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My Buddy Heraclitus

Heraclitus, (540 bce, died 480 bce), Greek philosopher remembered for his cosmology, in which fire forms the basic material principle of an orderly universe. Viewing fire as the essential material uniting all things, Heraclitus wrote that the world order is an “ever-living fire kindling in measures and being extinguished in measures.” In other words, the universe is dynamic, living, growing, evolving just like all other living things!

I love to read Heraclitus early in the morning. He also said, “You cannot step into the same river twice. (My loose translation.) Life is the river that is always moving. It is fitting that I dub, Heraclitus as the patron philosopher for the summer quarter of the year! Hear! Hear!

Watch! If spring is the season of the dawning light, summer is the season of growth, abundance (think, crops!), fire, as in the Fire falling upon the disciples at Pentecost. Think passion, energy flowing and moving, think hot summer days running and playing outside as a kid. Picture life itself reaching its fullness and singing, “I’m alive!” “I am alive!”

This is summer. This is why the festival of Pentecost for both Jews and Christians pops up at this time of year. What was planted, prayed over, hoped for finally is ripe and ready for the first harvest of the year. Red apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, juicy melons in red, green and yellowish orange; plentiful vegetables and grains for warm bread soaked in butter.

When May Day arrived, the ancient Celts used to have a celebration that lasted all day and into the night. Two fires were built just far enough apart so they could walk their cattle, sheep, and goats between them and give them a blessing. The blessing was for fertility, as the villagers would need the next generation of animals for food, milk, skins for clothing. Then as the sun set, the couples, who had pledged themselves to each other would walk between the fires and pray for the same life-giving energy to well up inside of them and run off into the woods and make love, thus ensuring another generation!

There is a fire burning within us as well. The needs of this world are many; I do not need to tell you that. Good seeds of love, hope, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation among many others were sown during Lent and Easter. Now the flame has fallen. We are burning inside with the love and compassion of this risen Christ. It is time to unleash the flames of goodness, justice, and more in this world. Do not be fooled into thinking we are too small to make a difference. As that old camp song goes, “It only takes a spark…”

In Christ, Father Scott

Scott Jenkins is the Creative Director for Celtic Way.

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