Advent December 18th: Saint Flannan’s Day
Your home is the everywhere – and nowhere
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
Jesus was born in Bethlehem – outside his own hometown. Shortly after his birth, his family fled to Egypt for a season to evade Herod’s evil designs against the child. This highlights the life of Christ to come. During His ministry, Jesus said these words, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” In that same sentence He called others to follow Him. The missional life is a life which realizes that home is something other than the place we lay our heads at night. In one sense, the world is our home. In another sense, no place on earth is our home. We make ourselves at home wherever we go in this world. We make our family among those we are sent to serve, and yet, in all this we realize that our home is in another place.
December 18th is Saint Flannan’s Day. As with so many of the Celtic Saints (and so many of their medieval hagiographies) tall tales exist about him. Flannan the son of King Turlough became a disciple of Molua. It is said that he traveled to Rome for his induction as Bishop of Killaloe, and that he sailed across the seas on a millstone to get there. That millstone later became his pulpit. He became an itinerant preacher, and it appears he even traveled to the Hebrides in Scotland to preach the Gospel, where he is still honored today. He was afraid that the kingship of his father would fall to him. Desiring to remain an traveling preacher, and avoid returning to the castle of his birth with all its worldly responsibilities, he prayed for a deformity, which according to Irish law would make him ineligible for the throne. It is said that immediately, “scars and rashes and boils began to appear on his face so that it became most dreadful and repulsive.”
Prayer: Lord, this world is not my home, because my home is with You. Yet I choose to make the whole world my home while I am here. Help me to see family in my neighbors, in my co-workers, and in the people I meet on the streets. May the excessive love I find in Christ, and the wild desire I see in Saint Flannan cause me to be both a citizen of Your Kingdom, and a comfortable traveler in this world.