While the West values money, fame, power and success, unearthing the treasures from the Celtic tradition, can enrich and transform our lives. Here’s a quick outline of some of these riches:
Caring for Creation
Celtic Christians cared for the environment and rejoiced in creation. Like the well known Celtic symbol, the Celtic knot, they could see God woven into everything and celebrated him in every aspect of their lives. They enjoyed his presence even when doing the most mundane of tasks like milking the cows, or kindling the fire and they said special prayers to accompany these activities. (See yesterdays blog).
Their simple lifestyle, uncluttered by materialism, enabled them to appreciate more fully the generosity and abundance of God. And they thanked God for everything in their daily lives, like the sunrise, the provision of food and the blessing of friends:
Bless to us, O God
The morning sun that is above us,
The good earth that is beneath us,
The friends that are around us,
Your image deep within us,
The day which is before us.
Joy and Community was integral to the Celts way of life, because it was seen as being part of the abundant life God promises in John’s Gospel I came to give life - life in all its fullness (John 10:10 CEV). As the Celts were particularly drawn to the teachings of John they believed God wanted them to celebrate, because having fun is a hallmark of a vibrant community.
Community and Hospitality
The Celts understood that their love of God and each other was at the heart of the Gospel message and so building community and offering hospitality was central to their way of life.
The Celts were a highly creative people, producing pottery and woodwork, metalwork and elaborate jewellery as well as creating exquisitely beautiful manuscripts like the Lindisfarne Gospels and the Book of Kells.
A ceilidh, which is known today as a popular social dance event, was originally a social gathering and could include story telling, songs, poems, proverbs and ballads, but not necessarily dance. I love the idea of people sharing their God-given creativity in this way, but then creativity was seen as a natural expression of worship to the Celts.
Adapted from Celtic Treasure (Lion Hudson 2009) Liz Babbs