November 17 – Hild

Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt

Read Matthew 10:5-15

You received without having to pay. Therefore, give without demanding payment.


More thoughts for meditation about Hild

Today is the feast day of Hild of Whitby, who died on this day in 680.

She lived in the 7th Century and made her mark in the kingdom of Northumbria, now part of England. She took her first vows as a nun somewhat later in life, at the age of 33, but managed to help start several monasteries and become the founding Abbess at Whitby, a monastery where men and women had residence. Her reputation for wise counsel made her a coveted adviser to several kings and crucial to the conversion of much her territory to Christianity. She also is known for her great love and devotion to ordinary people.

While her Celtic people were pushed further and further North by the pagan groups such as the Saxons, a vital mission to the invaders remained. The church in Rome often competed with the Celtic tradition, and Hild was known for helping to settle the big question of when Easter would be celebrated. This was just one example of the peacemaking she was known for in rather turbulent times.

Her relationship with the farmhand, Caedmon, is a good example of her devotion to developing regular people. She recognized Caedmon’s gifts for music and poetry and encouraged them. He became the first published poet in English.

Want more?

From an Anglican church named after her: [link]

Saint Hilda’s snakes

Three-minute bio

Suggestions for action

Hild was an unusual leader, mainly because she was a woman leading men in a time when that was almost unheard of. She was also a leader in difficult times when the church was challenged by antagonists and also divided from within. Her native Celtic church was being overrun by the legalists from Rome who desired to unite the church under the monarchy of the Pope.

The United States and the Church worldwide are changing. We see ourselves as an outpost, in some ways, where true, old and better ways provide an alternative to the turmoil and self-interest around us. Like Hild, look around our church, starting with your cell, and notice the gifts the Spirit God is providing us in our ambition to make Jesus known and followed.

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