God creates in circles. They are everywhere–from the patterns on our fingerprints, raindrops, snowflakes, petals and flowers, to the orbs of the sun and the moon and the earth itself. Then there are the circles of days and nights, of seasons, and of life too. And in our faith, there is the circle of God’s love embracing us and of God’s presence in us and in all of creation. Then I imagine the circle of all the witnesses whose lives we celebrate on All Saint’s Day standing in an incredible circle of support and love around each and every one of us.
Part of my love for circles comes from my attraction to Celtic Christian spirituality and especially the Celtic cross with the circle at its center. I have quite a collection of Celtic crosses including one large wooden cross whose pattern I sometimes trace my finger around in the same way I use a labyrinth.
I am also drawn to the circling prayers that were so much a part of their spirituality and have written a number in the past, several of which feature on our Celtic prayer cards.
My first rock painting was of a Celtic cross too and I still love to create Celtic crosses on pieces of rock I find on the various beaches we visit. My first painting began with one of the patterns from a book on Celtic art, then I decided to get more adventurous and paint a Celtic cross – not an easy exercise but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I heartily recommend it to you.
The cross sat on my desk for a number of months and I used it each morning as a focus for reflection. I added words that exemplified what the cross of Christ means to me. I started with love, joy, peace and grace, but this morning added mercy, and forgiveness. Eventually the area around the cross became so crowded that I relegated it to my box of rock art.
My cross is nowhere near perfect, and the ones I have created since are just as imperfect, but as I gazed at my photo of this cross again this morning I realized how fitting that was. After all, my view of the cross, its power, its pain and its beauty is nowhere near perfect either. I keep discovering new depths of meaning and purpose in it. I keep unveiling new ways in which I need to bow before it and absorb its messages for my life and for the world in which I live.
This year I did not create another piece of Celtic rock art. Instead I created a circle of candles around my sacred space/office area. This is my new way of celebrating both All Saints Day and Looking for Circles Day. Not surprisingly my reflections led to the writing of another prayer/poem.
Today I sit in God’s circle of light,
Breathing in, breathing out.
Today I sit in God’s circle of light
Light behind, light before, light circling all around.
Today I sit in God’s circle of light
With all the people of the world.
Loved, comforted, cared for,
On the journey to being made whole.
What is your response?
As you celebrate All Saints Day today, spend time thinking about that enormous circle of witnesses that surrounds you, encouraging you, supporting you and standing with you in good times and in bad. Now imagine that circle of God’s love extending out from this circle of witnesses, into your life and around all the people of the world. Perhaps like me, you would like to create your own circle of light, or otherwise draw a circle on a piece of paper and run your finger around it as you recite a circling prayer as a reminder that you are indeed embraced by God’s circle of light and love–not alone, but together with all the people of the world.
top photo from Unsplash
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