What does a Christian read after reading the great classic fantasy books by J. R. R. Tolkien or C. S. Lewis? (Yes, I have indeed read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds Feet on High Places, Madeleine L’Engle’s books (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time) and Calvin Miller’s The Singer Trilogy, I did enjoy those as well.
Not too many of my friends like reading Christian fantasy books. Quite frankly many books in the genre are not as well written as the secular fantasy genre. However, there are some really good ones if you search.
So I thought I’d create a list of the ones I have found well worth the read. Feel free to comment or add your own favorites as well, but keep in mind only list Christian authors. I have purposely left off any of J. K. Rowling’s books because I don’t want to engage in the controversy or debate of whether or not she is a Christian, let alone her books. I will not be the one to judge on those, so I’ll leave it at that. I also might add, I don’t like books with too much romantic scenes and definitely not ones that get heated. Neither do I appreciate foul language. The books on this list I can say follow those guidelines. One more thing to note, most of these books can be read by young people and adults just like Tolkien or Lewis.
Here are my all-time favorites first. These books I still have and probably won’t part with.
L. B. Graham’s The Binding of the Blade series (5 Books) 1st Book: Beyond the Summerland
I love L. B. Graham’s books and have enjoyed his latest series, The Wandering, but he has not finished the series and it leaves you hanging after the first 3 books. I do hope he continues this series!
Patrick W. Carr’s Trilogy The Staff and The Sword. 1st Book: A Cast of Stones
Patrick W. Carr’s The Darkwater Saga.
Patrick W. Carr’s Christmas book: The End of the Magi
Jaye L Knight’s Ilyon Chronicles (6 books, plus some smaller additional e-books) 1st Book: Resistance.
I’ve also enjoyed reading books by the following authors:
Wayne Thomas Batson has several series out. His last series, The Myridian Chronicles, by far, is one of his best series. Unfortunately, I gave these books away and the last book in the series left the ending as a cliff hanger and I’ve no idea when he plans on finishing the next book. One could read the first three books and be satisfied. It’s when you read the fourth book that leaves you hanging. 1st book: Sword in the Stars. It was previously called The Dark Sea Annals. I’ve read a number of his other books including The Door Within Trilogy.
Jonathan Rogers’ The Wilderking Trilogy was good too. The first book: The Bark of the Bog Owl
Stephen R. Lawhead’s Dragon King Trilogy. 1st Book: In the Hall of the Dragon King
Although, I’d be cautious of Lawhead’s other books. His writing is good but some of his later books are questionable in content or at least more adult oriented. Lawhead had some clear Christian undertones to his earlier stories that get lost in his later books, so stick with early Lawhead series like this one. I did enjoy the first 3 books in the Pendragon Cycle, books 4-6 got a bit too dark for my taste. I enjoyed his books, Byzantium and The Celtic Crusades Trilogy, (these have elements of secret societies, Templar Knights and sacred relics.) I did not like his book called Patrick (fictional story of St. Patrick). I have not read The Song of Albion Trilogy, The King Raven Trilogy (loosely based on the legends of Robin Hood), The Bright Empires series, nor The Eirlandia series.
Jill Williamson’s The Kinsman Chronicles. First Book: King’s Folly
R. J. Larsen writes in an interesting style. Her books are Christian fantasy but makes you feel as though you’re in an ancient Biblical world and has similarities to the Biblical Old Testament stories. The first series is called Books of the Infinite. The second series is called Realms of the Infinite. I enjoyed all of the books and look forward to reading her most current series, Legends of the Forsaken Empire.
These others listed below I’ve enjoyed and either have passed on to others or will pass on.
Bryan M. Litfin’s Chiveis Trilogy. Book 1: The Sword
D. Barkley Briggs’ Legends of Karac Tor Book 1: The Nameless
R. S. Gullett’s Chronicles of Aletha (3 books although I only have the first two.) Book 1: The Heir Comes Forth
Nathan Keys is a new author, his first book is called: The Epic of Marindel- Chosen. The second one: Redemption is due out November 2023. He does have a short story prequel available from his website or Facebook page called Champions of Dantoneia
I’ve read a few of Morgan L. Busse books. In particular, The Ravenwood Saga that was interesting but not necessarily in my top favorites but still good. I just received the first book in another of her series The Follower of the Word, so I’ll let you know what I think.
