The Devotional Life

Worship is justice. And there is a devotional life that is bigger than one’s personal time with God. This is what i am thinking today.

Debbie and Miriam (another pilgrim who moved up to Orkney to pray) are on a ferry to visit the island of Westray today. According to a book i am reading “Pilgrimage sites of the Orkney Isles”, Westray has at least 2 of those 15 significant Celtic monastic sites..

Interesting thought from the book: “Modern day pilgrims are following in the steps of those who were determined to keep the devotional life alive . .
THE devotional life . . . not OUR or MY devotional life.

The previous church world that i was brought up in emphasized the individual’s devotional life, and there wasn’t a sense of a communal devotional life, or a devotional life that was perhaps even larger than that – something that spans time and space, spans generations, something that demands we continue in.

Maybe this is why some of us have been called up here. The devotional life of the Celtic monks on these islands ceased, their way of following Jesus was partially squashed by the Romans, acquired by Vikings, their buildings demolished by the Reformers (they left only 2 churches intact in Orkney) and pilgrimage routes stopped. Maybe God is reestablishing worship on these islands, not for our personal growth or our private devotional lives but for THE devotional life that must stay alive – all things must worship their Creator. Worship is justice. When there is no worship, no rightful response given back to the Creator, then a void is substituted in its place. To worship is to reestablish justice. To call up and maintain the devotional life is to help establish justice, to shift the world towards RIGHTness.



Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • erickeck says:

    now im really jealous… what a cool trip, hopefully we can hear more

  • Kevin Rector says:

    Does it snow on Orkney? Seems like a neat place.
    I found this post to be interesting. On the one hand, there can be no communal devotional life without personal devotional life. On the other, personal devotional life without communal devotional life is meaningless.
    Great post!

  • teresa says:

    hmmm. i like that. i recently started praying the office with a celtic prayer book. it’s lovely! (from the northumbria community). have you found old prayer books from the orkney pilgrims/monks?
    i’d love to come SEE you guys next summer when i come through the UK again.

  • I’ve always thought the monastics of the past served many purposes. They were the consience of the church, they were the prayer warriors of the church, and they supplied the leaders and missionaries for the church. The reformers lost a lot when they threw out monastacism. You are on a great voyage of rediscovery.

  • Hutch says:

    Andrew, intriguing post. I would love to hear more about THE devotional life, whether here on the blog or through personal email (if you have the time). I know very little, if anything at all, about it. Having just started seminary and taken one church history class, and making it through Multnomah BC without taking church history, I am on the edge and just starting to look to the past; my soul longs to look even more so. About all I’ve got is lectio divina, but I’m thinking you mean much more than that by using the term THE devotional life. Please, please talk more about this. What is it? How does it present itself? How does it happen in community?

  • Alan Cross says:

    Great post on worship. THE Devotional Life as something that exists outside of us and needs to be maintained in community. . . fascinating. I’m sensing that something on this will make it into our worship this weekend – thanks for sparking thought. Worship is justice. Yeah.

  • scotty says:

    “their way of following Jesus” “maybe God is reestablishing worship….for THE devotional life.”
    “worship is justice” “to call up and maintain the devotional life is to help establish justice”
    worship as a way of following Jesus….a way of life….a life of justice
    could you say more about your thoughts on THE devotional life(it spanning time and space), the Celtic monks and the calling of some to come up there?

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