I was thinking about how we at Celtic Way represent the Celtic Christian tradition in the United States in the 21st century. It is a topic which fills my thoughts frequently. Like many of us who are passionate about a particular subject we can dig into it with great zeal and after some time we learn that there is more to learn than we can ever learn! Such fun! Celtic Christianity is so broad and covers quite a large span of time that it really is impossible for us to speak of THE Celtic Christian tradition.
We at Celtic Way are greatly influenced by ancient Celtic Christian writers as well as contemporary authors. I am indebted to John Philip Newell for the tremendous work and creativity he has generously shared with so many. There is Ray Simpson, The Northumbria Community and the Community on Iona. We all have much in common and some differences as well. We are so blessed to live in a time when this expression of Christianity is moving throughout our country and in different pockets around the globe.
As I personally move into the holiday of Thanksgiving, I am particularly grateful for a slice of the Celtic stream which provides us with blessing for all aspects of life. One only has to read the Carmina Gadelica to experience God in and through everyday life. Then there is John O’Donohue’s, To Bless the Space Between Us, which calls us to renew the art of blessing. Last but not least is Ray Simpson’s work, Celtic Blessings: Prayers for Everyday Life which covers the blessing of cars, motorcycles, miscarriage, sports, well, you get the idea.
I deeply appreciate this aspect of Celtic Christianity. We are called to embrace all that life has to offer. As we approach the holidays let us remember that the great magnifying glass will come upon all of us. If we happen to be doing well then we might feel even better; but if life is difficult, that too could be intensified. Engaging “all of life” can be tricky waters to navigate. There is no easy answers here, no quick remedies.
There are the invitations to walk with others, especially our Soul Friend; there is the promise of Presence from the Risen Christ to always be with us. James Finley said, “That in God’s care for us, God spares us from no- thing and sustains us in all things.” I am encouraged by these words that echo the Celtic embrace of all of life that does not see God as the divine rescuer but the One who sustains us when we cannot sustain ourselves. Celebrating Thanksgiving is taking stock of where we are in our journey. It is not a cheap version of “feel-good” religious dribble. It IS about recognition of the blessing we have from one another in the midst of all that life has in store. Be present. Be present to yourselves, to one another, and to God. Be Presence to all.
A most blessed Thanksgiving Day,
Creative Director, Celtic Way