The following books are more for younger readers. Yes, I love to read children’s books!
Years ago I read John White’s The Archives of Anthropos (6 book series) and as I recall I did enjoy them, although mainly written for young people.
M. I. McAllister’s The Mistmantle Chronicles were excellent and I still have all 5 books in this series.
S. D. Smith’s The Green Ember series.
Dragon Keepers Chronicles by Donita K. Paul
The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson
The Songkeeper Chronicles by Gillian Bronte Adams
I’ve read some others over the years and many I didn’t find memorable and others either I didn’t like or had no depth.
Finally, listed below are some decent books that are not necessarily classified as Christian but have good values, the battle between good and evil, and are good wholesome reading.
Redwall series by Brian Jacques I believe there are 22 books in the series.
Castaways of the Flying Dutchman (3 book series) by Brian Jacques
Guardians of Ga’hoole by Kathyrn Lasky
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (although be aware has a bit of eastern mysticism).
Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan
Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan
Ranger’s Apprentice: Royal Ranger by John Flanagan
Hope you enjoy this list. If I run across any others, I’ll be sure to add an update.
I’m so tired of all the controversy over the pandemic, politics, riots, chaos, and controversies. As Christians, we are to seek the middle path the “Royal Way” as St. John Cassian (who lived in the 4th century) encourages us to do. Not be led by extremism on either side.
Let us not live in fear and neither let us live in anger, rebellion, pride, or be distracted by “our rights”, “our “freedoms” or the “cares of this world”. As Christians we are called to lay down our rights, the only true freedom is found in serving Christ. The cares of this world will only entangle and snare us.
Rather let us live in love for God and love for others. There are some who will live carelessly, there are some who live cautiously. Let us walk in love, dying to self, surrendering our lives to Christ & giving ourselves in service and love to our neighbors.
Speaking specifically about all the videos, these facts and statistics are outdated and incorrect almost as soon as they’re posted. There are so many videos and messages spreading information and misinformation that causes either dissensions, accusations, fears, and doubts.
The bigger picture is that we do not battle flesh and blood but spiritual powers and principalities. We are facing a greater spiritual battle, one in which the enemy of our souls wishes to cause divisions, fears, protests, distrust, self-preservation, self-interest, materialism, and more.
Please don’t get caught up in all this stuff. The Lord God, King of the Universe, has allowed for these rulers over us at this time in our lives. Let us obey the laws of the land so long as they do not violate the law of God which is love. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the eternal things, the fruits of the Holy Spirit, in Galatians 6 and the love as explained in 1 Corinthians 13.
Scriptures encourage us to look out for the “weaker” brother, to be examples for the children, to not be a cause for them or anyone to stumble. As Christians we must ask ourselves, how can I care for the “least of these”. If our fellow brother or sister is fearful, how can we put them at peace? If I have a sickly relative or an elderly parent how can I protect them? If I have a friend out of work and needs help, how can I be a servant to them?
All this other “stuff” is nothing compared to the eternal values of the Kingdom of God. We must ask ourselves constantly if what I say, think or do is profitable for my soul and the soul of my brother or sister.
I fail everyday with this, but I keep pressing on to the upward call in Christ Jesus.
There is nothing new under the sun, says the writer of Ecclesiastes. During the time of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, there was famine, plague, persecution. We must follow the example of the apostles who didn’t get involved in the things of this world, but rather went about the work of the Kingdom sharing the Gospel in spite of the turmoil in the world.
They didn’t share the political news, they didn’t share social media news, they didn’t share the latest controversies. They shared the Gospel, the Good News, and they died to self, sharing their very lives and laying down their lives for the sake of others.
In this world we will have tribulations but be of good cheer for Jesus has overcome the world and gives us peace. (John 16:33)
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
(Philippians 4:8 NIV)
Be at peace, live in peace my friends and family. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.
In addition to the scripture quotes already mentioned, here are some quotes from St. Seraphim of Sarov to ponder and put in practice:
“Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.”
“You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of him who gives and kindles joy in the heart of him who receives.”
“All condemnations is from the devil. Never condemn each other…instead of condemning others, strive to reach inner peace.”
