Righteousness exalts a nation. Proverbs 14: 34
Fellowship replaced hostility between brothers in many a monastery, and this spirit overflowed into the people among whom they lived, as this story, handed down by word of mouth, illustrates: When Columba visited the monastery on the isle of Eigg he discovered that two monks were preaching in a spirit of rivalry. Columba asked them both to stretch out their right hand toward the sky. ‘One of you is slightly taller than the other, but neither of you are remotely within reach of that cloud up there’ he said. ‘So to your knees. Pray for one another and for the people of your kingdom whom you serve’. Both monks fell to their knees and their prayers, which used to stick in the thatch, now reached to heaven! They were now comrades, helping to forge a comrade people.
The Celtic people in the west of Britain called themselves Cymru which means ‘the land of comrades’ (this is how we have the name Cumbria today). The invading Anglo-Saxons renamed the southern part Wales, which means ‘land of foreigners’. This is a typical example of the suspicions, caricatures and prejudices that developed with the emergence of the separate nations of Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland and one cannot but help feel that the community God intended for this group of islands was continuously damaged by the darkness of evil and human sin. Interestingly, many are now looking to the Celtic church as a resource for healing the hurts and divisions between our nations.
God-control would bring into action those latent powers which we often hide under a cover of false reserve – and call it national character. If those latent powers were released and mobilised under God they would generate enough power to change the thinking and living of the world.
Lord, may our lands find their peace and their destiny in your will.
Give us that dynamic which calls out and combines
the moral and spiritual responsibility of individuals
for their immediate sphere of action.
We pray for an uprising of people who give leadership
free from the bondage of fear, sorry for the blindness of the past,
rising above ambition, flexible to the direction of your Holy Spirit, reaching out with generous hearts to neighbouring peoples