Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Northumbria Pilgrimage



I've blogged on Celtic spirituality before, so I'll assume you've read some of those posts or other material on Celtic Christianity. Since I took a class on the ancient and modern practices of Celtic spirituality and theology I've been using the Northumbria Community's prayer book. They have developed a daily office (prayers and scripture for morning, mid-day, evening and night. The Northumbria Community ! is a Christian community in Northern England where people practice a new kind of monasticism. Their prayers, stories and daily office have been a great blessing, especially since I realized you can do it all on line!

About a week ago I was researching my family history. I knew that the name Creasy came from France, a town called Crecy. It turns out that the area is amazingly beautiful! I also knew that some people from this town or area of northern France were taken to England during the Norman Invasion of France (which I still don't know much about). What I didn't know was that the Creasy family settled in Northumberland, the very area I've developed a close association with through this Christian community and their daily office. The Creasy's must have stayed in Northumberland because it reminded them of home. Some of the pictures I've found are amazing.

The Celtic way of practicing faith in Christ is that Christ is in everything and everyone, Christ is all around all the time, whether we know and believe it or not. The beauty of creation has always been an icon for me, a window in the nature of Christ. Celtic spirituality is very earthy, physical, and sensual, and yet very Christ centered and very trinitarian. I swear this Celtic way of experiencing and knowing Christ is a part of me. Or maybe it's a part of us all, we're all in need of a connection between the physical and the spiritual, the heady and the earthy.

A big part of Celtic monasticism was found in taking pilgrimages to often secluded and beautiful places. The islands around northern England, Ireland and Scotland were often places of spiritual retreat where monks would find rest and connection with God through the natural world. I think Northumbria is calling my name for a pilgrim trip, maybe Crecy France too. I'm sure it won't be for a good many years, but hopefully someday.

1 comment:

Rosalie Grafe said...

John,

I too pray the Office with Celtic Daily Prayer. I stayed a week at Hetton Hall last August and am now establishing a house-monastery here in my Portland, OR home. I just published a webpage on my Northumbrian Pilgrimage:
web.mac.com/rosaliegrafe/

Soon I'll publish my site and pages for Quaker Abbey.

Good Luck!
Rosalie V. Grafe
Quaker Abbey