our celtic heritage

So what can an examination of the early blossoming of Christianity in the fringes of Britain and Ireland bring to our spiritual lives today? So it is, that we need to rid ourselves of some of the romanticism that has been handed down concerning the early Christian saints, and whilst acknowledging the influence that they undoubtedly had on the early Christian communities, concentrate on those elements of their faith, doctrine and lifestyle that can bring illumination and spiritual growth into our own. We are not seeking to live in the past, but take what is valuable from our Christian heritage and bring it into a contemporary setting, where Christianity struggles not against invasions of Angles, Jutes and Saxons, but against the enemies of indifference, secularism, atheism, agnosticism and against ‘principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’ (Eph. 6:12). In an age where time is money, and lack of time a serious problem for so many; where the stresses and strains of daily living take their toll both physically and spiritually it is not difficult to see the attraction of a way of faith that finds time to be alone with God; that is God-centred rather than self or work-centred and which brings both beauty, truth and wholeness into lives that are, if not empty, certainly not as fulfilled as they might be. If we sift the wheat from the chaff and look at elements that the early Celtic Church brings to us then we see the following general features:· A genuine love of nature and a passion for God’s creation, coupled with a sense of closeness between the natural and supernatural.  A love of art and poetry, seen within surviving illuminated Gospels and other works.  Although they were totally theologically orthodox, there was a distinct emphasis on the Blessed Trinity, respect for Mary as the Mother of God, the Incarnation and the use within worship of the purest forms of early liturgies. Within their religious life we see an emphasis on solitude, pilgrimage and mission, sacred locations and tough penitential acts. There were ‘thin’ boundaries between the sacred and the secular. We see an emphasis on family and kinship ties. There seems to have been greater equality for women than we see generally in the Church today. A generous hospitality was an important part of everyday life. There are elements here which challenge our faith, call us to examine that which we have become comfortable with, and look again at how we might learn to part the curtain that has separated us from our Christian heritage and take from the past that which can enable us to grow spiritually today. We might also find that in doing so we can begin to connect with a culture that cannot connect with the denominational jigsaw that is the Church to which we belong, but is seeking to follow a spiritual path which, until now, has often only been catered for by other faith systems or new age philosophies. It matters not whether we can claim Celtic roots or not, it is within the scope of all of us to look at the landscape with spiritual as well as physical eyes, and begin to appreciate it for what it is and for the way that it influences our understanding both of ourselves and our Creator. A growing passion for the beauty of the world in which we work can lead to a renewal in our attitudes to the mundane tasks that we face each day. We can acknowledge the importance of love and friendship in our lives, and appreciate how the love of our friends mirrors the love and companionship of God, and as our faith begins to show forth new growth our journey can begin to take us from the familiar into more challenging circumstances – into mission.

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