18 May – Rev’d Stephen Wright, Petersfield Methodist Church
Let’s hear it for St Kevin
With the nesting season well under way, I hope this story brings a smile to your lips. In County Wicklow, in the sixth century, there lived a saint – Saint Kevin. Like many a Celtic monk, he loved to seek out God in wild, remote and inaccessible places. Fortunately, he had a man-made cave for protection against the elements, unfortunately, it was so small that when he stood to pray with arms outstretched, he had to stick one of them out of the mouth of the cave. One day, absorbed in prayer, a blackbird landed on Kevin’s hand. It was a long prayer and Kevin stood so still that the bird started to build a nest in the saint’s upturned palm. But now Kevin had a dilemma. Should he drop the nest or keep standing with his arm out? Well, being a saint, you’ll know what he did. For weeks, while the blackbird laid her eggs, while she hatched them, while she fed her chicks; until they flew the nest, Kevin became a tree. Well, it’s a fanciful story, but it also reflects a couple of things, that are still relevant for our times.
The first is an affinity with and a concern for God’s creation. These days, hardly a day goes by without some reference to environment, ecology and climate in the news media. Saints like Kevin remind us that these concerns have a long (Christian) heritage.
The other relevant aspect of Kevin’s story is his pursuit of God in out the way places. For most of us today, this is not an option, but finding a quiet place to be with God is essential, if we would find the resources we need for our lives. In seeking after the presence of God and in our care of the planet, there needs to be a little bit of Kevin in us all.