Mar 17, 2014

Reflections on St. Patrick's Day

A few things I've been thinking about....

St. Patrick is in the same category as St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, real people who have been reduced to cartoon-like effigies in order to celebrate a secular holiday. And to a history buff, that's a bit annoying.

However, who among us would even have heard of these saints without these holidays? So it's a mixed blessing.

Most people are happy not knowing anything about these saints. That's just how it is. Nothing wrong with having fun with friends.

St. Patrick's Day has become a day to celebrate all things Irish, which is not a bad thing at all. It's certainly good for Irish tourism, and it's a day to celebrate and pay tribute to one's Irish heritage.

The day encourages people to seek out who St. Patrick was, and with the internet today, so much information is accessible. Hopefully they'll be inspired by what they find. (You can even search this blog to find out more.)

St. Patrick's Breastplate (not written during his lifetime, but probably by someone who was influenced by his legacy.)

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgement of Doom.
I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In prediction of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.
I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me.
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and souls,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
so that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation

Mar 11, 2014

A Celtic Voice Within a Traditional American Church

My editor put a link to this interview on my Facebook page. I thought you might like to hear it. It's an interview with Sally Howell Johnson, a minister in the UMC, which is the demonination I belong to. She's originally from Ohio, which is something else we have in common.

Jan 9, 2014

Take an Irish Blessing With You!

This was the title of a workshop I taught recently. My idea was to put some Irish sayings and blessings on bookmarks--something you could take with you when you're out and about. If you're crafty (more crafty hopefully than I am) you might want to create your own bookmarks with a few of these.

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Clonmacnoise @CindyThomson

Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

Cranfield Church, Northern Ireland @CindyThomson

For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Ballintoy, Northern Ireland @CindyThomson

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Irish pub @CindyThomson

Always remember to forget
The troubles that passed away.
But never forget to remember
The blessings that come each day.

May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.

Sligo town @CindyThomson

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

Silent Valley, Northern Ireland @CindyThomson

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light,
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.
Walls for the wind,
And a roof for the rain,
And drinks beside the fire -
Laughter to cheer you
And those you love near you,
And all that your heart may desire!

Hosts' cat, Brookvale Cottage, County Down, Northern Ireland @CindyThomson

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun.
And find your shoulder to light on.
To bring you luck, happiness and riches.
Today, tomorrow and beyond.

Londonderry/Derry @CindyThomson

May brooks and trees and singing hills
Join in the chorus too,
And every gentle wind that blows
Send happiness to you.


Dec 24, 2013

How Christmas Came to the Celts

You may have heard this before: December 25th wasn't really when Jesus was born. It came about because the church commandeered another pagan festival, this time the winter solstice.

But, have you thought about why? The ancient pagans were not evil people, at least not especially evil for the times they lived in. They weren't devil worshippers for heaven's sake. They worshiped what they saw and witnessed. The sun, the moon, the trees, the wonders of nature.

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.~Romans 1:20 NLT

The winter solstice marks the end of the dark half of the year and the beginning of the light half, and before Christianity, people observed this, creating great festivals. The Romans in particular observed this time of year by decorating their houses with greenery, lighting candles, and giving presents. The ancient people, being dependent on the land, saw the lengthening days as something to celebrate.

The people who walk in darkness  will see a great light.For those who live in a land of deep darkness,   a light will shine.~Isaiah 9:2 NLT

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” ~John 8:12 NLT

It's true that Christianity came and turned pagan celebrations into Christian ones in an attempt to get the people to focus on the church's teachings. But when you look at what the people already sensed, and what the scriptures say, it makes sense to celebrate Christmas during this season. What do you think?