Lenten Prayer with St Cuthbert – Day 12

The only time in Cuthbert’s ‘Vita’ that we possibly find him angry. And probably my favourite story of Cuthbert, perhaps even for that reason. I apologise in advance for the disturbing shock in the middle of it, but it is the only way I know how to read it. This story, more than any other, underlines the Anglo-Saxon understanding of our co-equality with the rest of creation before God. How we desperately need to re-recognise this essential truth of Genesis and the Cross – we are all as much part of Christ’s Church as each other, although we bear the greater responsibility, having received the breath of God in our nostrils, and so been called to be the priests of creation (Ex 19:6). The Anonymous ‘Life of Cuthbert’ tells us that the river in question was the Teviot in what is now the Scottish borders.

Jesus’ itinerant ministry, and that of his male disciples, is enabled by the sacrifice and continual support of a host of women, most of whom are unsung heroines (not unlike the church of today).

The parable of the sower is another one of those familiar stories where we, perhaps too easily, place ourselves into the category of the good soil. But Lent is precisely the time for re-examing that assumption, and, if we do so, the story suddenly takes on a disturbing quality…

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