Mid Week Reflection – St Brigid
(The second patron Saint of Ireland, after St Patrick)
Saint Brigid was born Brigit, and shares a name with the Celtic Goddess of Fire. Her mother was a slave, Brocca or Broicsech, her father, Dubthach was a pagan chieftain. Brocca was sold by Dubthach and Brigit was brough up by some Druids. When Brigid was about ten-years-old she was returned to her father’s home, as he was her legal owner.
Brigid lived at the time of St. Patrick, who was an inspiration to her, she converted to Christianity and at the age 18 years of age she entered religious life at the convent of St. Macaille, sometimes known as Maccai, who has been disciple of St Patrick.
Brigid founded many convents, the most famous of which is in Kildare and she became known as Brigid of Kildare. In about 470 Brigid founded a double monastery for nuns and monks in Kildare and became the Abbess. The Abbey of Kildare became well known throughout Europe as Irish missionaries spread the story of the achievements and life of St. Brigid.
There is a legend that Brigid was requested to sit with a pagan chieftain in Kildare who was close to death and was delirious. It was impossible for her to talk with the chieftain so she just sat with him and comforted him. Brigid began to weave rushes from the floor into the shape of a cross. The Chieftain quietened as he began to notice Brigid and he asked what she was doing.
With the help of the cross Brigid started to explain the story of Christ and the cross. The story touched the heart of the Chieftain, he turned to Christ and was baptised just before he died. The Cross became known as St Brigid’s Cross and she used it to explain Christ to other pagans.
The story of Brigid weaving a Cross was a vivid example of where conversation could have got in the way. I have sat with those close to death, no conversation was required. I sat resting my hand on their’s or where I could I placed their hand on mine and waited. I sometimes said quietly words from scripture. I have been asked on a number of occasions ‘what do I say’ when their loved one is close to death. Sometimes there is no need for words just being there that is what can be so important. Let your silence weave words of love, let their silent eloquence fill the space and may they rest in peace.
+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God of truth, help us to keep your law of love
and to walk in ways of wisdom,
that we may find true life
in Jesus Christ your Son.
(Common Worship Collect for Trinity 1)
The Word of the Lord
(Verses from the readings set for Trinity 1)
Psalm 130 1-5
1 Out of the depths have I cried to you, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice; •
let your ears consider well the voice of my supplication.
2 If you, Lord, were to mark what is done amiss, •
O Lord, who could stand?
3 But there is forgiveness with you, •
so that you shall be feared.
4 I wait for the Lord; my soul waits for him; •
in his word is my hope.
5 My soul waits for the Lord,
more than the night watch for the morning, •
more than the night watch for the morning.
The True Kindred of Jesus
31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.’ 33And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ 34And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! 35Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’
Some thoughts about the words from Mark. Clearly there is a tension, Jesus’ mother and family did not always understand what Jesus was saying and doing and Jesus needed to make the point. However, when we hear the ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.’ Do you hear a harsh, judgemental tone or is it a gentle expression of Jesus wanting his family to understand? The same words but said differently. You will not be surprised that I hear Jesus reaching out, wanting his family to understand and be part of this new extended family.
Where does the Celtic Brigit fit into our gospel reading and todays world? Jesus is calling us to be his brother or sister and Brigit was born into slavery, her mother sold. Sometime in 1550 after Brigit established her monastery in Kildare people are still bought and sold, children separated from mothers and instead of love experience abuse.
Let us be aware and alert to the sacredness of life and not be silent when we hear of abuse.
Empower us, Lord God, to be unafraid in standing up, being counted when faced with injustice, prejudice and wrongdoing. By our words and actions, may we bring the clarity of your light into conversations, showing always that there is a better way, your way, that has as its epicentre a love for all people, and a desire that all people might know that love within their lives and within their interactions with others. For we are all, every one of us, your children. (John Birch)
Remind us, as we dress each day of those who made the clothes, often in sweatshops on low pay. Remind us, as we cook our meals of those working the fields or on factory production lines. Remind us, as we leave the house of those now coming home after long hours on tiring shifts. Remind us, as we live our lives of those who make it easier for us, through their hard work. Remind us, always, to be thankful. (John Birch)
Let us draw into our circle of prayer our:
Local church and its leaders
widening our circle to include:
those in government and positions of authority
those who are oppressed
those who are hungry and homeless
those who are ill
those facing death
Merciful Father, accept these prayers
for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
The Lords Prayer
+ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Bless those close to us, our family and friends. Bless the neighbourhood of which we are a part. Bless this town or city we think of as our home. Bless the young and old, faces known or strangers. Keep them safe and well, meet them in their needs, our loving God, we pray. (John Birch)
*John’s prayers are from Sunshine and Storm pages 46,47 and 114
Rev Derek Akker