“Keep silent, refrain from judgment. This will raise you above the deadly arrows of slander, insult, and outrage and will shield your glowing hearts against all evil.”
It’s the anniversary of my mother’s birthday, born August 28, 1942. Funny how I remember one of mom’s quips, “in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in 1942 my mother gave birth to me, Susie Q!” It still makes me smile and because of her, I remember a tid bit of history. My mom passed away on September 28, 1999. She was 57 years old. It’s strange for me to think I’ve now surpassed her in years on this earth. Always this time of year, I get a bit melancholy thinking and remembering her and other family members who have passed on. But on this day, when I remember she breathed her first breath of air in this earthly existence, the day of her birth and the beginning of her earthly life, I’m reflecting on her life and the life she breathed into others. This is what I and my sister shared at her funeral service. As I share it again, May it bring a blessing to you, encourage you and challenge you to find joy, hope, strength and life in all things, but most importantly, in Jesus.
“I have learned to be content in whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
During this time of year, I can’t help but be caught in the memories of my mother, who joined my brother 4 years after his passing to be in the presence of the Lord. When my brother passed, I wrote about the gift of time – how precious it is. I still believe that what we can take with us to heaven is the memories and the jewels we will have in our crown is what things that were of eternal value that we passed on to others.
Reflecting on my mother and her life, I can wholeheartedly express that she left a great legacy of faith & joy!
Momma was diagnosed with lung cancer December 1998 and throughout 1999 as we struggled as a family, I watched my mother increase in faith. Sure, there were times we cried together, but the times of laughter far surpassed all others. She did have struggles with all those “why” questions and even was discouraged… but her faith never wavered. In the last 6 months of her life, she was completely bedridden, yet she never complained about it. When people came to visit, she would always be seen smiling and encouraging those who were supposed to be encouraging her.
Rather than go on with all my thoughts, I thought I would share what my sister, Deborah wrote as a memorial to her great legacy of faith and joy…
“One of Mother’s favorite songs was ‘The Joy of the Lord is My Strength’.
You couldn’t just hear her sing it.
You couldn’t just watch her sing it.
You had to give yourself over to the experience of the song.
The laughter and the fun and the praise were real, palpable, contagious. And that is much like her life in general – you couldn’t observe her from afar, as a disinterested bystander to her life. You had to give yourself over to the experience that was Susan. Her laughter and fun and joy were real, were palpable, were contagious.
Never content to sit by the sidelines and watch life go by, she jumped in with limbs flying and bells ringing. She was quick to forgive, quick to embrace, and quick to hurt on behalf of others. Her empathy was such that she spent her Christmas spending money on a homeless family when she came to visit me in San Francisco. Her hugs were like balm to the soul. She didn’t give those hugs where you stand just close enough to bend at the waist and give an obligatory kind of shoulder hug and pat on the back. She embraced you – and when she embraced you, you felt embraced by her life, her light, her energy. She could laugh like no one else – and although always conscious of the volume of her voice, she just couldn’t tone it down – it was beyond her. Her exuberance and enthusiasm could not be contained.
As a mother she was beyond comparison.
She was always a little “more” than other mothers – a little more involved,
A little more emotional,
A little more loud,
A little more herself.
I recently told her I was proud of her, and she said, “what for?” with some degree of amazement. And although I could not begin to list all of the reasons for you here today, let me start with this and give you the freedom to add your own reasons:
Without much formal education, she ran a couple of businesses, organized a mentally gifted minor program, taught junior high school, and became a very successful Avon lady and regional officer for Girl Scouts. She organized neighborhoods to get playground equipment for children, swimming lessons, and safer play areas. She organized parents and participated in the Feingold program for hyperactive children. She taught Sunday school for many years and was looked up to by younger people in the Church. She brought desperate and lonely people into her home, cared for them, and sent them back out into the world. She organized a program to feed the homeless in a Redding park and every Saturday they set up a barbecue to feed the poor. She cared for many elderly people both through her church and through “adopt-a-grandparent” programs. She won numerous awards at various county fairs for floral arrangement, crafts, and photography.
