Prayer for the Iona Community

1. February 2014
There is a prayer that Members of the Iona Community use when gathering.  It is a prayer that I have said so often over so many years that I know it very well, even though I readily admit that I don’t fully engage with (or perhaps fully understand?) each line in it. Recently, when walking the dog near the village I live in, the prayer came to mind as I began to make photographs.  Interestingly, it didn’t consciously come to mind as I was walking, but I realised later that it was present in my subconscious and I was looking for ways to interpret what I was hearing in my head and seeing in the landscape (that is beginning to be more familiar to me, having now lived here since November). Originally written by George MacLeod, the founder of the Community in 1938, the current version of the prayer uses more contemporary language. Some parts of this prayer mean more to me than others, but regardless of what it might mean to any one person, I think there is a profound sense of poetry here that has the potential to touch folk.
Here, then, is the prayer – in each image caption, line by line.

Prayer for the Iona Community

O God, who gave to your servant Columba

Prayer for the Iona Community

the gifts of courage, faith and cheerfulness,

Prayer for the Iona Community

and sent people out from Iona

Prayer for the Iona Community

to carry the word of your gospel to every creature,

Prayer for the Iona Community

grant, we pray, a like spirit to your church,

Prayer for the Iona Community

even at this present time.

Prayer for the Iona Community

Further in all things the purpose of our Community,

Prayer for the Iona Community

that hidden things may be revealed to us,

Prayer for the Iona Community

and new ways found to touch the hearts of all.

Prayer for the Iona Community

May we preserve with each other

Prayer for the Iona Community

sincere charity and peace,

Prayer for the Iona Community

and if it be your holy will,

Prayer for the Iona Community

grant that a place of your abiding be continued

Prayer for the Iona Community

still to be a sanctuary and a light.

Prayer for the Iona Community

Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

Of course, the images mean and represent something to me, though they do not necessarily represent directly what they maybe appear to do. Some would argue that that’s not dissimilar to the idea of prayer!

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