A recent book I’ve read


Day 4: A recent book I’ve read

I’ve been enjoying Sacred Earth, Sacred Soul by John Philip Newell of the Iona Community. It’s an exploration of “Celtic Christianity”, some of the streams in the Christian tradition which sometimes get overshadowed and which emphasise our inherent goodness and connection with the sacred natural world. Each chapter focusses on a particular teacher from this tradition, among them St Brigid of Kildare, John Muir and George MacLeod.

We recently celebrated Imbolc, the first stirrings of spring, a time associated with Brigid (the ancient goddess of poetry, smithcraft, and holy wells) and her more recent appearance as the Christian saint Brigid or Bride (she stands in the liminal space between paganism and the newer Christian spirituality). We wove traditional Brigid’s crosses, and I read one of the stories about her from the book:
Brigid was the barmaid at the inn in Bethlehem. (How she got there from 6th century Ireland, I don’t know!) The inn was completely full, and she had been told not to welcome anyone else in, or to share any food or drink. Two strangers do arrive, a man and a pregnant woman, and Brigit does share with them, giving them a cup of water and last bannock. As the strangers leave she finds that her bread and water have been miraculously restored.

Perhaps there’s a little lesson there about how we might approach travellers with kindness and generosity?

You can buy the book here. (I’m sharing links to bookshop.org, a more ethical alternative to the might of Amazon!)

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