This morning we gathered in beautiful sunshine to reflect on the traditions from our Celtic brothers and sisters in the past that have consciously and coincidently influenced ThirdSpace. We began considering the importance of
1. Monasticism The importance of living in community to learn and to live out the faith. Encouraged ‘Soul friends’ – ‘Anam caras’ –to urge one another on in faith.
The Kenyon household has been so touched by the love and kindness of the ThirdSpace community in the last fewdays or so, following the death of our much, much loved dog, Inca. Barbara and Grayden were back from their travels in India too – so there was a real sense of gratitude once again for this community. Thus we began with prayer:
Your love, flowing within us,
and between us, living water purifying in that cleansing flow; and our worship, joining with the songs of nature, echoing through the air as birdsong at the dawning of this day. Stream meets stream and river flows, emptying into Ocean’s store. (Adapted from faithandworship.com)
Lord God, we come with hearts full of thanks for one another, for the ThirdSpace community, for the gift of today, for sunshine and life and breath, for the beauty of the natural world around us and for the hope of the renewed earth and life everlasting.
The next characteristic of Celtic faith was the
2. Sacramental Principle Seeing God in everything ordinary and every-day. Using the ‘Five-stringed harp’ in worship – embracing all five senses in order to recognise and appreciate God’s presence.
To enhance our worship with taste and smell we shared warm pastries and then set off to walk in the park where we considered the next characteristics and responded to them:
3. Creation affirming A love of nature. Recognising ‘thin places’ where heaven and earth were close and where people could more easily connect with God.
We were invited to go and touch / smell / see / listen to God’s creation and recognise God there.
4. Contemplation and mission Seeing life as a journey – both an inner journey to and with God and the need to go out to others to share faith.
It was suggested that we follow a path – to take a journey and reflect on how our Lenten journey was going so far… To ask God if there is anyone we needed to go to in some way… to know God with us – as a light to our feet, as a shield overshadowing us, beside us on our left and on our right.
5. Understanding of time Seeing time as sacred, to be used wisely and well. God as ‘I Am’ meaning that past present and future are all linked.
We were invited to embrace the now – connecting to all that has been and all that will be; to ask God to help us to manage our time well so that it is a gift to us and not our slave-driver!
Back at the bandstand we considered the last elements of the Celtic expression of faith.
6. Hospitality Everyone welcomed and treated as equally made in God’s image. Unusually for the time, the early Celtic Christians had women leaders e.g. Hilda, Brigid, Ebba…
We shared news of those who needed our prayers and prayed for them and asked for opportunities to offer hospitality to more people.
7. Spiritual warfare Using ‘encircling’ prayers (Caim prayers) and setting up stone crosses in recognition of evil as real and the importance of prayer and the difference it can make.
We used the Caim prayer below as we circled those named:
God to enfold us, God to surround us, God in our speaking, God in our thinking.
God in our loving, God in our giving,
God in our healing, God in our hoping.
God in our sleeping, God in our waking,
God over us, God under us,
God behind us, God before us,
God beside us on our left and on our right.
(Adapted from the Northumbria Community’s prayers)
We shared bread and wine as we recognised that we and all are welcomed to the table…
8. Trinitarian belief Being aware of God the Father for us, the Son with us and the Spirit in us. (St. Patrick’s Breastplate hymn. ‘I bind unto myself this day the strong Name of the Trinity.’) The idea that community begins in the person of God and all community flows from this.
For this we gathered in a circle around each household in turn and prayed this blessing upon them:
May God our Mother-Father protect you, hold you and comfort you
May God the Son accompany you, encourage you and inspire you
And may the Holy Spirit fill you, equip you and gift you
Today and always.
9. Love of learning Creative gifts encouraged (Music, story, calligraphy, jewellery etc. all seen as ‘windows on heaven’)
This final element was set as a homework with a Celtic image of a tree (copied from Google images!) to be coloured prayerfully, meditatively, with each leaf a person connected to ThirdSpace from the past, present and future…
Lovely to spend time with everyone again – as ever! We hope this might prove useful to anyone visiting our site and wanting to use this themselves. There is something so significant about connecting with the past…