Winwaloe and Piran

winwaloe

Two Cornish saints are commemorated this week – St Winwaloe on March 3rd, and St Piran on 5th March.

Winwaloe is often called a Breton saint as he lived there and founded churches in Brittany. However, his parents were Cornish and moved to Brittany to escape a plague.

He did return to found church communities in Cornwall.

Winawaloe is also known for founding churches in various places in England and Wales.

Piran is venerated as the patron saint of Cornwall (and of tin miners), and the Cornish flag is the flag of St Piran.

If you are interested to discover more about Cornish saints, take a look here.

Gool Peran Lowen, as they say in Cornish!

goolperan

Rooted and Grounded


Kernow Community was created in the spring of 2014, born out of a dream and a passion for authentic community based on the Celtic monastic tradition with a vision to honour and explore the ‘ancient paths’.

The pages seemed to pour out of me as though I were inspired…

…and then nothing happened.

I expected local believers here in Cornwall to be immediately on board but despite my prayers and efforts,   there was no interest at all. Local priests and pastors looked, but showed no interest. Even my eldest son who was enthusiastic at the beginning lost his passion as he became increasingly physically and mentally unwell.

And so began for me a season of waiting and learning hard lessons of trust and obedience and patience while various aspects of my life seemed to crumble around me.

Just this week I have been praying and asking God whether He has a purpose for Kernow community or whether I, like my friend (see the most recent blog post – Questioning the vision) mis-heard or misunderstood the call.

I would be very happy for you to journey alongside me.

You must be aware though that Kernow community is very far from being an established community – although it is certainly still my dream and desire that it should grow to be established to be a blessing to all.

But at this stage it is still just a dream, a hope, a kernel of a seed. Perhaps if we water it with our prayers (and tears), God will give the increase.

This now is my prayer for you, from Ephesians 3:14-21

Ephesians 3:14-20King James Version (KJV)

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Shoshana 

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

salt

Every year at this time, Christians are reminded of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples and, by extension, all Christians and followers of Jesus today:

“That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” – John 17:21

… and invited to pray for the Unity of the Christian Church as a witness to the World of the love of Jesus for them.

My parents were brought up to be hardline protestants who viewed the Roman Catholic church as the arch-enemy, and they were appalled at the idea of ecumenicism, believing it to be some kind of nefarious plot of the devil to “mix truth with error”, and they looked with horror at the spectre of some future “One World Church” with the Pope as head, and government-controlled and sanctioned beliefs.

I’m still a protestant (which essentially means that I do not accept the authority of the Roman Catholic church over the whole church), but I have grown to respect and appreciate much about the Catholic and Orthodox churches. I count many Roman Catholics as my closest friends. I can see beauty and meaning in a lot of the things that my traditions have rejected.

I don’t necessarily agree with everything that I learn though of course.

But actually, ecumenicism isn’t about joining together to throw off doctrine so we can fully agree with each other – I think that, if we did, we would all be poorer, with a wishy-washy, watered down version of the faith that ends up having less power and impact because of it.

No. In fact, we don’t need to agree with each other. We don’t even really need to fully understand each other.

What we do need to do, however, is to love each other.

“By this all men will know that ye are my disciples – that ye love one another.”

Of course, understanding may help, and so Kernow Community is my humble attempt to invite people – Christians and non-Christians – whatever your background or denomination, who are interested in looking at the roots of our faith, to see where we have come from, how we have developed differently over the last 2000 years, and to learn to love and respect each other despite our differences.

week_of_prayer_logo_2016

Resources:

Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity can be downloaded from Churches Together in Britain & Ireland here.

From the World Council of Churches here.

From the Vatican here.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!” – Psalm 133:1

The Celtic Year

CelticYear

The Celtic Year by Shirley Toulson is a month-by-month list of Celtic saints with recommended ‘pilgrimages’ to make in every month.

It is put together in a peculiar arrangement of pagan seasons: Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas.

But an unexpected delight in this book is the attention that the author has drawn attention to the fact that the very early Celtic church very much resembled the earliest, ancient Jewish Christian church, before it became influenced by more powerful forces.

Toulson also points out how the early pagan Celtic year resembled the Jewish year in many respects – a calendar based on the moon rather than the sun, counting the day from sunset to sunset rather than midnight to midnight, and the year from the autumn harvest instead of midwinter for example.

Additionally, the timing of the Celtic pagan festivals at the cross-quarter days, rather than the solstices and equinoxes of Anglo-Saxon and Roman paganism, are not far removed at all from the Jewish festivals. So when primitive Jewish Christianity came to Britain, as there is ample evidence it did, it would not have been an enormously difficult task to convert these pagan festivals to the new God of Christianity.

