We did a half hour devotional on thursday – based around the idea of journey, and using the voyage of saint Brendan as an outline model – I’ve pasted it below in case anyone would find it useful.
Our guys found this a really useful exercise – good for relationship, good for personal reflection – good fun, worth a try!
As followers of Jesus, we are all on journeys, both as individuals in our personal spiritual walk, and as a group – on an adventure together.
Today’s devotional time is based around the concept of journey, and we’re going to use as a starting point the story of Saint Brendan the Navigator, who sailed from Ireland to America in a small boat made of animal skins.
To follow the voyage of Saint Brendan, we are going to split into groups to take our own journey. Each group will be given a number 1 to 5, and they will each start at the corresponding station in the journey (group 1 at point 1, etc.) At the sound of the bell, each group will move to the next station on their journey, one person should read aloud to the group whatever is on the sheet found at that station.
At each point there will be a small piece of the story of Brendan the Navigator’s journey, and an exercise to do, either individually or as a group.
After the 5 points have been visited, the groups will return to the meeting room.
Text for station 1) Brendan set sail from Ireland – not knowing for certain where he would end up. He embarked on a journey – desperate to reach the promised land. His desperation led to him setting sail into the unknown, in a boat made of wicker and cow hide.
Reflect for a moment on what lengths you would go to, in order to pursue God’s calling. Are there places you would refuse to go to, or lengths to which you would not extend yourself? Ask God to reveal these to you, and ask him to help you face your fears.
Text for station 2) Brendan chose fourteen monks to accompany him on his journey, but as they were about to set off, three others asked to join them. Two of these were motivated by wrongful thoughts, and were found out.
Reflect and ask God to reveal to you any wrongful motivations for things you are involved in, and ask him to root out of you any pride, selfishness, or desire for earthly gain.
Text for station 3) The story of Brendan’s journey was long regarded as totally fanciful, until someone attempted a similar voyage, and found it is actually possible to sail across the Atlantic in such a boat.
Reflect on the inadequacy of human knowledge – how little we know of the world around us, and how much less we know of God. Ask God to help you to hold your own beliefs in humility, and respect others – even when they seem crazy.
Text for station 4) One of the amazing parts of Brendan’s voyage is a story of finding Judas Iscariot on a rock in the middle of the ocean.
Share with the group the one Bible character (excluding Jesus) that you would wish to meet and talk to today…
Text for station 5) Brendan the navigator set sail with no map, no gps, no rescue service as back up. He relied on the courage of his firm convictions, and a dogged belief in his mission.
If you feel able, share with the group a challenge that you would like the courage to take on. Keep it short, and don’t elaborate too much – allow others to share the burden with you.
Note: If you are interested in reading about the voyage of Saint Brendan yourself – the translation of his famous account can be found here.