An Excerpt from Christ of the Celts: The Healing of Creation by J. Philip Newell
In Christ of the Celts J. Philip Newell challenges us to bring the poetic truths of Celtic Christianity to bear on our relationships to Christ, the created world, and our religiously diverse neighbors. Here is an excerpt on peace.
“There is a longing for peace deep within the human soul today. It is a yearning within us and between us in the most important relationships of our lives. It is a yearning among us as nations and as an entire earth community. Yet ranged against this longing for peace are some of the most threatening forces that history has seen. These are forces of fear and fragmentation. And they are wedded to the mightiest political powers and religious fundamentalisms of the world today. Yet deeper still I believe is the longing for peace.
“A few months ago, I gathered with over a hundred people in the high desert of New Mexico at the retreat center of Casa del Sol to pray for peace. During the chants and prayers, which ranged from longings for reconciliation in our families to cries for what we are doing to the body of the earth, there was opportunity to place a twig in the fire at the heart of the courtyard as a symbol of prayer. An eleven-year-old boy was the first to step forward, and he said clearly for us all to hear, ‘People often feel that children don’t think about peace. But I want to be part of making peace in the world.’ He then cast his twig into the flame.
“I do not believe that this boy’s words are an exception. I believe that they come from a place deep in the human soul. It may be a place that we have become distant from. And it may be a place that has become hardened over by the pain and bitterness of life’s experiences and divisions. But it is deep in the heart of our being. It does not belong exclusively to the Christian soul or the Muslim soul or the Jewish soul. It belongs to the human soul. And it is cause for great hope. But how do we serve it? How do we set it free for the healing of our lives and world?”