Posts Tagged ‘Celtic’

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! I know the holiday carries a different significance for everyone or none at all. The day is important to me not for the legends of “chasing the snakes out of Ireland” or the privilege of pinching random people without prosecution. St. Patrick’s Day reminds me of the man himself and all the reasons why Celtic Christianity has kept me from abandoning the faith altogether.

I’ve written many posts about my affinity for Celtic Christianity, one such overall post is A Generous View of Life. I respect most that St. Patrick himself did not return to Ireland to enforce his way upon others. He did not banish all of the local traditions and split the people into groups of insiders/outsiders. He actually adapted many of the local customs, even pagan customs, to use them as an means of teaching Christian values. More so, he did not teach a dogmatic absolute theology. Rather he chose to live and model those values as an example before others. He focused more on being incarnational and missional rather than dogmatic and confrontational. By living your faith and modeling it before others, sermonizing becomes unnecessary.

I also appreciate that Celtic Christians were “people driven by ideas.” They were open rather than closed. They left themselves open to others. They left their faith open to mystery. Both principles are often pandered to but hard to find.

In case you’re still wondering, there were no snakes in Ireland to start with. Consider yourself pinched.

Last year I discovered Mindy Smith’s amazing Christmas album, My Holiday, and played it over and over until January. I loved it most for being fresh and original tracks sung by one of my favorite artists. I’m trying to find new songs or fresh intereprations for this Christmas season also. Here’s the playlist I’ve found so far that’s worth taking a listen to. Enjoy!

  • Celtic Woman – Christmas Album
  • “Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson on The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs
  • “The Heartache Can Wait” by Brandi Carlile on The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs
  • “All My Bells Are Ringing” by Lenka on The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs
  • “Maybe Next Year (X-Mas Song)” by Meiko on The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs
  • “Winter Wonderland” by Kate Havnevik on The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs
  • “The Christmas Song” by Catherine Feeny on The Hotel Café Presents Winter Songs
  • “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” by Enya on And Winter Came
  • “And Winter Came” by Enya on And Winter Came
  • “The Spirit of Christmas Past” by Enya on And Winter Came
  • “Last Time By Moonlight” by Enya on And Winter Came
  • “White Is In the Winter Night” by Enya on And Winter Came
  • “White Christmas” by Michael Bublé on Let It Snow!
  • “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Michael Bublé on Let It Snow!
  • “Grown-Up Christmas List” by Michael Bublé on Let It Snow!
  • “The Christmas Song” by Michael Bublé on Let It Snow!
  • “Some Children See Him” by James Taylor on James Taylor At Christmas
  • “In the Bleak Midwinter” by James Taylor on James Taylor At Christmas
  • “River” by Sarah McLachlan on Wintersong
  • “Wintersong” by Sarah McLachlan on Wintersong
  • “What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)” by Sarah McLachlan on Wintersong
  • “Song for a Winter’s Night” by Sarah McLachlan on Wintersong
  • “That’s What I Want for Christmas” by Jessie Baylin on That’s What I Want for Christmas
  • “Christmas Time Is Here” by Diana Krall on Christmas Songs
  • “Glorious” by Melissa Etheridge on A New Thought for Christmas
  • “Christmas In America” by Melissa Etheridge on A New Thought for Christmas
  • “Light a Light” by Melissa Etheridge on A New Thought for Christmas
  • “Mistletoe” by Colbie Caillat on Mistletoe – Single

If I were to go back and download the full album from any of these, it would definately be Sarah McLachlan’s Wintersong, Enya’s And Winter Came, and Melissa Etheridge’s A New Thought for Christmas.

Psss.. lean forward a little bit. Everyone is asleep, so we can’t talk too loud. Many of you night owls like me may still be up, but some of you early birds may be reading this before 7:00am. God bless you. I’ve always enjoyed being up early enough to see the sunrise, but I only do it if I’m going fishing. 99% of the time I stay up late and get up when I have to, which is usually when my boys are screaming in the living room or jumping in my bed.

I’ve always stayed up late as long as I could get away with it. Back when I had a bedtime, I would lay in my bed staring at the ceiling while my mind raced full throttle sorting the events of the day and the problems of the world. I love the night. It’s sooo quiet. I love silence. I crave it.

