“What was your favorite part of Scotland? asked my son’s teenage friend. “Hill walking,” I told her, “hiking down into a glen full of sheep who bleated and baa-ed at us for interrupting their grazing. Crossing their pasture to the beach beyond, a beach covered in rocks and pebbles of white marble, pink granite, jasper and Iona green stone. The beach is named St. Columba’s Bay.”
I was too shy to tell her the truth - that my favorite part was the time and space to pray, with people who love to pray, in places where Christian people have prayed for 1400 years, Celtic people for whom prayer and worship and work were a three-plied, undivided way of life.
I was too shy to say my favorite part was feeling like an adopted child finally meeting her birth parents, the sensation of being suddenly at home in my own soul. Alas, other people for whom the jump of a whale, the sound of the wind, the smell of warm earth and the miracle of flowers are as real an experience of God as any studied text. People who find themselves as in awe of God in the forest, the garden, and the ocean as in the cathedral.
I was too shy to admit the relief I felt to discover ancestors who valued stories, poems, songs and prayers far more highly than nice buildings, sound theology and efficient organizations. They lived their faith in order to understand it - instead of understanding it in order to believe. No need to defend or explain anything in order to believe ~ what utter relief and joy simply to enjoy the awesome reality of being alive in the greater life of creation. Joyful relief to realize my most intimate experience of God is not some some suspect New Age fad, but an ancient way of faith.
Celtic believers did not organize life by family, work, faith. It would not have occured to them to think of the world as sacred and secular nor the self as body, mind and spirit. God is in and through all ~ all of life is prayer and worship. It is a way that feels to me very much like home. peace & prayers, pastor annette