She taught us to stand firm in our beliefs, to love camping and roasting marshmallows and singing campfire songs. She taught us how to make May Day baskets for the shut-ins in our neighborhood, to visit the elderly in nursing homes whose own grandchildren would not be spending the holidays with them, and she taught us how to go without Thanksgiving dinner one year so that we could feed another family. To our amazement, we returned home to find all of the fixings for own holiday meal on our front porch. To this day we don’t know where it came from – but she knew it came from God and so we were doubly blessed that holiday season.
She taught us how to sing, “do your ears hang low”, “waddly atcha” and “under the spreading chestnut tree”. She taught us to treasure our gifts and the gifts of others. She taught us to give when it seemed you had nothing to give – such as when she gave balloon animals to the cancer patients and staff in the cancer care center in her clown wig and horn – she, who was dying of cancer, still thought to bring joy to others.
But most importantly she taught us how to love, how to laugh, how to smile, even in the hardest times. She taught me, toward the end, what it means to have faith, true faith, and what it means to be content. She told me that God had really blessed her – and she was content those final months”. – by Deborah Dunn Yeager
Momma has left all that knew her a great legacy of faith and joy. My thoughts are best expressed in the following words to a song I wrote for her and for all of us who will carry on her legacy of faith & joy.
Some watching said you were a fanatic.
Still others thought that you were odd.
But in the watching and the waiting,
We could see the reflection of God.
Handing out food, balloons, or your hugs,
Traveling dusty roads even as a clown,
You hugged the dirty, the lonely, the outcast
And encouraged us all to sing along…
That the joy of the Lord will be my strength.
I will run and not grow weary, I’ll not faint.
And I can do all things, all things,
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
We were watching when you lost your son, my brother.
The gusty blows came sudden and hard.
But through it all you showed God’s forgiveness
In the midst of all your pain and your doubt
You sang and smiled your way through all the sorrow.
Altho’ you wept your faith stayed so strong
You shared your laughter and your joy.
We couldn’t help but laugh and sing along.
That the joy of the Lord will be my strength.
I will run and not grow weary, I’ll not faint.
And I can do all things, all things,
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
Then watching your struggle with cancer
Full of pain every breath a miracle
Still you smiled, you blessed, you gave
You laughed and sang to us still.
The promises, and the scripture verses
The Bible passages all marked and worn
Still speak to me and those you love
Of a joy, a peace, and of a world beyond.
When it was time for you to pass over
And the night was growing dark
Your song of joy joined with the angels
And your laughter and your song still carries on!
And the joy of the Lord will be my strength.
I will run and not grow weary, I’ll not faint.
And I can do all things, all things,
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
For this season and in the months and years to come… no matter what trials, woes, or tribulations come… focus on the eternal things, the things that will not pass away… fix your gaze on the Author and the Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross… He will be your strength, your hope, your joy, your life.
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Interesting article on a Japanese way to view the world. I found this intriguing and so very similar to the Eastern Christian Orthodox way of thinking, especially as it relates to perfectionism.
So often as Christians we struggle with what Jesus said and reaffirmed by the apostles in the New Testament “…be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48 KJV)
Here are two quotes to pique your interest and give you food for thought:
“…the term ‘perfect’, which stems from the Latin perfectus, meaning complete, has been placed on an undeserved pedestal in many cultures, especially the West. Prioritising flawlessness and infallibility, the ideal of perfection creates not only unachievable standards, but misguided ones. In Taoism, since no further growth or development can take place, perfection is considered equivalent to death. While we strive to create perfect things and then struggle to preserve them, we deny their very purpose and subsequently lose the joys of change and growth.”
“The dents and scratches we bear are all reminders of experience, and to erase them would be to ignore the complexities of life. By retaining the imperfect, repairing the broken and learning to find beauty in flaws – rather than in spite of them – Japan’s ability to cope with the natural disasters it so often faces is strengthened.”
My heart is saddened by “Christians” who are buying into a mentality of “getting back to normal” at the expense of exposing the “weak” & sacrificing them to die. It is as if Christians have been hypnotized into believing that somehow this is right or good. As the prophet warns, “beware of those who call evil, good…”
When the culture rejects the “Sanctity of Human Life” ethic concerning the unborn and those survivors of late-term abortion are left to die, and people actually advocating for infanticide & “right to die”, euthanasia… it is no wonder that as a society as a world, it comes down to survival of the fittest.