Most of my late night hours are whittled away watching television and surfing the net. Sometimes I read a book. Sometimes I do all three, and there’s always a snack involved. I get hungry after 11:00am. My favorite late night food is a bowl of cereal, cookies and milk, or ice cream, oh, and alcohol. I usually don’t drink straight spirits or mixers until after everyone else is asleep. Drinking makes me sleepy. For the nights when I’m stressed to the max or pacing over tomorrow I’ve found melatonin to be helpful in knocking me out.

Almost every night that I’m home, I watch the Evening Mass on the Catholic network EWTN that ends at midnight. It just ended. It’s a private personal ritual, at least till now. It’s very peaceful and helps me to find my center in a way that’s hard to explain. The music is often ethereal. I don’t let theology or doctrine ruin it for me.

Often after watching a movie I get very contemplative and philosophical, so I’ll blog, like I am tonight, or I’ll read a book before I close my eyes. Usually, I’ll read and pray the Evening Prayers and Complines from Celtic Daily Prayer.

Tonight I thought I’d share a few moments of the most sacred time in my day with you. I’m off to get a bowl of cereal to end my day but hoped that you might share these prayers with me:

My soul waits for the Lord
more than those
who watch for the morning,
more than those
who watch for the morning.

I will lie down and sleep in peace
for You alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.

My dear ones, O God, bless Thou and keep,
in every place where they are.

Be it on Thine own beloved arm,
O God of grace,
that I in peace shall waken.

The peace of all peace
be mine this night
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

The New Year has been a great opportunity to go deeper in my faith. It has had a tremendous psychological benefit to start fresh with new practices to strengthen my faith. My friends and I have been discussing the three major emphases of the emerging church, as I understand them: Inward Journey (spiritual formation), Corporate Journey (community formation), and Outward Journey (missional action). While we have committed to meet weekly in a small group environment to further our pursuit of Biblical community, we are also trying to hold each other accountable for the Inward Journey. All of us may be utilizing different devotional practices, but we are all united in making time with God a priority in our daily lives.

For a couple months I have been enjoying the online daily prayer site, Sacred Space, provided by the Irish Jesuits. My only reservation is that it is very short. I have felt compelled to join the tradition of so many other Christ followers in Morning and Evening prayer. There is something about the rhythm of devotion that is very meaningful to me. This led me to research Celtic Spirituality more, hoping to find something akin to the Book of Common Prayer used by our Anglican and Episcopal brethren. I discovered Celtic Daily Prayer which is prayer and readings from the Northumbria Community.

The Northumbria Community is actually a dispersed community with Companions all over the United Kingdom as well as internationally. They describe their community as “a conscious attempt to find a practical modern expression of a new monasticism, which preserves an uncompromising allegiance to the imperatives of the Sermon on the Mount.” They are united by three fundamental commitments. The first common commitment is taking vows of “availability and vulnerability” both to God and others. The second commitment is to their “Rule, ‘A Way for Living,’ which embraces a dogged fidelity to the Sermon on the Mount as an expression of Christian discipleship.” The third commitment is to pray the Daily Office.

The Daily Office is primarily marked by Morning and Evening Prayers, but they also include Midday Prayer and the Compline (bedtime) which are optional. I would spare you my inadequate description of the Daily Office and urge you to pray it for yourself for a day, a week, or a season, as a fresh approach to your own spiritual formation.

You may be wondering like myself, how a former Southern Baptist pastor came to a structured repetitious prayer life. For me my prayer life has never been disciplined. It has often been taken hostage by my feelings and the circumstances of the day. While my conversation with God has always been ongoing in whispers throughout the day, I have been craving a deeper walk with Him. These devotional practices predate our modern program Christianity by hundreds of years. Though I have been guilty of being dogmatic in my beliefs in the past, I am not so arrogant as to believe we all have it right and the saints of the ages had it all wrong. There is a measure of comfort and strength in walking down a well trodden path, when you know it leads to the garden.

I am not promoting anything to anyone, just sharing where I am in my own personal journey. Today is the first day since I received my copy of Celtic Daily Prayer that I have actually prayed the Daily Office completely from Morning to Midday to Evening to Compline. I want to encourage you to find whatever works for you. Whatever time using whatever tool that helps you to prioritize and realize your time spent with God. I share this old Celtic blessing as a prayer for you:

O God, make clear to us each road.
O God, make safe to us each step;
when we stumble, hold us;
when we fall, lift us up.
When we are hard-pressed with evil,
deliver us;
and bring us at last to Your glory.