A nice, easy-to-read primer on the early Celtic church.

The New Monasticism Gets Older, But Will it Grow Up?

This post is a year old, but I saw it for the first time today and thought it worth sharing.

“The New Monasticism Gets Older, But Will it Grow Up? by Greg Peters”
On Protestant, evangelical monasticism.

I thought this quote from John Henry Newman was particularly interesting:

“Clergymen at present are subject to the painful experience of losing the more religious portion of their flock. . . . They desire to be stricter than the mass of churchmen, and the church gives them no means.”

We prefer the word ‘spiritual’ over ‘religious’ these days, but the same is true nevertheless.

Does the longing for deeper devotion than the churches offer resonate with you?

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/03/the-new-monasticism-gets-older

[The link above will take you away from us, as I haven’t figured out how to open a new tab via my mobile! So please do bookmark us before you go!]

Divine Mercy

This morning, I completely lost my temper. I was driving a bus-load of people (my children, actually) on a trip, and I lost my way, repeatedly. We may have been given the worst map ever created, but my total lack of a sense of direction probably played a part.

After the 16th* wrong turn, my patience – already wearing thin – completely ran out. There were tears. There was screaming and shouting, swearing and slamming of doors. It was all very Celtic, in fact. (I don’t have red hair for nothing!)

By the end of it, after I had traumatised my children and made myself thoroughly ashamed of my behaviour, we did actually arrive at our destination.

The proverbial ‘devil’ on one shoulder thoroughly condemned me, for being a bad driver, a bad parent, and a bad Christian, not at all qualified to guide anybody else through the disciplines!

Thankfully though, I didn’t need to listen to the voice of the little ‘devil’, as I know that God’s righteousness, perfection, peace and mercy is more than a match for my weakness and failures.

Today in the Roman Catholic calendar it is Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast upon which the sacrament of Confession is encouraged, and forgiveness promised.

In the evangelical tradition with which I am familiar, however, of course there is no sacramental confession to a priest, and we tend not to practice confession at all, but in the letter of St James, there is the admonition to confess our sins to one another:

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
James 5:16 (NIV)

So I am confessing my sin and failure and weakness here to you and I ask that you would pray for me, so that I “may be healed” – of my anger and lack of self control (and poor sense of direction!).

The forgiveness that comes after confession makes us righteous, and so our prayers will be all the more effective.

May my Celtic temperament and passion be put to better use!

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be forever,
Amen.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_Mercy_Sunday
(Opens another tab – please bookmark us before you leave!)

*a random number, hopefully 16 is an exaggeration 🙂

Counting Through Eastertide

High King of Heaven
Who hath given us the Paschal Lamb
And raised this same Jesus to life

Be with us as we count the days
Of Eastertide

Journeying with You
To the revelation
Of Your Great Spirit
At Pentecost

In the Name of the Father, Son and Spirit, three-in-one
We pray
Amen

This week is the Feast of Unleavened Bread and, for Jews, the first week of the Counting of the Omer leading up to Shavuot. 

“You shall count from the eve of the second day of Passover, when an omer of grain is to be brought as an offering, seven complete weeks. The day after the seventh week of your counting will make fifty days, and you shall present a new meal offering to God.
Leviticus 23:15-16).”

Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are linked to the Feast of Weeks, Shavuot (Whitsun or Pentecost) by the Counting of the Omer. 

While Passover is the celebration of redemption and freedom from slavery, The Feast of Weeks is the celebration of revelation, and traditionally the time of the giving of the Law, the Torah.

If you read what happened in the days following Passover (Exodus 12 and following), you will be able to see how God prepared His people for revelation:  there was the parting of the Red Sea, the bitter waters of Marah, the time of respite at Elim, their murmurings for food, the giving of manna, the attack by Amalek and so on, all of which happened during the period of the Counting of the Omer. 

Perhaps the reading of these events could be part of your own preparation for Pentecost.  

We can also read of the events following the resurrection of Yeshua in the Gospels and the book of Acts.  The 40 days that Yeshua spent with His disciples were the first 40 days of the Counting of the Omer. 

These events also prepared them for the special receiving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Jerusalem.  

Ten days before this first century Shavuot, Yeshua’s disciples ask Him their final question:

“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 1:6-8

The disciples were understandably preoccupied with the political situation of their day and the time line for future events.  Yeshua brought them back to His priority – being a witness of who He is.  The power of the Holy Spirit would be given to them to enable them to accomplish this mission. 

It is just as true today as it was then.  

