With reference to at least two different areas of study, discuss the contribution of the Key people, Movements, or traditions to the concept/theme of faith.
The Oxford English dictionary defines faith as, “complete trust, an unquestioning confidence.” Many people, in defining faith, speak about believing in the impossible or trusting in something/someone without proof. As Watton states, “Faith is our attitude in the presence of someone, or some event, whose goodness and greatness is greater than we can fully grasp, describe or explain.” According to Michael P Gallagher, “Faith is a gift of god… a human yes of recognition spoken to a divine yes of love.” Faith is about a journey, and a quest. A search for truth and meaning.
Within the 2 areas of study- the theology of Luke and the Celtic Church and its missionary outreach in the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries, I will examine the concept of faith in relation to key people. I am also going to look at the religious theme surrounding faith-universality.
In both Luke’s gospel and the Celtic Church a number of key people are called to faith, to leave their old life and join Jesus in a new life of faith. In Luke’s gospel, one key person who is called to faith is Simon. Jesus, in the call of the first fishermen asked the disciples to put out their boats. They did as Jesus commanded and a great catch of fish occurs. Simon falls to his knees and said, “Depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man.” Simon’s response is like that of Patrick who also bowed down in humility. He is shown as one with great faith and as a key person in Luke’s gospel as he left his nets and followed Jesus.
Likewise, as in Luke’s Gospel we see that Simon arises as a key person who is called to a life of faith, so too in the Celtic Church Patrick emerges as a key person in responding faithfully to God’s call. Patrick was a nominal Christian who found God similar to the call Simon. Patrick was also aware of his sinfulness. “I, Patrick, a sinner…am to advert to my sins and turn whole heartedly to the Lord my God.” In reflection, both Simon, and Patrick are faithful believers and key people in the theme of faith. As Simon is called by God to be a universal Saviour, Patrick too received this call and answers it by in turn calling all sections of Irish society to faith in Christ- “I am going to the ends of the earth.”
Furthermore, for the key people in Luke’s gospel and the Celtic Church, the call to faith involves a ministry. A group of key people in Luke’s gospel are the 72 disciples. They are central examples of faith and are key people in carrying out Jesus’ mission. The mission of the 72 was to be a universal one. Luke continually underlines the disciples attempt throughout their ministry to bring salvation and faith to all Jesus taught. It was their work which led to the spread of the Christian faith.
Similarly, in the Celtic Church, CB surfaces as a key person in spreading the faith. CB was also called to be a universal saviour and inspired many followers- he had to found a 3rd monastery in Fontaine’s due to the popularity. He worked with great energy for 24 years bringing people to faith in France, Switzerland, and Italy. His influence continued for centuries after his death as those he converted to faith now handed on the faith. The brothers he taught evangelised untold numbers and founded over 100 monasteries to protect learning and spread the faith. Thus, within the 2 areas of study, faith involved a ministry for the key people, in this case for the disciples in Luke’s gospel and for the Celtic Church in the form of CB.
Furthermore, it becomes apparent in reading both Luke’s Gospel and the Celtic Church that faith involved opposition and difficulty. To follow the Lord’s conversion to faith involves sacrifice of family, jobs, security, and is fraught with many difficulties. In Luke’s gospel, all key people encountered difficulties and opposition to their faith. The widow’s mite is one example of how faith is very costly. Jesus noticed the widow putting in 2 small coins and he said, “I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the rest; she has offered her whole livelihood.” This was an example of her total faith in God.
It is also evident that the faith of key people within the Celtic Church also involved a huge cost. As the poor widow gave up all her possessions, so too were the monks in the early Irish Church expected to take vows of poverty and renunciation. Colmcille turned his back on his distinguished background, and travelled to Iona wishing to be a “pilgrim for Christ.” This demonstrates his total faith and obedience in Christ. It is therefore evident that faith involves opposition, difficulties, and conflict. Just as the widow encountered the cost of discipleship in Luke, so too did Colmcille face difficulties to his faith in the Celtic Church.
Moreover, it becomes apparent that women, in both Luke’s Gospel and the Celtic Church, were key figures. As Powell states, “women figure more prominently in this book than anywhere else in the New Testament.” Mary received a call to faith from God through a personal messenger. Her faith is explicitly shown in the magnificant. Mary responded faithfully to the request.
Women in the Celtic Church are also shown to be key figures. Just as Mary displayed a great trust in God in becoming his handmaid, Bridget too answered her call in accepting the veil. She saw her call to faith as strengthening the church in Ireland. One way she did this was by building a double monastery at Kildare in order to bring people to faith. However the female disciples also encounter difficulties in their faith. They are seen as 2nd class citizens and often faced opposition. The widow at Nain for example was classed as an outcast because she had no male representative. Likewise Bridgit encountered opposition from her father in deciding to dedicate her life to God.
Finally, it seems apparent that key people, both in Luke, and the Celtic Church are further demanded to show mercy and forgiveness as a way of bringing others back to faith in God. Jesus illustrates this demand to his disciples many times. The parables of the lost show God’s eagerness to bring people back to the faith. The disciples are to forgive others 7 times 70, forgiveness should be unlimited. Likewise, Patrick stands out as a key person in the Celtic Church who has obeyed God’s demand of mercy. Patrick’s letter to Corocticus illustrates his willingness to forgive “even at the last minute” before death. So, in reflection, it is evident that for the key people, both in the Celtic Church and in Luke’s gospel, a life of faith involved many demands.
In conclusion, the concept of faith is an important issue both in Luke’s gospel and the Celtic Church. Jesus was the faithful believer who inspired faith in key people like Mary, the 72 disciples, and the first fishermen. Faith was also integral to the lives of the saints and the missionaries of the Celtic Church. Faith in Luke and the Celtic Church involved a call to faith, a ministry of faith, and opposition to faith. Many key women in Luke and the Celtic Church also exhibited faith. The concept of faith also has relevance for human experience today.