I love the ancient Christian Celts. A great read is George Hunter III The Celtic Way of Evangelism. He recounts the success of St. Patrick and those who followed him in evangelizing the ‘barbarians’ of Ireland and the surrounding areas.
What struck me was the way Hunter describes the ‘three levels’ of human existence. The highest level is the ‘thoughts of God’ contemplative level. The middle level is the ‘stuff of the earth’ level where fear, sickness, love, joy, birth, death, etc. resides. The final level is the level where most of us live our lives– paying taxes, selling sprockets, making a living and so forth.
Hunter’s thesis is that the Celts were able to succeed in the ‘stuff of earth’ level. They had prayers about every concievable thing–harvest, rain, giving birth, nursing, death, etc., meaning they beleived that God was a part of it all. God was above all but also in all; almighty and immanent.
I wonder if one of the challenges of our day is to convince people that God is a part of the ‘stuff of earh’ and the ‘everyday’ levels of our existence and not just someone we think about when we are about to die.
I have witnessed the births of all three of my children. I can tell you that being a part of the blood, sweat and tears of birth (and I had the easy part) is the ‘stuff of earth’ at its best.
Yet all that the Faith has given me: the Sacraments, the preaching of the Word, prayer and worship, all of those things were with me for those moments. I cannot imagine any of my moments in life–both good and bad without the Faith and what the Church has given me. The ‘Real Presence of Jesus’ is what makes me what I am. In the words of the Rich Mullins song, “I did not make it [the Faith that is], no it is making me…”