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The Celtic Revival: Afterglow (5)

Whoever does the will of the Son of God from heaven
is a blazing sun in which there is summer,
he is the seat of God in heaven,
he is a pure vessel of crystal.

He is a victorious horse crossing a level plain,
the man who seeks the kingdom of the great God:
he is a chariot in which a king is seen to ride,
which carries off the prizes with noble grace.

  - Oengus mac Oengobann, Féilire Oengusso, Irish, 9th century[1]

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

  - 2 Corinthians 4.7

To the saints of the Céili Dé movement, laboring to rekindle the passion and commitment of the Celtic Revival, it must have seemed as though Kingdom-seekers such as Oengus envisioned were few and far between.

Looking at his definition, the same could be said of our own day: Where are the Kingdom-seekers?

Many Christians don’t have a very high view of themselves. And that’s good, because, well, we’re not much to shout about, given our sinful thoughts, selfish ways, weak wills, underachieving tendencies, and puny strength. We are prone to self-interest, given to sloth, apt to fail, and destined to disappoint.

It’s what we do.

We are but earthen vessels, let’s face it, and earthen vessels can be unreliable.

So we have nothing to boast about – at least, not in ourselves. But we have everything to boast about in the Lord. For it pleases the Lord to use silly people such as you and I to accomplish His glorious purposes.

Just as an earthen vessel can nurture and sustain a beautiful young plant, if only for a time, so God is able to make us bear fruit for His Kingdom, until He brings our earthen vessels to glorious solidity in the new heaven and new earth.

God transforms frail earthen vessels into “pure vessels of crystal” and fits us for the glory of His Kingdom and Name.

When Christ comes to dwell in us and begins to manifest His glory in and through us, then we show ourselves to be royal earthen vessels, blazing suns, victorious horses, King-bearing chariots of divine presence and power. Pure crystal vessels.

Not because of anything in us – except, of course, the Spirit and power of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2.13; Eph. 3.20).

And then we have something to boast about, for sure – but not of ourselves.

Like John in that frail fishing vessel, whispering to Peter as they hauled in their enormous catch, we say to ourselves, at every glimmer of glory that sparkles through our frail flesh, “It is the Lord!”

And it is. Truly, it is. His royalty and glory bursting to life in our earthen vessels, radiating through us as through crystal vessels. And they say miracles don’t still happen.

This is what the Christian life is all about. God takes nobodies like us, fills us with Himself, and makes the universe stand up and take notice. Then through us, He begins to fill the space around us with Himself and for His grace and truth. And so the Kingdom of God advances on earth as it is in heaven.

You are no ordinary person. You are a royal vessel of the King of kings. What opportunities to perform your ambassadorship will the Lord present you with today?

For Reflection
1. How should you prepare each day to go into the world as a royal vessel of the Lord?

2. What can you do throughout the day to keep focused on this high and holy calling?

Psalm 144.3, 4, 15 (Tidings: O Zion Haste, Your Mission High Fulfilling)
Lord, who are we, that You regard and love us?
Why should you care for our poor sinful plight?
We are but breath; You dwell on high above us;
our days like shadows pass before Your light.
  Happy are they on whom blessings fall!
  Blessed are the people who on Jesus’ mercy call!

Use me this day, O Lord, to further Your Kingdom and glory, whether my works be humble or grand, and help me to…

To Know Jesus

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T. M. Moore, Principal
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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.


[1] Carey, p. 204.                             

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.
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