SOME THREADS OF CELTIC CHRISTIANITY
WHICH MAY BE ABLE TO INSPIRE AND
GUIDE THE CHURCH IN OUR TIME
- A deep "sense of connectedness"- to God, to the sacred earth and to one another.
- The all creation is a sacred mystery, revealing Godís presence.
- The knowledge that every aspect of life is permeated by Christís forgiving love, healing power and divine light.
- That the natural order reveals Godís glory.
- That Christís Light overcomes the darkness.
- That the Christian faith is always a community faith and that work and worship are one.
- That prayer and praise arise out of the experiences of daily living and belong to the people.
- Christ is revealed in the ordinary events of life.
- That the church is always "a missionary church".
- That sharing the good news of the gospel demands listening, prayer, penitence, obedience, discipline and risk taking.
- That it is often on the margins, amidst struggle and uncertainty that Christ is powerfully present through the Holy Spirit.
- That life is provisional and that our only true security is in God.
- That poetry and creativity, symbol and ritual are "ways into God".
(Compare the great stone carved Celtic crosses and the illuminated Bible manuscripts such as the Book of Kells.)
- That the church is inclusive and non-hierarchical and that both women and men are equally affirmed.
- A love of the Psalms.
- A knowledge that life is both "an inner and outer pilgrimage" Ė a daily journey into the heart of God.
- That in our daily living we are always accompanied by the saints and the angels.
- That a healing ministry is central in the life of the churches.
- That without communal and personal penitence and lament our journey in Christ is incomplete.
- That we cannot live without a "sense of wonder", of mystery, of awe.
- That "this day" is Godís day Ė not tomorrow.
- That life and death are a continuum enfolded in Christís love.
Note: In recent years there has been an increasing interest world wide in Christianity of the Celtic period. There are a large number of books available on this subject and also on the pre-Christian Celtic period.
Peter Millar, Iona Community Scotland
May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow,
May the soft winds freshen your spirit,
May the sunshine brighten your heart,
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.
We saw a stranger yesterday,
We put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the listening place,
And, with the sacred name of the triune God,
He blessed us and our house,
Our cattle and our dear ones,
And as the lark says in her song:
Often, often, often goes Christ in the strangerís guise.
(Celtic rune of hospitality)
Thou angel of God who has charge of me,
Drive me from every temptation and danger,
And in the narrows, crooks, and straights,
Keep thou my coracle, keep it always.
(Coracle was the small boat used in Celtic times.)
Each thing we have received Ė from you it came, O Lord.
Each thing for which we hope Ė from your love it will be given.
Lord, kindle in our hearts within
A flame of love to our neighbours,
To our foes, to our friends,
to our loved ones all,
From the lowliest thing that lives,
To the name that is highest of all.
God be with thee in every pass;
Jesus be with thee on every hill;
Spirit be with thee in every stream, headland, ridge and moor;
Each sea and land, each path and meadow,
Each lying down, each rising up,
In the trough of the waves,
On the crest of the billows,
Each step of the journey thou goest.
These prayers and many others from the Celtic tradition,
are to be found in "An Iona Prayer Book", Peter Millar
(The Canterbury Press, Norwich and London)