I have just attended a local preacher training day about Celtic Christianity. My journey to Chandler’s Ford by bus started badly with a very long wait at the bus stop, but I was lucky with the second bus, so arrived in time.
It was good to be reminded of the Celtic understanding that the whole of life is sacred, worship can be part of everyday experience, and the natural world speaks of the glory of God. Imagination can play an important part in worship; poetry is a wonderful vehicle of God’s grace. The phrase from St Patrick’s Lorica that grabbed me was ‘Christ in mouth of friend and stranger’.
I knew about the Celtic concept of ‘thin places’, where earth and heaven seem to touch, where God’s presence is more readily experienced: places like Iona and St David’s. I thought it was their remoteness and beauty that gave them this special characteristic, but I was wrong. In Celtic Times, 4th–8th centuries, these were busy places, harbours on the shipping routes which were the ‘motorways of their day’, to quote our speaker, Revd Dr Stephen Skuce, the Principal of Cliff College.
So when we were challenged to write a prayer in the Celtic tradition (in 10 minutes!!), I didn’t write about the glories of nature. Instead I tried to let my morning experience of the bus stop lead my thoughts. I wasn’t brave enough to read it out, but having worked in a little more I offer it for your reflection.
Lord of all life,
open my eyes to see you in the people around me.
I’m standing at the bus stop
so many people waiting,
so many hurrying past,
so many anxious faces.
Two teenagers, totally absorbed, listening to music
oblivious of all else,
A group of chattering children, running, skipping, their
faces alight with the enjoyment of life.
Lord help me to see you in each of them.
Give me the child’s delight in the ordinary.
Help me to stay tuned in to your presence and your guidance,
don’t let me be diverted by trivia.
Teach me I have no need to be anxious.
Lord of all life
Your love surrounds us always and everywhere.
Thank you that you speak to us in our everyday experience.