Recreation of Mind and Heart
27 May 2010
Colman was brought to them, and he preached to them. And he sent a message to his assisting friends...And these clerks (clerics) began their preaching, and they had fair Latin books with them, and they recited their reading clearly, and praised the Creator fervently. And it was recreation of mind and heart to the hosts to listen to them. And those who had never thought of God before, turned their thoughts to Him now.
- Anonymous, Life of Colman Ela (Irish, 17th century, from an earlier ms.)
When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them.
- 1 Samuel 10.10
We'll wrap up this month of hagiography and the life of discipline, with some excerpts from the life of Colman Ela, a 7th century saint of whom little is known outside this excerpt. It's a curious compilation of what seem like historical events, poems, and unlikely associations, for example, with Gregory the Great and Columcille.
But vignettes like the one cited above have the scent of real history, and they give us some insight to the work of ministry in those days. A preacher would go among the pagans, find some receptivity to the Word, and then bring his colleagues along to strike while the iron was hot. It seems that at least of some of their preaching consisted of passionate reading - in translation, we assume - of Latin manuscripts of the Bible, interspersed with brief words of exposition and praise to God.
The power of Scripture is emphasized here. As they preached, God captured the hearts and minds of their audience, so that they became suddenly open to the idea of God and were refreshed by the hearing of His Word. The Word of God is alive and powerful, and, when we let it speak for itself, it can affect people in powerful ways.
These little bands of wandering preachers - "peregrinati" as they were called - recall the schools of prophets from the Old Testament, on which Jesus modeled His own relationship with His disciples. The simple fact is that we are more likely to be consistent and effective in our witness when we're working with like-minded others (which is why Jesus sent His disciples out in twos).
The Lord is ready to refresh the minds and hearts of many lost men and women in our day. His Word is still powerful, even to those whom we might regard as closedin their minds and hardened in their hearts. But it pleases God to minister that Word through faithful witnesses, competent in Scripture, excited about Jesus, clear and cogent in their witness, and willing to be fools for Christ. How about you?
Today in ReVision: The Limits of Government - To the shock and dismay of many, we're discovering that government is not God.
This Week's Download: A Personal Rule - Have you worked through these guidelines yet? Hundreds have downloaded this and will be on their way to a more disciplined life. Why not you?
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