4 July 2018 – Andrew’s Blog – “Interdependence”

Canada had its national day on 1st July and today its larger neighbour celebrates its separation and subsequent emancipation from the control of the British crown. The day has a special connotation for me as on the 4th July 1983 I voluntarily surrendered my freedom and was to be found walking from Ash Vale Station, near Aldershot, to Keogh Barracks to commence army basic training. An unkempt biker of a mere 21 years of age I still remember calling out to the smart looking soldier ahead of me for directions and being put in firmly in my place by my first introduction to the R.S.M! At the time I went from enduring my time to enjoying it, although coming second to my friend Paul Wright still rankles 35 years later. It has been a pleasure to be arranging a reunion via social media. We are all different shapes and sizes these days but we share a common bond of a mere four month period we all passed together. What is held in common is a powerful bond indeed, especially when it is held through times of duress.

I have been reading about Celtic Spirituality and my gradual musing on this theme keeps taking me back to the ‘How?’ of their initial journey. It appears that in the ‘Chronicle of Prosper of Aquitaine’ it states that ‘Palladius was ordained and sent to Ireland as their first Bishop’.[1] This was in 431AD, almost a hundred years before Patrick commences to  evangelise the isle of Ireland. Thus our noble ex slave, who documented via his ‘Declaration’ etc., almost certainly had something in common with some local folk when he returned. To me this makes good sense. I do not see Patrick as being foolish. It seems to be likely that he made some Christian contacts during his slave period and then returned, knowing his ‘beachhead’ was already established.

In terms of what we are planning / evaluating this brings me back to the established Christian community. I am a bit nervous of some of the institutions that exist. In many cases they have developed a niche which provides an income stream, essentially they are supplying into a closed market. This makes them potentially very resistant to both new directions or indeed change other than where it arises from where they expect it. The problem with revolution is, as the British found out, it tends to arise by surprise and then fuel a fire that is difficult to control. What can be more revolutionary than the Spirit of God fanning those flames?

[1] Davies,O. et al  Celtic Spirituality, (Paulist Press: NYC), P16.