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Summary: The Celtic emphasis and understanding of Trinity leads us into community with God and eachother

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Celtic Spirituality June 9, 2008

Trinity and Community

Take up Home Work

Home work:

Visit a gallery, find one piece and meditate on it

Is God present in the piece? How?

Is He absent? How?

- Extra reading: Luci Shaw Art and Christian Spirituality: Companions in the Way in Direction Journal Fall 1998, Vol 27 No.2, 109-22 www.directionjournal.org/article/?980

The Celtic Trinitarian formula

Saint Patrick is famous for a few things, even in the general culture – for driving the snakes out of Ireland (only metaphorically) and explaining the Trinity with the shamrock! He may or may not have done this, but the story almost belittles the importance of the Trinity to the Ancient Celts.

The Trinity is how we describe God who is one and who is three persons

This is what Esther De Waal writes:

“The God whom the Celtic peoples know is above all the Godhead who is Trinity, the God whose very essence is that of a threefold unity of persons bound in a unity of love. Here is a profound experience of God from a people who are deeply Trinitarian without any philosophical struggle about how that is to be expressed intellectually. Perhaps the legend of St. Patrick stooping down to pick up the shamrock in order to explain the trinity is after all more significant than we might have thought. It is as though he were saying to those early Irish people: Your God is a God who is Three-in-One and this is the most natural and immediately accessible thing in the world!

- Esther De Waal, The Celtic Way of Prayer, p. 38

It may not have been that difficult to convince the Celts of a Trinitarian God, Esther De Waal writes again:

“…Traditionaly the Celtic people with their love of formulating things and their passion for significant numbers have always given special verneration to the number three. Most beloved of all was the triad, an arrangement of three statements that summed up a thing or person or quality or mood, or simply linked otherwise incompatible things. If there were a paradox or a pun in a triad, so much the better, for they were, above all things, paradoxical.

- Esther De Waal, The Celtic Way of Prayer, p. 40

As you’ve been listening to, and praying Celtic prayers over these last few weeks, I hope you’ve noticed the Trinitarian formula in many of them:

A small drop of water

To thy forehead, beloved,

Meet for the Father, Son and Spirit,

The Triune of power.

A small drop of water

To encompass my beloved,

Meet for Father, Son and Spirit,

The Triune of power.

A small drop of water

To fill thee with each grace,

Meet for Father, Son and Spirit,

The Triune of power.

– Esther de Waal, The Celtic Way of Prayer (Doubleday, 1997) p. 33.

A prayer for washing their face:

The palmful of the God of Life

The palmful of the Christ of Love

The palmful of the Spirit of Peace

Triune

Of grace

- Esther de Waal, The Celtic Way of Prayer (Doubleday, 1997) p. 77

I Lie Down This Night

I lie down this night with God,

And God will lie down with me;

I lie down this night with Christ,

And Christ will lie down with me;

I lie down this night with Spirit,


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