It is a slippery slope downward with all the “logical” reasoning of sacrificing “the one” for the benefit of the many. Sadly this echoing mantra of the “humanist manifesto” is fast becoming the new reality – whereby the individual is sacrificed for the benefit of the collective whole.
Those who are arguing for “opening the economy” by touting the survival of the fittest will be sorely dismayed when they discover that they – or their family members – or deer friends – are not among the fittest & are “selected” to die. Reminds me of “Future World” or living “under the dome”, with an implant that changes colors as you age so that the collective whole can cull the herd.
Many people including Christians are being sucked into the blame game of who is at fault. Christians arguing back and forth about which country is at fault, which political leaders didn’t “do enough”. Topics such as: deep state conspiracies; government control; freedoms; not enough supplies; and more abound.
We ALL are caught up in the drama and hype with myself included. But really… what does it matter which country is at fault? Or who cares at this point who should’ve done what when? It’s here NOW & how are we as Christians should we respond, live & love God, others, even enemies. Should we spew hatred, slander & accusations? Is this how Christians should act or talk?
Let’s be honest & face it, as American Christians we really have NOT truly suffered.
Those who compare this with the Spanish Flu in 1917-1918 or those who compare it to the Great Depression are comparing apples to oranges. We have so much more than those previous generations. We actually have advanced so much further in medicine, technology, government programs that give us things like unemployment insurance, social security, retirement accounts, business loans, not being evicted, the ability to work or have school at home & the lists goes on that those previous generations did not have!
As Americans we feel like we’re suffering because we can’t go to a sports event, the movies, the beach, or the mall. And so we whine!
As Christians we are whiners even more so because of all the above inconveniences and we whine because we can’t go to church. When often many of us might have skipped church because we had something else “important” to do.
Perhaps this pandemic is a wake up call to what is truly important… relationships with family, friends, neighbors, God. (How many are actually getting to know who their neighbors are? Are we checking in on the neighbor who lives alone, or the struggling single mom, & who else may need a hand?)
I think of our brothers and sisters around the world, many living in real poverty, in refugee camps, in hiding, in slavery, with persecution and in some places unable to even have a Bible. They don’t have access to internet, computers, and sometimes not even a radio.
We are SO BLESSED & SO SPOILED! We have access to many television & radio programming, online Christian music, bible teachings, church services, etc.
We have access to all the entertainment & games we could ask for. We can have food delivered or we can still go shopping for all kinds of stuff & not just essentials! You can still get Starbucks, In-n-Out, McDonalds!
AND YET… we talk about the economy and how awful it is as if MONEY is the most important thing in our lives. It’s so important that we are willing to let the weak suffer and die from a virus that we don’t have an immunity to, no cure, no vaccination, no quick fix. Some would say just have the old & sickly stay home & let everyone else return to normal. No need to wear masks, gloves, or take precautions.
Okay… how many of you realize you have family members that you could bring home unknowingly the virus & expose your parents, your child, your immune compromised friend.
When did Christians value money, entertainment, sports, concerts, beaches, etc., more than one human life? When did the almighty dollar replace the eternal value of Almighty God & His children?
You might say to the old, the immune-compromised, the diabetic, the asthmatic, the sick — “just trust in God, don’t walk in fear, we’re all going to die some day.”
Those of us who are in the category of “you should stay home”, have a question for you… why don’t you “just trust God to provide for your money? Don’t walk in fear of the economy. We’re all going to not be able to work someday, we’re all going to die.”
Easier said than done.
You see many of us because we already have faced the challenges of health & as a result loss of income, are already ahead in that learning curve of trusting God. We’ve learned the hard way, what is valuable & important.
You can’t put a price tag on the life of even ONE person. Many Christians are outraged about abortion & espouse the value of an unborn child, yet out of the same mouth are willing to sacrifice others for the sake of things that will turn to dust or rust!
Yes, the stress of the pandemic & a downward spiral of the economy can cause depression, anxiety, suicide, domestic violence and a host of other problems, but so did the many California fires, the Midwest tornadoes & the coastal hurricanes and floods.
Will getting us “back to normal” really solve those problems. Those problems already existed before the pandemic & if the pandemic was a tipping point, then we as Christians need to be part of the solution for those problems. Getting “back to normal” will NOT fix those problems but only bury them once again only to resurface in some other crisis.
