We part company today with a new friend, Tracy Balzer, who in her Thin Places has instructed us and led our conversation about Celtic spirituality. I’ve enjoyed this book and hope you have as well. And what better way to end than for her to offer up two early thoughts:
First, that she loves to write with her favorite fountain pen!
Second, that the thematic verse of the last chp is from the Jesus Creed. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The focus of this chp is on loving God with our mind.
Before I go on, Kris and I will be in Grand Rapids today attending a function at Cornerstone University. But, we’ll have access at times to this blog so I’m counting on some good behavior — and I think we are all proud of the civility of this site.
Ireland was known as the “Island of Saints and Scholars,” and she trots out a little information about the building of seminaries and study centers at Armagh, Clonard, and Iona — led by St. Patrick and Columba. By 900 AD there were at least 168 study centers in Ireland. The schools at Clonard and Bangor had at least 3000 students. They did not study just Bible and theology but all the disciplines.
At the center of their study was the Bible. The Book of Kells, the famous copy of the Gospels that is so finely decorated, is considered by many to be a monument of Celtic devotion to Scripture.
To know God’s will, St. Columban said, we have to know God’s will and we learn that by study.
It is easy to search in our study for something new so we devote ourselves to the newest books. It is hard in our search to know that that the purpose of Scripture is not to learn something new but to hear something old — the old old words of God that speak to us freshly if we but listen.
How then? I suggest two things:
1. Read the Bible informationally routinely — learn the pages of your Bible. You can only do this by reading it.
2. Read the Bible formationally routinely — “listen and let”: that is, listen to God speak to you through the words of the Bible and let the Spirit take you where God wants you to go.
3. Read less of others and more of the Bible.
Our next two books will be:
Marko Ivan Rupnik, In the Fire of the Burning Bush
Telford Work, Ain’t Too Proud to Beg