Copt Meets Celt In Norway

As part of Coptic Bishop Thomas? preaching tour of Norway about fifty people met in the Church House at Grimstadt to meet him. These included members of The Community of Aidan and Hilda (Anamcara) who had gone on pilgrimages to Egypt. Bishop Thomas explained that, in contrast to western churches which often cut short times of prayer to fit the pressures of the clock, the Copts often continue until they have fully entered in an aspect of worship until they are ready ?from the inside? to emerge into a next phase. They also can teach us to enter into seasons of spiritual discipline or experiment. For example, Bishop Thomas felt he should spend forty days closely observing people in the city, and write down what he thought Jesus? feelings would be as he observed these people.

?We think there is a connection between Copt and Celt which we, too, need to connect with?, said the host, Tom Martin Berntsen, ? and tonight we have Copt and Celt with us?. He asked me to speak. After outlining the early Irish and British connections with Christian Egypt, I said that the western church had later become far removed from the purity of the desert traditions. But now, after all these years, a new interest in the desert is evident among people who are sick of the flabbiness of western Christian society. The British TV programme ?Extreme Pilgrim? had just featured an Anglican priest who was floundering in his faith, but who rediscovered it on a visit to the hermitage of Saint Antony of Egypt. Andthe Bishop of Liverpool had just suggested on radio that the account of Jesus? desert temptations should be required reading for the USA?s presidential candidates. I informed them that the Bishop of Woolwich (south London) had said ?Help us bring the desert into the city?. ?How do we do that?? I asked.

Bishop Thomas said that we have to create a desert space inside ourselves, for we are temples of God, and then go into the city with this space in our hearts. In the physical desert we bring the people to God in prayer. In the city we bring God?s love to the people.

Posted at 07:32am on 11th February 2008
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