The difference with those problems and the pandemic is there are answers, solutions, help for those problems but we don’t have answers or solutions for the pandemic. What we CAN DO is actively LOVE others by caring enough to sacrifice some freedoms and luxuries for the sake of others. This is an ethic of truly valuing each life.
Ask yourself… “What does this matter in light of eternity?” “How do my actions weigh in the eternal scheme of things?”
As American Christians, in general, we have not suffered. Jesus promised “peace I give to you, in this world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” We are guaranteed tribulations and we are promised His peace, His presence. Jesus also said, “in as much as you’ve gone it unto the least of these, you’ve done it unto me. Come you blessed of my Father, enter into the joy of the Lord.”
Today is the Feast Day of the Holy Venerable St. Brigid of Kildare, Ireland so I thought I’d post some background information and some of her hagiography I have found along with a variety of icons I’ve collected in my photos.
I enjoyed reading the following quote that came in one of my email newsletters/blogs I subscribe to mentioning her feast day.
Her Feast Day is most commonly celebrated around the world on February 1st. However in some Eastern Orthodox Churches which follow the Old Julian Calendar, her Feast Day is celebrated on February 14th.
The tradition of making Saint Brigid’s crosses from rushes and hanging them in the home is still followed in Ireland, where devotion to her is still strong. (More on St. Brigid’s Cross is below).
She is also venerated in northern Italy, France, and Wales.
St. Brigid is the Patron Saint of: Ireland, poets, brewers, blacksmiths, dairymaids, cattle, midwives, Irish nuns, fugitives, and newborn babies.
She was born in 451 a.d., and died in 525 a.d.
Saint Brigid’s likeness is often depicted holding a reed cross, a crozier, or a lamp.
Saint Brigid, “the Mary of the Gael,” was born around 450 in Faughart, about two miles from Dundalk in County Louth. According to Tradition, her father was a pagan named Dubthach, and her mother was Brocessa (Broiseach), one of his slaves.
Even as a child, she was known for her compassion for the poor. She would give away food, clothing, and even her father’s possessions to the poor. One day he took Brigid to the king’s court, leaving her outside to wait for him. He asked the king to buy his daughter from him, since her excessive generosity made her too expensive for him to keep. The king asked to see the girl, so Dubthach led him outside. They were just in time to see her give away her father’s sword to a beggar. This sword had been presented to Dubthach by the king, who said, “I cannot buy a girl who holds us so cheap.”
Saint Brigid received monastic tonsure at the hands of Saint Mael of Ardagh (February 6). Soon after this, she established a monastery on land given to her by the King of Leinster. The land was called Cill Dara (Kildare), or “the church of the oak.” This was the beginning of women’s cenobitic monasticism in Ireland.
The miracles performed by Saint Brigid are too numerous to relate here, but perhaps one story will suffice. One evening the holy abbess was sitting with the blind nun Dara. From sunset to sunrise they spoke of the joys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the love of Christ, losing all track of time. Saint Brigid was struck by the beauty of the earth and sky in the morning light. Realizing that Sister Dara was unable to appreciate this beauty, she became very sad. Then she prayed and made the Sign of the Cross over Dara’s eyes. All at once, the blind nun’s eyes were opened and she saw the sun in the east, and the trees and flowers sparkling with dew. She looked for a while, then turned to Saint Brigid and said, “Close my eyes again, dear Mother, for when the world is visible to the eyes, then God is seen less clearly by the soul.” Saint Brigid prayed again, and Dara became blind once more.
Saint Brigid fell asleep in the Lord in the year 523 after receiving Holy Communion from Saint Ninnidh of Inismacsaint (January 18). She was buried at Kildare, but her relics were transferred to Downpatrick during the Viking invasions. It is believed that she was buried in the same grave with Saint Patrick (March 17) and Saint Columba of Iona (June 9).
Late in the thirteenth century, her head was brought to Portugal by three Irish knights on their way to fight in the Holy Land. They left this holy relic in the parish church of Lumiar, about three miles from Lisbon. Portions of the relic were brought back to Ireland in 1929 and placed in a new church of Saint Brigid in Dublin.
