21st April


It is better to trust in the Lord than to depend upon human leaders. Psalm 118: 9

One of the curses of our society is a condition the has been described as ‘the cycle of dependency’. Proud and false independence is wrong, but dependency (as distinct from mutual inter-dependence) and failure to take responsibility is also wrong; it is a subtle form of idolatry. We can so easily put leaders on to pedestals, and expect them to do for us what we can only do for ourselves. Certainly, we can only do these things in the strength God gives, but God is as available to us as he is to them. In fact there should never be a ‘them’.

Celtic Christianity spawned close fellowships and delightful friendships, but it did not spawn dependency. If someone wanted to enter a monastery (and sometimes these became the only safe and decent places around) they had to wait outside for days. They had to show that they could take responsibility for their food, sleep and time, that they could take their own decisions and that they could work hard.

Maedoc and Molaise were bosom friends. But they were open to the possibility that they might be called to travel independent paths. ‘Ah Jesus’, they prayed one day at the foot of two trees, ‘is it your will that we should part, or that we should remain together to the end?’ Then one of the trees fell to the south, and the other to the north. They knew then that it had been revealed to them that they must part. Maedoc went south and built a monastery at Ferns. Molaise went north and built a monastery in Devenish.

During a gathering of a large religious movement, someone begged the leader: ‘Our children are being murdered in the streets. Come and help us.’ The leader was thoughtfully silent. ‘Brother’, he simply said, ‘you are hurting, and I feel for you. Let me give you my address and phone number. I’ll do what I can to help you. But please – do not look to me as a leader. I may be dead tomorrow. God wants to raise up a leader in you.’

Moment by moment you give me choices, O Lord.
Help me to make those choices.