A Celtic Christian Worldview (2)
For it is truly so that the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, [is] in all respects inseparable, one Godhead in essence and a distinctive Trinity in the substances of the Persons…one everlasting God without beginning, Who is wholly everywhere without [limitation of] place, disposing all movements without movement of His own, Who sees the past, present and future ages of His creatures equally, for Whom nothing is past, nothing remains to come, but all things are present. Nothing that is good offends Him, nothing that is evil gives Him pleasure, by Whom nothing was created by nature evil which in itself is only the corruption of created good.”
- The Book of the Order of Creatures I.2
“Therefore You are great, O Lord GOD. For there is none like You, nor is there any God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
- 2 Samuel 7.22
Celtic Christians during the period of the Celtic Revival (ca. 430-800 AD) turned large sectors of their world rightside-up for Jesus Christ. They had few material resources. They came from a backwater part of the world. They were opposed by existing church leaders and local governments. They lived humbly and according to rigorous disciplines, encouraging and edifying one another as they evangelized the lost, healed the sick, taught and discipled the eager, and sent out missionaries by the thousands to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
The impact of their faith rippled throughout Europe and down the corridors of history. In many ways, the world is still reaping the benefits of this season of revival which the Lord was pleased to bring.
How were they able to do this? The achievement of Celtic Christians was the result, in the first place, of their view of God. They could not be accused of having a too-small vision of God, as our excerpt for today makes clear. They believed David when he said there is no god like our God, none so great, so vast, so majestic, so mighty, so good and strong, and so ready to help His people as they follow Him in faith.
Celtic Christians did not look upon God in temporal or material terms. They understood Him to be wholly spiritual – pure, undefiled, and unimpeded in all His purposes. God created time and the cosmos, but He exists over and beyond and throughout them, and is in no way affected by anything in them. He sustains the world and everything in it without breaking a sweat, “without movement of His own.” He is eternal, unchanging, sovereign over times and places and peoples, and welcoming to every good work and good effort on the part of those He has redeemed for Himself.
This being the God they served, why should Celtic Christians not “shoot for the moon”? Why should they not risk everything, invest everything, undertake impossible efforts, make strenuous demands on themselves and their followers, and in so doing, trust God to meet their needs and give success to their efforts?
Which they did. And which He enabled in response to their great faith.
How big – how true – is our vision of God? Have we limited Him by our fears or comfort? Have we made of God some deity whose purpose is to fit into our available time, satisfy all our pressing needs and wants, and not make unreasonable demands on us?
If so, then ours is not the God of our anonymous writer, nor the God of David and the prophets, nor the God Who sent Jesus Christ for the redemption and reconciliation of the world. He is a God custom-made to fit our convenience, agreeable to our comfort, and not in the least pushy or demanding. He expects from us only sincerity and good intentions, and He’s willing to overlook everything else.
If this is our God, then we will not recognize the God of David and Celtic Christians on that Day we stand before Him to give an account of ourselves.
And what’s even more frightening, this God Who loves us, Who sent His Son to die for us, Who upholds our lives and fills them with good things, and Who has shown us clearly, O man, what He desires of us – this God will not recognize us, either (Matt. 7.21-23).
We have much to learn from our Celtic Christian forebears, if only we will listen. Let us look to Scripture, and to the fathers of the Christian movement – as our anonymous writer clearly did – to help us set in place, nurture, and sustain a vision of God that is appropriate to the God Who reveals Himself to us in His Word and His world.
And let us then take up the mission of this God and devote ourselves in faith and obedience to glorifying Him and making Him known wherever our feet may tread.
1. How does your vision of God compare with that outlined in our reading for today? Can you see areas where you need to improve your vision and understanding of God?
2. Why do you think the Christian movement today is not turning the world rightside-up for Jesus? What should your role in this be?
Psalm 86.7-12 (Andrews: Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven)
When in my trouble, Lord, I call You, You answer me; there is none like You!
There are no works like Yours, and all whom You have created shall worship You.
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me, all shall glory give to You!
For You are great, You wondrous deeds do; You are the only and sovereign Lord.
Teach me Your way, let me give heed to, with all my heart, Savior, all Your Word!
Lord, be gracious to me, Lord, be gracious to me, praise Your Name forever, Lord!
O Lord, increase my vision of You, so that I…
Your vision of God
Seeing Jesus, exalted in glory (Col. 3.1-3), is the best way to improve our vision of God. Our 28-day devotional, Be Thou My Vision, follows Scripture and Celtic Christians as they lead us to focus more consistently and clearly on Jesus. Order your free 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.
 Davies, p. 1