In the West

We are in the west in Donegal, the birthplace of St. Columcille (Columba is what he is called in Scotland).

Land of sea and sky and ocean. Land of sheep and bogs. We greet you.

Today we take a pilgrimage to standing stones which were here before the saint and used in Christian ministry.

The pilgrimage is traditionally taken at midnight on the night before Columcille’s feast day. And walked barefoot.

Let me bless almighty God,
Whose power extends over
Sea and land,
Whose angels watch over all.

Let me study sacred books
To calm my soul;
I pray for peace,
Kneeling at heaven’s gates.

Let me do my daily work,
Gathering seaweed,
Catching fish,
Giving food to the poor.

Let me say my daily prayers,
Sometimes chanting,
Sometimes quiet,
Always thanking God.

Delightful it is
To live on a peaceful isle,
In a quiet cell,
Serving the King of kings.
– Columcille

St. Columba

Today is the feast day of St. Columba, the Irish monk who established the community of Iona in 565.

Let me bless almighty God,
whose power extends over
sea and land,
whose angels watch over all.

Let me study sacred books
to calm my soul;
I pray for peace,
kneeling at heaven’s gates.

Let me do my daily work,
gathering seaweed,
catching fish,
giving food to the poor.

Let me say my daily prayers,
sometimes chanting,
sometimes quiet,
always thanking God.

Delightful it is
to live on a peaceful isle,
in a quiet cell,
serving the King of kings.

– Columba
Celtic Fire: The Passionate Religious Vision of Ancient Britain and Ireland edited by Robert Van de Weyer

Learn more about Columba and other Celtic saints in Celtic Saints in Holy Companions: Spiritual Practices from the Celtic Saints by Mary C. Earle and Sylvia Maddox.

Did you know that my book, Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings, is now available as an audio book?


Photo: Sheep on the isle of Iona. © 2016 by Beth A. Richardson. This photo and others by Beth are available on cards, cases, and other items at Redbubble.

Thinking of Dad

Charlie, c. 1957

I am thinking of you today, Dad,
On this day when you crossed through the thin space
To join the saints who had preceded you:
Mom, Holt, Ida Mae, Bill …

You had been leaving us for a long time
As bits and pieces of your memory slowly slipped away.
“A blessing, really,” is what we all said of your passing.
But that did not take away the grief that we felt.

I remember the first time you did not remember who I was.
We were having dinner at the kitchen table.
You had been looking at me, and then
You finally asked me who I was.
I said, “I’m your daughter.”
You turned to Anna to see if it was true.
She said, “Yes. That’s your daughter.”
“I have a daughter?” you said in surprise.
But you took it all in as I told you who was:

Beth, your daughter.
Writer of books and liturgy.
Singer of songs.
Clergy in The United Methodist Church.
Worker at The Upper Room.
(You remembered The Upper Room.)

You were so happy
That you had a daughter.
So proud of who I had become.
And I was so happy
At your delight.

And so, we started our new ritual
Carried out in person, on the phone,
In which I would introduce myself to you
And you would be surprised … delighted!

And I was blessed with your love, your happiness,
And your affirmation
Over and over and over again.