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By Nancy Bacon

Celebrating different cultures, traditions

From the Pastor's Desk


March 2, 2019

Reverend Nancy Bacon

Dear Friends,

Mine is a church that likes to celebrate different cultures, and Celtic traditions are certainly an annual favorite. This month, St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday. Come and join us for worship and some innocent festive shenanigans.

Another of our favorite annual events has been the Kirkin 'o the Tartans, a Scottish worship service where we remember and honor Scottish heritage and loved ones we have lost in the past year. Our service will be April 7, with bagpipes and lots of plaid. Kilts are welcome!

Celtic Christianity is something that has been receiving renewed interest. It means different things to different people, but in recent years there is new-found interest in Celtic music, symbols and traditions. Celtic traditions embrace a holistic sense of connection with creation imbedded in ancient pagan practices. This is an appealing blend for some modern Christians.

Ancient Christianity merged with many cultures. It's modern celebration of Easter acquired many elements from Celtic pagan practices. Christianity and Ireland treasures "The Book of Kells," an illuminated manuscript that is a beautiful creation of scripture embellished with Celtic symbols. I have a copy in my office and each page is a work of art. To this day, poets and theologians make pilgrimage to an island off the coast of Scotland to visit and commune with the Iona Community, where Wild Goose Publications prints prayers and poems. I love reading them and including them in worship.

Below is one I have used at many memorial services:

Go gently on your voyage, beloved.

Slip away with the ebb tide,

rejoice in a new sunrise.

May the moon make a path

across the sea for you,

the Son provide a welcome.

May the earth receive you and the fire cleanse you

as you go from our love

into the presence of Love's completeness.

By Kate Mcllhagga, for the Iona Community.

Here's another prayer that reflects the image of God and nature merged into one:

God of the tides,

whose faithful rhythm

underlies our daily lives,

help us to keep on,

with courage and caring,

both when we are full and fulfilled

and in times of ebb and emptiness –

neap and spring tides in our lives –

within the ocean of your love. Amen

By Jan Sutch Pickard, for the Iona Community.

The Celtic phrase for the Holy Spirit, is "Wild Goose." In recent years, there have been annual Christian "Wild Goose" revivals in the British Isles and in North Carolina. People who attend love these gatherings, sleeping in tents, enjoying a variety of music, being inspired by progressive speakers and practicing creative forms of worship, art and fellowship. I was able to attend one of these gatherings several years ago and wish I could go again. Check out to learn more and if you are adventurous, put it on your bucket list.

May your Lenten journey be blessed and may this traditional Irish blessing be yours:

May good luck be with you wherever you go,

And your blessings outnumber

the shamrocks that grow,

Pastor Nancy

About Tehachapi Community Church, UCC:

No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here!

The Tehachapi Community Church, UCC is an open and welcoming community of faith that believes that each person, created in the image of God, holds a piece of the truth. Therefore we respect each person's unique spiritual journey. We invite you to experience the difference that religious freedom in a caring community can make in that journey.

We are located at 100 East E St., in Tehachapi. Worship and Sunday School are at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. Please join us for coffee and fellowship at our Friendship Hall after worship (approximately 11:30 a.m.).

All are welcome.


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