Friday, July 25, 2008

Morning Has Broken

I read an interesting non-fiction book last year called “How the Irish Saved Civilization” by Frank Cahill. I learned a lot of things about Ireland and the Celts that helped me understand myself and my own Christianity better. According to Cahill, after the fall of the Roman Empire, some learned men slipped into Ireland to escape persecution and brought with them some of the scriptures. They didn't force their beliefs on the Celts, who were considered pagans, but simply lived an exemplary life that inspired the Celts to want to be more like them. Cahill says that Ireland was the only country converted to Christianity without violence.

Ever since my favorite dog, Lilly, died, I’ve had a small Celtic cross in my little garden and enjoy catching my breath among the flowers… and lately the weeds too. Celtic crosses differ from Roman crosses in that there is a circle in the center of the cross. From what I understand this was introduced in order to convert the Celts who were “sun worshipers” to Christianity.

While I don’t worship the sun, I do get a thrill from the simple fact that it is there every single day. Even during the worst months of winter, the sun is there somewhere just waiting to brighten my day. There is a bit of the Celt in me.

When you have a sick child, or maybe even if you don’t, there is a tendency to think that today will be the day. The day your child takes a few bites of real food or asks for his video games. The day the doctors will stop by your room with some better news. If you’re jobless, it helps to look forward to something better today than yesterday. If you’re caring for an elderly parent, you might hope that today their mood won’t be quite so bad. In each new day, there’s always something to hope for.

Although I never really was a fan of Oral Roberts through the years, occasionally my TV would be tuned to the station carrying his program. Every time I heard the opening notes of “Something Good is Going to Happen to You”, I would freeze and watch for the duration of that lovely affirmation. It became a part of my core beliefs, and I think it's that excitement that gets me out of bed every day.

Today, I looked up another hymn that was rattling around in my head, “Morning Has Broken”. I discovered from my handy dandy Wikipedia that it was written by Cat Stephens, again, not someone I really follow. After surfing around a little more, I found a couple of lovely rendition on YouTube. I just love computer magic! Perhaps you’d like to take a few minutes to listen to it. or (In my typically indecisive mode, I couldn't decide which version to include, so put both.)

I hope I’ll remember to stop and enjoy the morning and be thankful for it every day for as long as I live. I hope that today will bring something good and that I recognize it.



Colleen said...

Janie, Thanks for celebrating some of what I love best about my Scots-Irish heritage. FYI, someone has reedited Wikipedia to include the complete history of this lovely hymn: written in 1922 by English author Eleanor Farjeon and set to haunting traditional Scots Gaelic melody Bunessan. I grew up with Cat Steven's version, but I much prefer the Angelis interpretation you posted (second youtube clip). It has that feeling of hovering between two realms that you get at daybreak.

My favorite hymn is also Celtic and very old, sixth century I'm told. It's "Be Thou My Vision" and the old Irish melody is called Slane, for the holy hill where Saint Patrick is supposed to have lit the first Paschal bonfire. Ed's cousin Naomi, the soloist at Second Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, sang this hymn at our wedding.

Janie said...

Thanks, Colleen. I love "Be Thou My Vision" too.