The relics of Saint Brigid in Ireland were destroyed in the sixteenth century by Lord Grey during the reign of Henry VIII.
Saint Brigid was born Brigit, and shares a name with a Celtic goddess from whom many legends and folk customs are associated.
There is much debate over her birthparents, but it is widely believed her mother was Brocca, a Christian baptized by Saint Patrick, and her father was Dubthach, a Leinster chieftain. Brocca was a slave, therefore Brigid was born into slavery.
When Dubthach’s wife discovered Brocca was pregnant, she was sold to a Druid landowner. It is not clear if Brocca was unable to produce milk or was not present to care for Brigid, but legend states Brigid vomited any food the druid attempted to feed her, as he was impure, so a white cow with red ears sustained her instead.
Many stories of Brigid’s purity followed her childhood. She was unable to keep from feeding the poor and healing them.
One story says Brigid once gave her mother’s entire store of butter, that was later replenished after Brigid prayed.
When she was about ten-years-old, Brigid was returned to her father’s home, as he was her legal master. Her charity did not end when she left her mother, and she donated his possessions to anyone who asked.
Eventually, Dubthach became tired of her charitably nature and took her to the king of Leinster, with the intention of selling her. As he spoke to the king, Brigid gave his jeweled sword to a beggar so he could barter it for food for his family. When the king, who was a Christian, saw this, he recognized her heart and convinced Dubthach to grant her freedom by saying, “Her merit before God is greater than ours.”
After being freed, Brigid returned to the Druid and her mother, who was in charge of the Druid’s dairy. Brigid took over and often gave away milk, but the dairy prospered despite the charitable practice, and the Druid eventually freed Brocca.
Brigid then returned to Dubthach, who had arranged for her to marry a bard. She refused and made a vow to always be chaste.
Legend has it Brigid prayed that her beauty be taken so no one would want to marry her, and the prayer was granted. It was not until after she made her final vows that her beauty was restored.
Another tale says that when Saint Patrick heard her final vows, he accidentally used the form for ordaining priests. When the error was brought to his attention, he simply replied, “So be it, my son, she is destined for great things.”
Little is known about Saint Brigid’s life after she entered the Church, but in 480 she founded a monastery in Kildare, called the Church of the Oak. It was built above a pagan shrine to the Celtic goddess Brigid, which was beneath a large oak tree.
Brigid and seven friends organized communal consecrated religious life for women in Ireland and she founded two monastic institutions, one for men and one for women. Brigid invited a hermit called Conleth to help her in Kildare as a spiritual pastor.
Her biographer reported that Brigid chose Saint Conleth “to govern the church along with herself.”
She later founded a school of art that included metalwork and illumination, which Conleth led as well. It was at this school that the Book of Kildare, which the Gerald of Wales praised as “the work of angelic, and not human skill,” was beautifully illuminated, but was lost three centuries ago.
There is evidence that Brigid was a good friend of Saint Patrick’s and that the Trias Thaumaturga claimed, “Between St. Patrick and Brigid, the pillars of the Irish people, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind. Through him and through her Christ performed many great works.”
Saint Brigid helped many people in her lifetime, but on February 1, 525, she passed away of natural causes. Her body was initially kept to the right of the high altar of Kildare Cathedral, with a tomb “adorned with gems and precious stones and crowns of gold and silver,” but in 878, during the Scandinavian raids, her relics were moved to the tomb of Patrick and Columba.
In 1185, John de Courcy had her remains relocated in Down Cathedral. Today, Saint Brigid’s skull can be found in the Church of St. John the Baptist in Lumiar, Portugal. The tomb in which it is kept bears the inscription, “Here in these three tombs lie the three Irish knights who brought the head of St. Brigid, Virgin, a native of Ireland, whose relic is preserved in this chapel. In memory of which, the officials of the Altar of the same Saint caused this to be done in January AD 1283.”
A portion of the skull was relocated to St. Bridget’s Church and another was sent to the Bishop of Lisbon in St. Brigid’s church in Killester.
Troparions and Kontakions chanted in Eastern Orthodox Churches:
Troparion, Tone 1:
O holy Brigid, thou didst become sublime through thy humility, and didst fly on the wings of thy longing for God. When thou didst arrive in the Eternal City and appear before thy Divine Spouse, wearing the crown of virginity, thou didst keep thy promise to remember those who have recourse to thee. Thou dost shower grace upon the world, and dost multiply miracles. Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.
