2nd August

Anointings

Jesus said ‘You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Matthew 16:18,19

In the Celtic church appointments followed the anointings. It was the custom for Celtic Church leaders in the west of Britain to come together for a synod during the forty day period of prayer before Easter. Samson was not among them, for he had made up his mind to be free of all worldly involvements, and was on a prolonged prayer vigil in a cave. Such was the attraction of his holiness, however, that these leaders sent a letter urging him not to work for himself alone, since his ministry would be profitable to many, and to come to the synod. On the day of Samson’s arrival at the synod they appointed him abbot of a monastery which Bishop Germanus had founded.

At that same synod Samson had had a dream of himself surrounded by crowds of ‘delightful beings’ and by the apostles Peter, John and James, dressed in silk vestments with golden crowns (the garb of Eastern bishops). They went in to the church in order (as Samson thought) to pray, but in fact ordained Samson deacon. Samson did not disclose this dream.

Then on February 22, the day when bishops ordained three new priests, Bishop Dubricius had a dream that Samson was ordained. Since it was the custom to ordain three new priests, and only two candidates had been so far agreed upon, Dubricius and his fellow bishops took it that God wished Samson to become the third ordinand. When they informed Samson, he confided to them the dream God had given him. What a confirmation this was!

As Samson sat in the special chair for the ordination, those who stood by saw a dove hover over him throughout the ceremony. And when Samson celebrated Holy Communion they saw what looked like fire coming out of his mouth and nostrils. Samson confided in someone that from that day onwards, whenever he celebrated Holy Communion, he could see angels assisting him.

Celtic Christians followed the anointings. Do we?

Lord, help me so to give up worldly ambitions
That I may be free for you to use me this day.
May my appointments always be divine appointments

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