“The ordinances of God are the fundamentals of how we get initiated into faith. Repetitive practice and exposure to prayer, worship, Scripture reading and study, the Eucharist and even the lost discipline of fasting all help to mature us as Christian disciples.”
Mary Fletcher was the first woman John Wesley permitted to preach in the 1770s. Her journals, diaries, and letters embody the largest collection of Methodist papers in existence with the sole exception of John Wesley’s papers. There are times I’ve wondered if a Lenten fast is nullified by Easter feasting. But in reading Mary Fletcher’s journals, noting the ebb and flow with which she made entries, I understood her seasons of profuse writing were not negated by the seasons of terseness.
Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, and John Wesley: One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn’t belong. If…
Walking over the grassy hillocks and along the rocky shoreline to which these men brought Christianity to England, I discovered spiritual roots that allowed me to draw deeply from the wellspring that feeds the soul of every Christian.
In the darkest nights of our hurts, fears, rejections, that is where Christ longs to be. That is where Christ’s light goes.
If Advent is the Christian New Year, what things am I called to do, or do I need to do differently, starting now, for Christ and for the world, that should not wait for a New Year resolution on January 1?
Always, the Celtic knots and strands twist and braid a pattern that is beautiful and elegant, at once demonstrating the complexity of God’s creativity and the simplicity or unity that marks all things as God’s creation.
The Celtic tradition reflects this integration of mind, body and soul. Whether it be the kneading of bread, the weaving of cloth, the shearing of sheep or the plowing of fields, there is a mind and body synergy that allows the worker to engage the craft in such a way that their work becomes a prayer.
The plea and blessing she sought from God wasn’t just hers alone. Guests and visitors who arrived to a home in which the daily chores were being tended greeted their hosts with the Gaelic blessing Bail o Dhia which translates to, ‘God’s blessing on the work!’ The declaration of such a blessing expressed the implicit knowledge that the monotonous backbreaking work was not simply the laborer’s alone but a joint effort blessed by God upon which all of society depended.
If we pay attention to the Celtic woman’s kindling prayer, we realize what she prays for is more than a comfortable home. She asks God to kindle a flame of love within her heart that will reach out beyond herself to include her neighbors. As she attends to the basic needs of her home, she is also looking beyond her family to take care of the needs of others. Her kindling prayer reflects the nature of the Triune Godhead who is whole, complete and integrated as its own self, yet bothers to invite humanity to share in the gift of divine love.