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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Men of the Stone

The Gospel changes people and their cultures.

A Framework for Faith/Spiritual Practice

Then his enemies came to the stone, and smote it on the side, and after cutting off its head, they left it, and carried off the head, thinking that it was the head of their enemy...Thus Brendan made a man of the stone, and a stone of the man.

  - Anonymous, Vita Brendani (Irish, 12th century, after an earlier ms.)

And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."

  - Revelation 21.5

Here's the larger story: Early in his ministry Brendan (mid-6th century) encountered a man fleeing from enemies intending to kill him. Brendan instructed him to take shelter in the shade of a standing stone, a huge pillar/stone erected for pagan worship.

When the enemies arrived, Brendan was praying for the man's deliverance. The enemies, confused, attacked the stone - attacked their own religion, as it were - thinking it to be the man. Only after Brendan confronted them did they see their error, and they repented and believed the Gospel.

The "moral" of this story, it seems, is that the Gospel as Brendan taught it changes everything. Men with hearts of stone, who worshiped dumb stones, are transformed into men of the Stone of Help - our Lord Jesus. And all who take shelter in the Word of God's ministers find deliverance and safety.

Incidentally, many of those ancient pagan pillar/stones were carved into crosses and thus served to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

The Gospel changes people, and it changes their cultures as well. Celtic Christianity offers abundant examples of the truth of this. If we truly believe God, take our stand on the Stone Who is the Head of the Corner, then we can lead others to safety and be a force for cultural transformation ourselves.

But we have to have a vision for this sort of thing. This is one of the reasons stories like the Vita Brendani were penned and loved so much. They challenged Christians to believe that God could use them to change their world.

Do we believe that about our faith? Do we believe that God can use us to change the stone cold hearts of the people we see each week? Or to introduce elements of divine beauty, goodness, and truth into all our cultural activities and arenas?

God can do it, and it pleases Him to do it through us. Through those of us, that is, who share the vision, faith, and spiritual vigor of men like Brendan.

Because in the Kingdom of God, "all things" means "all things."

Today at The Fellowship of Ailbe

This week we conclude our study of the ninth commandment in In the Gates. Next week we'll have a look at coveting, and then on to a study of the uses of the Law. If you're not familiar with this column or a regular reader, now might be a good time to begin.

When you read Revision, do you use the conversation starters at the end? I'd appreciate hearing any reports of how you've used those to enhance your witness for Christ.

Share this issue of Crosfigell with your pastor, and encourage him to take a look at the mentoring opportunities available through our ministry. It would be our pleasure to serve.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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