Well it was, shall we say, a not unpleasant interlude in the best of company. But what is this Celtic thing? In the humour, maybe? A certain elastic lateralness of the mind? I wonder – after all most/all of those present are of mongrel background. The Irish Primate is English – the SEC Primus is Welsh. I may feel very Irish – but I have big slices of England and Germany in me.
So here are two things to think about.
The most obviously Celtic group seem to be the Welsh – who live closest of all to England. The strength of the Welsh language movement must have something to do with it – but why is that movement so strong?
I suppose – particularly in the immediate post-Lambeth period – we wonder whether there might be a distinctive contribution which the ‘celtic’ churches of the British Isles might make. The Church of England is in a different place – big, established, central to the institutional life of the Anglican Communion through the Archbishop of Canterbury, colonial past … At its best, the celtic tradition is spirituality and missionary energy.
I spent a couple of years of ministry looking at this mural on the east wall of Bangor Abbey in Northern Ireland. It shows Gall, Comgall and Columbanus receiving the great missionary command from the ascending Christ.