A symbol found all over England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – particularly in churchyards – is the Celtic Cross.
The cross represents the suffering and death of Jesus, but what makes it unique is the addition of the circle. The circle suggests the circle of life, the cycle of the seasons, and it is also a symbol of wholeness, completeness, unity and infinity. Some see it as the eternal love of God.
The circle connects the cross with Earth and with nature. Celtic teachers often see the intersection point of the cross as the “heart of God”. In the Celtic cross, the heart of God is also the heart of creation. Both Christ and creation radiate forth from the same place, emerging from the heart of God. Christ reconnects us to that heart, to the unity from which all life comes.
So, what has this to do with the Easter message?
The Celtic Easter is a simple way of annually celebrating Christian values that are very different from a prevailing culture that often venerates selfishness, narcissism, and consumption as human virtues. We are a Christian community that is a friend of the poor, a friend of creation, and a friend of God.
The early Celtic pioneers and saints lived in violent times, in lands wracked by petty politics, tribal feuding, constant migration and its ensuing ethnic and racial tensions. Extreme wealth was in the hands of a few, and there was a downtrodden hidden majority. Not unlike some of the problems we face today!
Let us pray that we experience the enduring presence of the risen Jesus with us at all times; that we may experience – despite inevitable trials and disappointments – enduring gratitude for what we are and for what the universe is.
And may we have joy. According to the theologian Teilhard de Chardin, joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God. May God’s joy be abundant in our hearts!
Old Celtic Easter blessings are lyrically beautiful and perfect for imparting the messages of peace, love and renewal at Easter time.