Another Troparion, Tone 4:
Instructed by the words of Holy Pádraig, thou didst journey far to the west, proclaiming the Orient which has visited us from on high. Wherefore we bless thee, Venerable Mother Brigid, and we cry out to thee: Pray in behalf of our souls.
Kontakion, Tone 6:
Rejecting thy noble rank, and loving the godly monastic life, from the wood of the oak didst thou raise up a convent, the first in thy land and having there united a multitude of nuns to God, thou didst teach the surrounding lands to cry to the Lord: Have mercy on us!
Another Kontakion, Tone 4:
The holy virgin Brigid full of divine wisdom, went with joy along the way of evangelical childhood, and with the grace of God attained in this way the summit of virtue. Wherefore she now bestoweth blessings upon those who come to her with faith. O holy Virgin, intercede with Christ our God that He may have mercy on our souls.
From the Old Sarum Rite Missal (c) 1998 St. Hilarion Press, Austin, Texas
Collect for the Feast of St. Brigid of Ireland:
O Creator and Governor of the heavens and the earthly regions, Almighty God, in Thy fatherly love help Thy people praying to Thee: and grant that we who carry out the solemn feast of this day in honour of the holy Brigid may by her interceding prayers inherit the glory which hath no end. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God through all the ages of ages. Amen.
A Christian symbol, usually made from rushes or, less often, straw. It comprises a woven square in the centre and four radials tied at the ends. Bridget’s crosses are traditionally made on February 1st, which in the Irish language is called Lá Fhéile Bhríde (St Bridget’s feast day), the day of her liturgical celebration. Many rituals are associated with the making of the crosses. It was traditionally believed that a Bridget’s Cross protects the house from fire and evil. It is hung in many Irish and Irish-American kitchens for this purpose.
St. Bridget and her cross are linked together by a story about her weaving this form of cross at the death-bed of either her father or a pagan lord, who upon hearing what the cross meant, asked to be baptized. One version goes as follows:
A pagan chieftain from the neighbourhood of Kildare was dying. Christians in his household sent for Bridget to talk to him about Christ. When she arrived, the chieftain was raving. As it was impossible to instruct this delirious man, hopes for his conversion seemed doubtful. Bridget sat down at his bedside and began consoling him. As was customary, the dirt floor was strewn with rushes both for warmth and cleanliness. Bridget stooped down and started to weave them into a cross, fastening the points together. The sick man asked what she was doing. She began to explain the cross, and as she talked, his delirium quieted and he questioned her with growing interest. Through her weaving, he converted and was baptized at the point of death. Since then, the cross of rushes has existed in Ireland.
On Sunday (June 18th, 2019), was Pentecost according to the Eastern Orthodox Church. (It was Pentecost the previous Sunday in the Catholic & Protestant Churches). Pentecost was the day the Church was born; the day the Holy Spirit descended like tongues of fire & empowered the followers of Jesus to preach & spread the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus and His healing, redemptive work. (Acts 2:1-11)
As this special Sunday came closer in the days that had followed Easter/Pascha, I began to remember and reflect on a message I had heard at a conference a few years ago, (October 4th, 2015) by speaker/preacher Micah Bournes.
In this message, Micah addresses racism, cultural diversity, and unity in a very thoughtful and compelling manner full of respect, humility, humor and sensitivity. It is also a message that is very challenging and from a perspective unlike others I had heard before.
So I emailed Micah and inquired if there was any video or audio recordings of this message, based on the Biblical text of the story of the building of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).
I felt as I did then, this message is desperately needed and necessary even more so than just a few years ago.
Please take the time to listen to this message and ask God what He might say to you personally.
Micah Bournes is from Long Beach California.He is also a graduate of The Moody BibleInstitute. Ever since I encountered Micah’s unique talents, I have followed and enjoyed his unique methods of sharing what God has placed in his heart to offer to others.
Micah is a creative man of faith. In addition to performing poetry, the “Spoken Word” and music, he often speaks and teaches on creative writing, pursuing justice, and the way of Jesus. Micah has been able to share his passions and gifts all over the world.