Craft ~ brews and reviews
By Greg Richardson
Many of us celebrate Celtic spirituality in
This month is connected to the Celts because
of Saint Patrickís Day on March 17.
Even before I knew much about Celtic
spirituality I knew March was when we drank green beer and they
turned the Chicago River green.
Saint Patrick was a British Christian
missionary and bishop in Ireland in the Fifth Century. Patrick was
captured from his home in Roman Britain and taken to Ireland as a
slave. He lived there six years before escaping and returning to his
family. According to tradition, Patrick returned to Ireland after
becoming a member of the clergy and is regarded as the founder of
Irelandís distance from Rome allowed
Christianity to develop in new ways. Christian beliefs and
traditional Celtic spirituality combined to create fresh
Celtic Christians lived close to nature and
took time to reflect on its variety and beauty. They drew deep
spiritual lessons from the natural world all around them. Celtic
spirituality was able to integrate Biblical teaching with the
Druidic heritage of Ireland.
Celtic spirituality is also more centered on
the goodness of creation than on the evil in the world. God is alive
in the world and revealed in the natural world.
A reflective, contemplative understanding of
the natural world encourages imagination. When we look at the world
around us we see God in imaginative ways. Celtic spirituality
recognizes the power of spiritual life all around us, and within us.
Celtic spirituality relies on the senses to
recognize and appreciate spiritual life. What our senses tell us is
experienced with imagination.
Celtic imagination produces a wide variety
of art and artifacts. Imagination is evident in poetry and
other writing, weaving and metalwork, carving and architecture.
As we follow the example of Celtic
spirituality the world opens to our imagination. We begin to see
spiritual life shaping and undergirding the world around us.
While Patrick is recognized as the primary
Patron Saint of Ireland, another of its Patron Saints is Saint
Brigid of Kildare. Brigid reflects the imaginative nature in Celtic
spirituality in one prayer poem, in which she writes,
I would like a great lake of beer for
the King of Kings.
I would like to be watching Heaven's
family drinking it through all eternity.
One of Brigidís miracles was reputedly
turning water into beer.
Our recognition and celebration of March
this year does not need to be limited to green beer or even March
March is also the month when spring begins.
We celebrate the end of winter and the sprouting of new life.
This month is filled with opportunities to
visit breweries and tasting rooms, try something new, and raise a
glass to the new life bursting out all around us.
I encourage you to, like the Celts,
experience the world around us in new ways. Our understanding of
spiritual life does not need to be limited by traditional
assumptions or preconceived notions.
Like the spring which begins this month,
like Celtic spirituality, we can open ourselves to new experiences
Please join me in taking a trip to a new
tasting room this month and toasting the idea of a great lake of ale
for God and watching heavenís family drinking it through all
Richardson is a spiritual life mentor in Pasadena, California. He is
passionate about craft brewing, listening, and monks and monastic
life. Greg is a recovering attorney, executive, and university
professor. Gregís website is StrategicMonk.com and
he is on Twitter @StrategicMonk.
You can email Greg at StrategicMonk@gmail.com,
and he writes a blog for the Contemplative channel