Cuthbert’s body has been in the ground sufficiently long for the worms to have done their work, such that his clean bones may now be translated to the church in a new casket. But, terrifyingly, the monks find his body untouched, looking as if asleep, and his clothes bright and fresh.
Bishop Eadberht, carrying out his Lenten fast on the tiny St Cuthbert’s Isle just next to Lindisfarne, links the preservation of Cuthbert’s body with the resurrection (Jonah in the fish), being called by God to be his own (Israel in the desert), protection through the fire of judgement (Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego), and Christ’s second coming. This is no disembodied existence – the inseparable but personal link between the saint’s material and spiritual existence acts as a conduit for the healing power of heaven to be made present. The saint, being in Christ’s presence, means Christ’s presence is also here.
Day 42 of Morning Prayer with St Cuthbert can be found here.