The last few years have seen an extraordinary revival of interest in the beliefs and practices of the first Christian communities in the British Isles. People hunger for a rhythm of worship which has roots, which reflects the human concerns of our time, yet also lets heaven into our everyday world - an expression of Christianity which enables them to enjoy God's presence, to experience awe and to express spontaneity, variety and local colour.
Celtic Christianity brings us back to our common Christian ancestry and heritage and cuts through the numerous divisions and barriers that have been created by Christians over the last thousand years or so. It offers a simple, yet deep, approach to prayer and worship.
Worship was central to the life of the Christian communities which flourished in the British Isles between the sixth and tenth centuries AD. These communities went about their daily tasks conscious of God's presence and blessing in even the most mundane aspects of life. They steeped themselves in the language and images of the Psalms. They regularly met together to praise God, to express their deep penitence to Him for their failings, and to ask for His protection in a dangerous and threatening world. Their worship was characterised by simplicity, freshness, rhythm and brevity.
Celtic spirituality can refresh our ways of coming into God's presence and speaking with Him. It naturally and powerfully finds the presence of God in all things - the reality of His protective power and enfolding love, the blessings of creation, the closeness of the angels and the hosts of heaven, and a real sense of the communion of saints.
Celtic Christianity has become an important part of my own spirituality and discipleship and I have been associated with the Iona Community for many years. I find Iona refreshing and invigorating - if you ever get the chance why not visit Iona? There are also a good number of books about Celtic Christianity. If you would like to find out more, I would be happy to recommend some further reading.
A Celtic Benediction
Deep peace of the Running Wave to you.
Deep peace of the Flowing Air to you.
Deep peace of the Quiet Earth to you.
Deep peace of the Shining Stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
With every blessing.
Rev'd Stephen Abbott
On a personal note...
Anne and I celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary when we were on holiday in Jersey last month. We would very much like to have a further celebration with our friends in the Benefice, now that we are home.
I am very pleased to say that Archdeacon John Cox has agreed to Celebrate and Preach at the Benefice Service at Wickhambrook on 14th August at 10.00am, during which we will also renew our Wedding vows. It was Archdeacon John who brought us to this Diocese, when he interviewed me for the Incumbency of Brandon in 1996.
Everyone is warmly invited to join us for this joyful occasion and for refreshments in the Benefice Hall afterwards. Hope to see you there.
Stephen & Anne