What should a man learn? Not hard to answer: steadfastness in holiness, shortness of words, gentle brotherliness, smoothness in giving, fulfilling the rule without urging, rising early before dawn, walking in obedience to God...
- Colman mac Beognai, Aipgitir Chrabaid (Irish, 7th century)
But that is not the way you learned Christ! - assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him as the truth is in Jesus...
- Ephesians 4.20, 21
We have been emphasizing the Celtic Christian commitment to a learned leadership. The monks and missionaries who, following on Patrick, Finnian, Brendan, Columba, and Columbanus, were devoted to study, copying ancient manuscripts, and reflecting on the life of faith from the perspective of a distinctively Celtic spirituality.
That spirituality was rooted in the practice of spiritual disciplines according to a "rule" of life. A rule was a kind of covenant with God and like-minded brethren to seek the Lord and serve Him according to an agreed-upon regimen of life and ministry. Within the framework of that rule, Celtic Christians sought to put on Jesus - to learn Christ in all their thinking, living, and serving.
Colman's "Broom of Devotion" is a manual of spiritual reflections that sought to capture the temper of the Celtic Christian way of life. His words give us glimpses into the lifestyle of devoted Christians during that period of time. Learning was important, but only the kind of learning that results in "walking in obedience to God."
What are you learning these days? Is it helping you to put on Jesus, to walk in obedience to God in reaching out to love and serve the people around you? Or is it just a kind of head knowledge that doesn't do anybody any good? We are called to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, and to be transformed into His image (2 Pet. 3.18; 2 Cor. 3.12-18). This is what God promises, and this is what we can attain.
So let us take up devotion to learning, but let us seek learning in order to know Jesus, to be clothed on with Him, and to make Him known to everyone in our lives.
Today's ReVision offers "A Modest Proposal" for how the Church in America might begin to assert more spiritual and moral influence. This week's Kingdom Civics column explains The Chalcedon Definition and its place in helping to define the doctrine of God. And here's an excellent suggestion for around your Thanksgiving table: Get a copy of The Ailbe Psalter from our bookstore, and sing the great songs of David, Asaph, and the sons of Korah to the familiar hymn tunes you've always loved. You will grow to love the psalms more if you will.