We did not see the Loch Ness monster as we motor sailed down Scotland’s longest loch. It was a glorious trip that took us through breath taking scenery but one in which we were not accompanied by seals, dolphins or whales as we have been out at sea.
I recall that the Celtic saints did believe in sea monsters. On one occasion, Brendan believed that he had moored up to an island that turned out to be a huge sea creature. He was a great lover of the Scriptures and was aware of the Leviathan that Job referred to in his book and of the great fish that swallowed Jonah. In the “Navigatio Sancti Brendani” Brendan prayed, ‘Deliver, O Lord, Thy servants, as Thou didst deliver David from the hands of the giant Goliath, and Jonas from the power of the great whale.’ (XVI)
I wonder how stories of sea monsters have become so enshrined in Scottish folklore tradition. Are they figments of the imagination or products of the subconscious mind? Are they the half formed sights of whales or sharks at sea melded with the experience of discovering dinosaur bones on land.
For us travelling the Great Glen today, I am aware that God is blessing us by banishing the ogres of doubt and the spectres of fear. Those fearsome monsters are currently out of sight as we trust our voyage to God. We sense that Navigators of Faith is a missional concept from God and we are following in the steps of the faithful Celts who first brought the story of Jesus to our shores.