Small as a Mustard Seed | Sojourners

Small as a Mustard Seed

Iona: If you have a good map of Scotland you will find it among the Inner Hebrides off the southwest tip of Mull, a comma of land separated by a strait the width of an exclamation point.

If you enjoy discovering the mysteries and tales held in the silence of stone, then you may already know of Iona because, tiny though it is, its bulk is formed of some of the oldest exposed rock on earth. The imposing volcanic heights of Mull belong to a land just barely out of diapers: a mere 70 million years old. Iona is 35 times older: two and a half billion years, give or take the tick of a grandfather clock.

If you like wandering in the mysteries and tales of history, then Iona may already have a niche in your memory as one of the principal centers of Celtic Christianity. Or if you take a special joy in the work of artists in earlier times, then you will almost certainly know Iona as the likely birthplace of the greatest masterpiece of Celtic art, the illuminated Gospel text known as the Book of Kells.

Visitors are still drawn to this remote outpost on the western edge of the

Scottish highlands; but perhaps the most important reason they come is not academic, geologic, or aesthetic, but religious. Iona has again become a center of deep and contagious Christian faith. This faith brought to birth the Iona Community, which has actively opposed racism, injustice, and war. Iona's seeming distance from places of tangible crisis exists only on maps.

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $3.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!
for more info