What most impresses me about Columbanus’s writings is the frenetic energy, conviction, and immediacy which, even after 1400 years, has lost none of its power. There is a depth of thought and spiritual understanding which is not difficult to miss. Part of the attraction of his writing is that, although it is immensely clever and subtle in many ways, Columbanus speaks with an authentic voice – he is not afraid of speaking his mind. He engages with and speaks directly to those in power with the bravura of an Old Testament prophet.
- Alexander O’Hara, Saint Columbanus: Selected Writings
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of ourfaith…
- Hebrews 12.1, 2
As Christians, we are in a race to realize more of the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God. Jesus has delivered us from the realm of darkness, sin, and lies into His own Kingdom, where He calls us to find in Him the Way, Truth, and Life for which God created and redeemed us (Col. 1.13; Jn. 14.6).
Jesus commanded us to pray for the coming of His Kingdom and to seek it as the defining priority of our lives (Matt. 6.10, 33). The Kingdom of God is power for making the world, which Jesus has reconciled to the Father, increasingly new and fruitful in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 4.20; 2 Cor. 5.18, 19; Rom. 14.17, 18). As followers of Jesus, our calling to the Kingdom and glory of God is the race we take up anew every day (1 Thess. 2.12).
We are in a race for life, full and abundant life in Jesus, world-transforming life that seeks to realize the knowledge of God’s glory in every aspect and area of life (1 Cor. 10.31). We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, who, like those people who line the course of a marathon, handing out glasses of water and offering encouragement and affirmation to racers, encourage us by the fact that they have finished this course already, and thus can point the way for us to persevere in ours.
Columbanus is among those saints and witnesses, and he has left us an enduring legacy of instruction, example, and encouragement to refresh and renew us on our way.
His is a legacy of Kingdom vision. Columbanus believed that Jesus was advancing His Kingdom on earth and that He would do so, against great odds and with but meager resources, even among the moribund churches, pagan peoples, and self-serving rulers of the people of Gaul. Columbanus believed people could be saved, churches could be renewed, new leaders could be developed, old leaders could be reformed, and a new day of revival, renewal, and awakening could break over the lands of Gaul and the Frankish people.
Columbanus has also left us a legacy of Kingdom discipline. The vision of Christ’s coming Kingdom, which he held continuously in his mind, led him to a life devoted to achieving that vision. He organized his time and life so that not a moment would be lost in frivolous or merely selfish undertakings, but everything would be dedicated to making progress in and through him for the reign of King Jesus.
Finally, in his writings, his monastic foundations, and the thousands of converts and disciples, Columbanus also left us a legacy of Kingdom outcomes. He made a mark on his times, and that mark continues to this day, “even after 1400 years.” Could we have more of the Kingdom vision of Columbanus, and take up more of the disciplined life he pursued, we might realize more Kingdom outcomes in our own Personal Mission Fields.
Columbanus stands among that great cloud of witnesses to cheer, refresh and intercede for you as you run your course. Keep your eye on Jesus, and receive whatever refreshment this great saint – and all the other saints of God – can offer, and you will be strengthened with patience and endurance unto the Kingdom and glory of God.
Psalm 72.15-20 (Martyrdom: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed)
Let Christ be praised and all the gold of Sheba be His right.
Let blessings to His Name be told, and prayers made both day and night.
And let the earth abound with grain, let fields His fame proclaim.
And may our King forever reign and nations bless His great Name.
Now bless the God of Israel Who wondrous works performs.
And bless His Name, His glory tell both now and forever more!
Grant me, Lord, the vision and disciplines to make a Kingdom-and-glory impact today as I…
How’s your vision of Jesus? Are you able to look to Him and draw near to Him in every situation? Have you trained your soul to drink and eat from Jesus? Our book, Be Thou My Vision, offers 28 meditations, based on Scripture and writings of Celtic saints, to help you grow your vision of Jesus. Order your copy by clicking here.
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Alexander O’Hara, Saint Columbanus: Selected Writings (Dublin: Veritas Publications, 2015), pp.24, 25.