traveling along with you.”