Tonight we are blogging from Holy Island. We are with a small group from Sally’s Church. We have been reflecting around making helpful connections. In the sharing tonight, coming to the end of our time on the Island, we were making connections between the inspiration of the island and how we can take some of this back with us. Many of the group have reflected how helpful it has been to have some time out and space to be human.
The retreat was called Celtic connections and we explored connecting to our Celtic heritage, our local faith communities, our wider Christian community and each other. Tonight we plaited ribbons to remind us of what God had done and some of the things each other had shared. We are taking back our memory ribbons and some of the resources we have used to pray together. There are many profound yet simple prayers which give us words and intentions when we do not know how to pray, knowing that others might be praying the same words with us. So tonight we prayed the Ita Compline from the Northumbria Community, this is part of it:
O God of life, this night, O darken not to me Thy light.
O God of life, this night, close not Thy gladness to my sight.
Keep Your people, Lord in the arms of your embrace.
Shelter them under Your wings.
Be their light in darkness.
Be their hope in distress.
Be their calm in anxiety.
Be strength in their weakness.
Be their comfort in pain.
Be their song in the night.
Esther de Waal says this about Celtic prayer: “I have come to see that Celtic prayer is prayer with the whole of myself, a totality of praying that embraces the fullness of my own personhood, and allows me not only to pray with words but also, more important, with the heart, the feelings, using image and symbol, touching the springs of my imagination” (The Celtic Way of Prayer. New York: Bantam Doubleday, 1997:lx).
We have had time and space to pray with all of ourselves and all of us together.