Meaning - to the maker
Writing and painting sacred texts were seen by monks as
acts of meditation, during which the scribe might glimpse
the divine. It was a high calling but very hard work.
Imagine what it must have been like to undertake the eye-straining,
back-aching task of making the Lindisfarne Gospels by hand,
in a hut on an island in the wild North Sea.
It would have been cold and tiring. Monks attended eight
church services every day and night, displayed humility by
manual labour, prayed and studied. If the artist-scribe was
Bishop Eadfrith, he would have carried a heavy administrative
burden as well. The Lindisfarne Gospels would have taken
him at least five years to complete.
When it was finished it was a book to see and be seen. But
it was also the maker's personal 'opus dei' - a work for God.