Lord of Creation
Lord of Creation: A Resource for Creative Celtic Spirituality
by Brendan O’Malley
Norwich, Norfolk: SCM-Canterbury Press, 2005
Reviewed by Karen Knight Price
Brendan O’Malley begins this imaginative and idea-filled resource with a hope: "This book is offered as a resource in creative Celtic spirituality, and it is my hope that each section may be used as a basis for the practical and imaginative teaching of the spiritual life relating the whole person in body, mind and spirit" (p. 3). I believe it is often true that if one is "practical" then one certainly might not be "imaginative" as well. We do not often find a person who expresses both qualities in their personality or spiritual walk. And yet, O’Malley offers us a way to do both.
Designed for individuals, families, groups, and churches, O’Malley offers practical examples and ideas allowing a creative and holistic approach to spirituality by concretely providing prayer and worship activities, scriptures, ancient poetry and a narrative that just make a lot of sense.
By one look at the chapter titles, the reader is drawn in with an electric hope that there is a way in which all things can be assembled under heaven. O’Malley launches with a chapter "Praying with the Whole Person," followed by "Contemplative Dance Eucharist," and then "Healing by Laying On of Hands." A number of chapters follow which describe and offer examples for varying types of prayer, many of which are creative and could be used with directees or for personal practice. Some include using prayer beads, breathing exercises, and lectio divinaamong others.
A chapter is devoted to "Prayer and Spirituality" and includes a description of the value of soul friendship and spiritual direction, offering suggestions for creating a rule of life. The final section of the book offers scripture and wisdom from the ages with special attention to those of the Celtic tradition. Interspersed throughout is calligraphy quoting a variety of wisdom sources.
In one of the many exercises that can be used with individual exploration or as a group discovery, O’Malley guides the reader through an awareness of the elements (earth, water, fire, cave of the heart, and air) and how each are connected to and created by God. In the midst of a meditation on water, O’Malley says, "In your inner solitude experience the presence of God. Be open to that presence. Discover that you and God are one. Now imagine yourself standing on the beach holding hands with everyone you love…. Imagine this circle expanding until in includes all created beings. Imagine there is only one heart in the universe, and you are a part of it . . . experience the flow of love between you and all that is . . . (p. 111).
Lord of Creation is a magnificent resource for anyone with a desire to grow in his or her faith. This is an indispensable tool for spiritual direction. We all learn and grow in differing ways. This text demonstrates differences and yet brings us back to a single heartbeat.
O’Malley has given us a valuable resource for the spiritual journey that leads to peace and joy. If just the Christians were to embrace each other and hear that single heartbeat in the midst of many paths—perhaps the world could change. If we would delight in being completely connected with all of creation—perhaps the earth could heal and experience new vitality. If we would make use of both our creativity and our practicality—maybe we could be a part of a world that knows peace and joy.
Karen Knight Price lives in Davisburg, Michigan, USA with her husband Dave, her daughter Arden and son Nicholas. There they share a love for each other, their land and animals, the joy and whimsy of life, as well as a passion for God. Karen has served as a United Methodist pastor for nineteen years and is currently on family leave. She is developing a home-based ministry of spiritual direction using labyrinth walks and the presence of animal energy.