So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” John 21.15
“‘Away, O youth! Away! Flee from corruption in which, as you know, many have fallen. Forsake the path which leads to the gates of hell.’ The youth, trembling at these words, which were such as to terrify a youth, thanked her for her reproaches, took leave of his companions and set out. His mother in anguish begged him not to leave her. But he said, ‘Hast thou not heard, “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me”?’ He begged his mother, who placed herself in his way and held the door, to let him go. Weeping and stretched upon the floor, she said she would not permit it. Then he stepped across the threshold and asked his mother not to give way to her grief; she would never see him again in this life, but wherever the way of salvation led him, there he would go.” (Jonas, Life of St. Columban)
So began the journey of Columbanus (543-615 AD), the greatest of the Irish peregrini, those wandering missionary/monks whose labors made such a powerful impact for the Gospel in the 7th and 8th centuries.
As a youth Columbanus feared he might not escape the temptations of the young ladies in his native village. So, he consulted a wise old woman, seeking advice. Jonas, writing shortly after the death of Columbanus, gives the account. The future founder of monasteries and disciple-maker of saints left his home and headed to the school of Senilis, to begin instruction in the Word of God. There, Jonas tells us, “Columban collected such treasures of holy wisdom in his breast that he could, even as a youth, expound the Psalter in fitting language and could make many other extracts worthy to be sung, and instructive to read.”
Columbanus left the love of family and friends to take up the love of God and His Word unto the way of salvation. He never looked back.
Every day we are faced with the question: “Do you love these more than Me?” Or as Jesus put it to Peter, “Do you love Me more than these?” The choices we make, the ways we live and lead, how we speak and preach and conduct our ministries will all show the answers to these questions. May our answers be as convincing as those of Columbanus, whose life and preaching we will be considering for the next several weeks.
Resources for Shepherds
Here is the schedule for the four men’s reading groups we will be sponsoring in the fall and winter:
The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, by Alan Kreider. The first Christians won their neighbors by their habitus more than their preaching. Ralph Elmerick and I will lead. Every other Friday, September 2 through January 13 (excluding 11/25), via Zoom 3-4pm Eastern. See my brief review of this excellent book on the Resources for Shepherds page at www.ailbe.org.
The Case for the Psalms, by N. T. Wright. David Timbie and I will lead this study on why the psalms matter and how to make best use of them. We’ll meet every other Wednesday, 2-3pm Eastern via Zoom. We’re going to take on the challenge of learning to pray the psalms as we work through this book, September 14 through December 7.
The Sermons of Columbanus. I’ll be leading our discussion of the thirteen extant sermons by this greatest of the Irish peregrini every Monday (they’re real short, I promise) 4-5pm, September 12 through December 5. When you sign up, I’ll send you his sermons in PDF for free.
Our discussion of Pagans and Christians in the City, by Steve Smith will be held every other Friday, 3-4pm, September 9 through January 20.
Don’t forget to visit the Resources for Shepherds page at our website, where you’ll find reviews, insights, and exhortations to help you in your walk with and work for the Lord.
From the Celtic Revival
On the ministry of Fursa among the Saxon people (early 6th century):
When that man came to the province of the East Saxons he was honorably received by the king, and a stead was bestowed upon him, and there he wrought to manifest the Word of God; and a multitude of men were brought by him to belief, and others were confirmed in their belief, and faith and love of God were greatened by him.
- Anonymous, Life of Fursa, 17th century, from an earlier ms.
Some excellent ministry goals set forth in that brief summary: Preach the Word, evangelize the lost, build up the believers, let the Kingdom of faith and love spread throughout your area of influence.
Sign-up at our website, www.ailbe.org, to receive Crosfigell every Tuesday and Thursday and learn more from and about the great leaders of the Celtic Revival.
Click here for a free copy of our PDF, The Celtic Revival: A Brief Introduction.
T. M. Moore.
It is our privilege to provide resources and opportunities to equip and encourage church leaders in building the Lord’s Church and advancing His Kingdom. Please pray that God will move many of those we serve through this ministry to share with us financially in its support. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal or Anedot, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 All quotations from Jonas, Life of St. Columban, Dana Carleton Munro, ed. (Felinfach: Llanerch Publishers, 1993).