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
Matthew 6:33

Yeshua spoke about the need to avoid leaven:

“Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
Luke 12:1

We are truly unleavened because of Yeshua, our Passover Lamb:

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
1 Corinthians 5:7

Leaven is of course a metaphor for sin, and has to do with the heart. Unleavened bread then represents purity of heart. 

Because of what Yeshua has accomplished for us, we must walk out His character:

“Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
1 Corinthians 5:8

During this week of Unleavened Bread, while we are eating bread without leaven, in our hearts and minds we need to be getting rid of the fleshly leaven of self and get ready to accept the good leaven of His kingdom!

“For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God….Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness…in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”
Colossians 3:3-8

“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.”
1 Peter 2:1-2

By the time of Shavuot, the Israelites were asked to bring a wave offering of two loaves of leavened bread. 

Why leaven now?  Why not just do away with leaven completely? 

In fact, leaven is not always regarded as a symbol of evil.  Yeshua used the image of a woman adding leaven to a lump of dough to signify the (invisible) spread of the kingdom of God in the earth:

“And again He said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? “It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”
Luke 13:20-21

This is our goal.  To put away our fleshly leaven and be filled with the spiritual leaven that expands the kingdom. 

Next week we can once again introduce leaven into our diet.   What kind of leaven will it be?

“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:1

The traditional blessing in Hebrew and English is:

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’Olam asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tizivanu al sefirat ha’omer.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to count the omer.

~

The prayer at the top of the page here is my attempt at writing a Celtic prayer to mark the counting of days through Eastertide.

~
Over on Twitter, we’re posting the day count on @CelticOrder

Counting the #Omer from #FirstFruits #Pascha #Easter to #Whitsun #Pentecost #Shavuot
#Eastertide

St Patrick’s Breastplate

The prayer of St Patrick is known as St Patrick’s Breastplate because it is a Lorica, a Latin word originally meaning armour, and later referring to the incantation of a prayer written on the breastplate of a medieval knight before he went into battle, the idea linking the two no doubt originating with the apostle Paul’s admonition to wear the ‘breastplate of righteousness’ in Ephesians 6:1.

The first stanza of St Patrick’s Breastplate is well known, but here is the full version in English:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
gainst the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Happy St Patrick’s Day! May you be blessed by the God whom he knew and loved.

Advent

adventwreath

Advent is the beginning of the traditional church year. This year, the first Sunday in advent falls on the 30th November, also St Andrew’s Day. (St Andrew is of course the Patron Saint of the Celtic country of Scotland.)

In the Celtic church, Advent – like many of the other festivals – was counted differently from that of the Roman church, as a 40 day period of preparation, much like Lent, starting around the middle of November (depending on whether or not sabbaths are counted) – not so much a preparation for Christmas, but rather for the return of the King.

In the early Jewish church, it is likely that this 40 day period of preparation was originally linked to the season of repentance running up to the High Holy Days – Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), Yom Teruah (The Day of Trumpets, known in Judaism as Rosh haShanah, Jewish New Year), and Sukkot, (The Feast of Tabernacles, Booths or Shelters, the final harvest festival of the Jewish year, and thought to be the Puritan Pilgrims’ inspiration for Thanksgiving).

All of the Autumn festivals have prophetic significance, and Sukkot in particular is linked to the return of the Messiah and the great Marriage Feast of Christ and his bride, the Church (Greek: Ekklesia, Hebrew: Kahal, both meaning a ‘called out body of people’. The Israelites in the Wilderness are sometimes referred to as the ‘Church in the Wilderness’.).

It is not known when the traditions associated with the High Holy Days of the early church migrated to the midwinter festival, but it was in any event a very early change, and it is impossible to know whether the early Celtic church retained the earlier Jewish traditions or the later customs. If Gildas was right in saying that the British church was founded in AD 37, however, it is conceivable that the earliest Celtic Christians celebrated Sukkot in the same way that we now celebrate Christmas, to celebrate Messiah’s birth and to look forward to his return.

Whenever you celebrate the first advent of Messiah, whether it be in the Autumn with the Jewish believers, or at midwinter with the Roman church, let us say together of his return, ‘Come Lord Jesus’.

Maranatha!

Morning

“I arise today
Through the strength of heaven –
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendour of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.”

Source unknown (Early Scottish)
Quoted in “The SPCK Book of Christian Prayer”
Published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

It is a lovely big, thick book, with over 450 pages of prayers of various flavours. I haven’t found many specifically Celtic prayers so far, but I have only dipped in to it really. I have it from the library, but I don’t think that a couple of weeks will be quite enough to make the most of this big book, so it is going on my wishlist.