Sunday, December 12, 2010

Celtic gifts

The rainy weekend has allowed me to hang out at home and provided me with some additional "quiet times".  We're in the middle of Advent, racing towards Christmas, so I welcome the extra time to sit back and reflect. I love these kinds of days as they remind me of my days in Britain.

One of the many features I appreciate about Celtic Christianity is it's meditative, reflective side. These quiet roots of course, extend back to the monastic fathers and the desert tradition which reached it full potential in Anthony. But Celtic spirituality is more than that, it offers a sensual three dimensional spirituality which many find fulfulling. 

I'd like to take a minute and highlight three books by Robert Van De Weyer, and Anglican priest who lives in Britain. Celtic Prayers (1997), Celtic Praise (1998), and Celtic Parables (1999), are an eye-popping introduction to a Celtic point of view regarding prayer and praise. These are beautifully illustrated books which contain wonderful pictures, drawings, and stories of the Celtic saints. Reading these books-and praying the prayers as well-you will learn a different perspective. And that after all is one of the main purposes of prayer and praise, finding a different voice and way of interpreting one's experience.

Take for example a Celtic prayer regarding sea and sky. We are reminded that God lives in this world and is part of the Creation:

I am the wind that breathes upon the sea,
I am the wave on the ocean,
I am the murmur of leaves rustling,
I am the rays of the sun,
I am the beam of the moon and stars,
I am the power of the trees growing,
I am the bud breaking into blossom,
I am the movement of the salmon swimming,
I am the courage of the wild boar fighting,
I am the speed of the stag running,
I am the strength of the ox pulling the plow,
I am the the size of the mighty oak tree,
And I am the thoughts of all people
Who praise my beauty and grace.

This is great stuff, great images which reminds us that God is the source of life in all things. Reading these books reminds me that often I am too scientific and one dimensional in my prayers. Rereading the prayer above makes me feel and understand that the Lord God is Lord of all Creation. These books will gently remind you that your view of God is probably too small. They will encourage you to see the world and others differently. They will breathe life into your dry bones. 

Let me also share something from Celtic Praise. Here is a fragment called "Welcome Sunday":

Welcome Sunday, I love this day.
The day our Lord rose to life,
A day of joy and rest,
A day to laugh with family and friends,
A day to play with children,
A day to enjoy the beauty of Nature,
A day to sit at home by the fire,
A day to tell the stories of old,
A day to sing and to dance,
A day to worship the God who made us,
A day to give thanks for all his blessings.

The Celtic perspective reminds us that all of life's experiences are enjoyed, cherished and treasured. Moreover, this is an earthly, human based spirituality which appreciates all of the senses. And perhaps for just this reason, a mind centered spirituality felt threatened and inadequate.

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