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Reasons to be bothered

In 453AD the Council of Calcedon agreed a formula to express how Jesus was both fully human and fully divine. Who cares? Well, the implications are significant. First of all, it confirms that Jesus was not just a good man, or a great teacher. He was God, Creator of the Universe, almighty and eternal. Yet at the same time, in entering creation and being born from the womb of Mary, he went through the formative process that goes into making a human-being just like the rest of us. And so Jesus was "both... and" rather than "either... or". Yet this was no random experiment. Jesus took on our humanity, so that we might share his divinity. He accomplished this by living a perfect life and then offering himself on the cross, as a sufficient sacrifice to pay the price of sin - the barrier separating us from God. Thereby he reconciled us with God and opened the way to heaven.

And there is more! In living that perfect life, Jesus demonstrated what it is like to be fully human - which puts a new complexion on the phrase "I'm only human". What one really means is: "In my weakness, I am not living up to my full potential as a being who is created in the image of God".

On this day in 597, St Columba - Naomh Colum Cille - went to glory. Why should we care? Maybe not the earliest Christian to reach these shore and maybe not the first to evangelise Scotland. Yet there is no doubt that the so-called "Dove of the Church" enjoys the most enduring legacy of all the Celtic saints. And that is saying something. These were not an easy bunch to outshine. Their life of sacrifice, willingness to endure danger and hardship and the mortification to which they subjected themselves - whether fasting in remote and inhospitable places or praying all night in freezing water up to their necks - distinguish Celtic missionaries as the hardiest of breeds. That's what it took to bring the Gospel to Scotland and that is why Scotland's rejection of their legacy is so profound; it is also why the task of re-introducing the Gospel to Scotland is so formidable.

Colum Cille agus Maol Rudha: Where will we find their likes again?



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