Sounds of Iona – March 2024

Snowdrops and Crocuses on Iona
Two new books from Wild Goose Publications
Embody Lent and Like a Root Out of Dry Ground

As we emerge in the northern hemisphere through winter, towards spring, the tenderness of the cycle of life is evident. Buds and spring flowers are braving the gales and rain. Days are lengthening and the soil is warming. Into this context come times for reflection in this season of Lent about the cycle of death and new life. Two new publications nourish us on this journey: ‘Embody Lent … in 29 Yoga Postures’ by Pauline Steenbergen, and ‘Like a Root out of Dry Ground: reflections and resources for Holy Week and Easter from the Iona Community’ edited by Neil Paynter are food for the soul.  

In her introduction Pauline reflects: ‘Embodied practices empower us to experience ourselves as subjects rather than objects… European Benedictines…were living out a Roman Catholic theological understanding of the body as a sacrament or ‘holy mystery’. This view regards the body as more than a fleshy container of air, blood and fluid; it is a temple revealing the Divine presence.’ And in her reflections for Good Friday in ‘Like a Root…’ Urzula Glienecke says ‘I believe that Jesus died because his life and teaching were uncomfortable for people, and they killed him. He died because of our sins, not for our sins. I believe that God came to Earth, to us, because God wanted to be with us. God wanted to be one of us and to share our joy and pain, our lives and our future.’  

The body, both a temple revealing the Divine presence, and a body crucified because of the ways we turn from love. The tenderness of the season of Lent moves inexorably to the reality of Good Friday. Our news channels these days may seem as if Good Friday has become a Groundhog Day, as the horrors of bodies tortured and trafficked, starved or assaulted remain on a loop in front of our eyes. And yet we remain tender bodies, loving and healing, caressing and caring through all that is wrong.

In all of this, it can sometimes be hard to see what to do, how to be. So we clearly and non-violently continue to take to the streets, write to political leaders, protest in prayer, song or worship. Whether we are calling for an end to violence and war, supporting LGBTQ+ month or engaging in deep, honest conversation about the spiritual life that we lead as witnessed by the CCN Faith and Spirituality these last days, we are part that global movement that chooses life, ‘Like a Root out of Dry Ground.’

Skip to content