The schools programme is well underway at the Holy Biscuit, with a calendar packed full of workshops for schools in our local area. This year artist Lorna Bryan has devised a project inspired by the Lindisfarne Gospels, to coincide with their much anticipated return to the region to be exhibited this summer. The aim of the project is to introduce the Lindisfarne Gospels to primary aged children, and to help them understand the relevance of such a historic document. While working with the children, it has raised the question for us too, what do the Lindisfarne Gospels mean for us today? As I am discovering, there is inspiration in them for us all, not just in the text which, as we know, is rich with the teachings of Jesus and stories of His life, but on many other levels as well.
Although this reproduction of the Gospels was created by a Bishop Eadfrith on Lindisfarne, over 1300 years ago, in some ways their cultural context is not too far removed from the one we experience. Britain has such a rich history which has evolved over the centuries, and continues to change today. Cultural diversity is not a new thing to us, and the artist understood the importance of bringing creative aspects of all these different cultures together to create a unique style, making the stories of Jesus accessible and available to all. This is not a new challenge, but a very important one.
Another thing to consider is the phenomenal amount of effort and devotion poured into the creation of this work. Eadfrith used his skills for the Glory of God, which presents another challenge to us, are we doing the same?
Perhaps the most important lesson for me is that the story didn’t end when Jesus died on the cross, and rose again. It continues today, and we can choose to be a part of it. Just as Eadfrith shared the message of Jesus through creativity, diligence and devotion, so too did Aldred, who painstakingly translated them from Latin into English, so they could be understood by all. And now, over a hundred school children from Shieldfield, Heaton, Sandyford and Gateshead have been learning how to use their creativity to share Bible stories with a wider audience, they too are part of a much bigger picture. Their animated creations will be passed on and shared using YouTube, so watch this space, and be inspired to do the same!