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A Spark from Parish of Upper Kennebecasis

From Apohaqui
, New Brunswick, 
 Diocese of Fredericton

This is what you have taught me, Trianaid naomh:
During my dysart of COVID-19:
My prayers have been less about me,
Or even about my religion and my clerical vocation.
They have been about the people I long to see behind the masks,
hug, hold and help
from a lot closer than two meters.
I have learned to see you, mo ghràidh Iosa,  not enthroned on high
Nor even suffering on your cross,
But eating, drinking, chatting with the people you care about:
Hugging, laughing, crying and helping in love.
Life isn’t about me. Not even about me and mine.
Life is about people, made in your image,
Needing to experience your grace and love.

This is now my question, Cìobair Math:
What can I do to help?
There is so much suffering –you know all about that;
So much violence inflicted in your name:
Children cry for their mothers, exiled to a “Christian” institution
Where they were humiliated, beaten, raped.
Commercials and advertising for “the good life”
Mock and dishearten the poor, the dispossessed, the sick
of body, heart or soul.
Gun làmhan ach ar làmhan:
Theresa said that in this time of mission,
You have no hands but our hands.
How can I let you sanitize and school mine?
Dè as urrainn dhomh a dhèanamh gus cuideachadh?

There was a time when the barbarians ruled the West before.
Bha barbarians a ’riaghladh an iar.
Came David and Melangell, Patrick and Brigid;
Then Columba and Kentigerna, Aidan and Hilda,
Without arms, power or wealth.
To the continent, Columbanus and Dymphna;
Even converted sassenach got in on the mission,
Forbears of our Anglican oddities:
Alcuin, who taught Charlemagne to conquer the Germans
With love and truth, not genocidal campaigns;
Willibrord and Boniface and Adela of Normandy.
Yes, the barbarians are trying to take over again —
Not a few of them in the name of God.
But this is my hope: Buannaichidh na naoimh!

Tha triùir naomh gam dhèanamh naomh!
Make me holy, Holy Three:
Holy in hope, holy in love,
Holy in courage and creativity and joy:
Your Spirit is again bringing forth an Age of the Saints,
Lights shining in the darkness, salt saving the meat from rot.
Put me among that noble, missional company

—Rev. Dr. Chris McMullen, Priest-in-Charge,
Parish of Upper Kennebecasis, Diocese of Fredericton
1 Ògmhios, 2021.

(Scottish Gaelic:
Bha barbarians a ’riaghladh an iar –Barbarians ruled the West.
Buannaichidh na naoimh
–the saints will triumph.
Cìobair Math –Good Shepherd.
Dè as urrainn dhomh a dhèanamh gus cuideachadh? –what can I do to help?
– “dessert”, figuratively, Celtic place of prayerful retreat.
Gun làmhan ach ar làmhan –you have no hands but our hands.
Mo ghràidh
Iosa –my beloved Jesus.
Sassenach –“Saxons” or “pants-wearers”, i.e., the English
Tha triùir naomh gam dhèanamh naomh
–Holy Three, make me holy.
Trianaid naomh –Holy Trinity.)

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