My friend Donnie and I went to Tybee Island and Savannah for a mini-vacation last weekend. We only stayed three nights, but we were able to devote one day (Sunday) to Savannah, with its coffeehouses and beautiful historic squares, and the next day to Tybee Island and the beach. The waves were too choppy to float peacefully in the ocean, but I had fun bobbing up and down in the waves. And of course we had lots of great seafood! Highlights: the blackened “tuna bites” appetizer and crab cakes (the world’s best!) at Café Loco, and the panko-encrusted mahi mahi at The Breakfast Club. On Tuesday, before heading back to Atlanta, we met with my favorite living artist, Brian MacGregor, and I purchased a beautiful painting of his called “Key of the Soul” – I’ll post more about that soon. We also had lunch at Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub on River Street with our friends Tommy and Trevor, two of the creative forces behind RockOm
, a wonderful webzine devoted to music and spirituality.
One of the highlights of the weekend was attending the Celtic Mass at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Savannah on Sunday night. This was a deeply moving worship service that was both contemporary and ancient, grounded in Celtic and Anglican tradition. There were moments of silence throughout the service, which added to the contemplative nature of the Mass.
One thing that was new to me was Tírechán’s Creed, which we said together in place of the Nicene Creed:
Our God is the God of all humans,
the God of heaven and earth,
the God of the sea and the rivers,
the God of the sun and the moon,
the God of all the heavenly bodies,
the God of the lofty mountains,
the God of the lowly valleys.
God is above the heavens,
and he is beneath the heavens.
Heaven and earth and sea,
and everything that is in them,
such he has as his abode.
He inspires all things,
he gives life to all things,
he stands above all things,
and he stands beneath all things.
He enlightens the light of the sun,
he strengthens the light of the night and the stars,
he makes wells in the arid land and dry islands in the sea,
and he places the stars in the service of the greater lights.
He has a Son, Jesus, who is co-eternal with himself,
and similar in all respects to himself;
and neither is the Son younger than the Father,
nor is the Father older than the Son;
and the Holy Spirit breathes in them.
And the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are inseparable.
I don’t know the history of this Creed, other than that it dates back to Tírechán, a 7th century Irish bishop and biographer of Saint Patrick. If anyone knows more about its history, please post it here as a comment. Perhaps this creed resonated so deeply within me because of my Celtic roots (I’m a Scottish and Irish mix, with a wee bit of Cherokee). As a lover of Creation Spirituality, I appreciate this creed’s emphasis on God’s creation as well as the everywhereness of God.
This is from the Celtic Mass’s Offering of the Bread and Wine:
Thank you, O Lord God Almighty,
Thank you for the earth and the waters.
Thank you for the sky, the air, the sun:
Thank you for all living creatures.
All:Come, O Lord, in the bread of life.
Praise be to you, our Father and Mother, for our homes, and families, our friends, and loved ones. Praise be to you for all the people around us everywhere in this wounded world.
All:Come, O Lord, in the cup of healing.
St. Paul’s is a beautiful church, a lovely Anglo-Catholic parish with lots of icons, candles, and statues of Mary. This Celtic Mass seemed to make it an even more beautiful and sacred space.
Labels: Episcopal, Spirituality