I was able to spend some time on Bardsey Island/Ynys Enlli on the tip of the Llyn Peninsula, Wales. Known as the Island of 20,000 Saints, it is fabled to be one of the resting places of the elusive Holy Grail. Three pilgrimages to this island are equivalent to one pilgrimage to Rome. Apparently I’m one third of the way!
Archeological evidence has shown that trade happened on here as early as the Mesozoic Era. People lived here as early as the Bronze Age. It has been a site of Christian pilgrimage since the 5th century. And, according to legend, Vikings raided the island in the early Middle Ages. But after bedding down on the first night, the cries of the Manx Shearwaters coming in to roost sounded so much like demons that they were convinced that the locals had sent the devil after them. They packed up and cancelled the raid.
There is much history in this quivering liminal space.
Pastors and chaplains take turns all summer, spending weeks out here planning services, and offering spiritual direction. This kind of support has been offered for centuries in one form or another.
As I entered the old chapel that rests there, I discovered postcards with an original poem on it meant to encourage pilgrims in their sojourn, and to surround all with the presence of the Triune God (ancient Celtic Christians almost always prayed to the Trinity rather than to one aspect of God). I share it with your all today, in English and in Welsh, so that you may be reminded of the Presence that surrounds you and sustains you.
Today, as you walk on this island
may you meet the One who knows you and love you.
May you hear, deep within, your worth and value.
May God the Father enfold you and embrace you.
May God the Son walk beside you.
May God the Spirit refresh you and lead you forward on your journey.
Heddiw, wrth i chigerdded ar yr
ynys hon, efallai y byddwch yn
cwrdd arUn sy’n eich adnabod chi
ac yn eich gwerth yn ddwfn o’ch mewn.
Bydded i Dduw y Tad
ddatguddio ei hun i chi a’ch cofleidio.
Bydded i Dduw y Mab gerdded wrth eich ochr.
Bydded i Dduw yr Ysbryd eich adfywio a’ch
arwain ar eich taith ynmlaen.