Water and Presence
Note: This is an assignment for the English Spirituality and Mysticism course I'm currently taking:
I was very excited to read this week’s assignment to write a Celtic prayer. Poetry is an important part of how I express myself, and I’ve really enjoyed reading the Celtic Poems and Prayers. I misread the assignment and ended up writing two different prayer poems which I am sharing here. As part of the exercise, I’m including the poems for everyone to read.
Blessed Father, pour us down upon the earth,
like the winter rains in times of darkness,
like the spring rains reawakening the fields,
like the summer rains nurturing the crops.
Blessed Jesus gather us together,
in small pools of community,
in streams of Peregrini,
in the mighty ocean bringing changes.
Blessed Spirit draw us back to you
like the dew rising up off of the fields
like the mists of the moors
like the blown spume of the ocean.
Some of the themes from Celtic Christianity I’m trying to incorporate: The importance of water. This poem uses water as a metaphor for our relationship with God. The Trinity. Following the example of other Celtic prayers, it is addressed to each member of the Trinity. Darkness. I only really touch on darkness in the first part of the poem, but the references to the ocean also meant to invoke thoughts about glas martyrs. Peregrini. I bring in the idea of being an exile for Christ, or the journey. Community. I also bring in references to community, which seems so important to me in Celtic Christianity.
Father, creator help me to see you
in everything you’ve created,
in the wolf of St Francis,
in straw of Brother Lawrence,
and in the mud puddle at my feet.
Jesus, savior remind me of how near
the kingdom of heaven has come
in the people around me
and all of us caught up in our daily tasks.
Spirit, sustainer guide us on our journeys
wherever they are leading.
Like my first prayer poem, this one also focuses on members of the Trinity. Another key focus on this is panentheism and God being present in the creatures and other things created around us. I step away from Celtic Christianity a little by invoking Saint Francis and Brother Lawrence, but both of them seem to me to be part of the same approach to spirituality. I also bring in the aspect of the journey, without a clear destination which seems so important to me. I break with the first two stanzas which each have three examples of what I’m talking about in the stanza when I get to the final stanza. It helps communicate in an additional way, the uncertainty and incompleteness of the journey.
For me, writing is a very contemplative experience. I mostly compose poems in my mind, mulling them over and over before I put them on paper. Then, I spend time revising what I’ve written. So the practice of writing and sharing these prayer poems has a nice combination of contemplation and action.
Celtic Christianity as I’m understanding it right now, feels very comfortable and familiar to me, giving me words and constructs that match how I approach life, prayer, and writing.