Winnie the Pooh, St. Patrick, and Meandering Mysticism

Winnie the Pooh is a wanderer. Each day is an adventure with no preordained destination. It might be the quest for a honey tree, a conversation with Christopher Robin, a float down the stream, or a journey to the North Pole. Wherever he finds himself, he feels blessed as he rejoices in the wonders of the 100 Aker Wood.

Winnie the Pooh trusts the Gentle Providence of life to guide him where he needs to be and whenever he needs to get there.

Centuries before A.A. Milne wrote the Winnie the Pooh stories, Celtic adventurers set out to sea in little boats, coracles, without rudders, trusting that God would guide them to their place of resurrection. Celtic adventurers saw each day as a blessing in which God was their companion on the way. Even in difficult times, God is working for good and plans for good and not for evil, a future and a hope. As St. Patrick prayed,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me

For a meandering mystic, every day is an adventure. Every day brings something new. Every day is an opportunity to walk in love and beauty. Providence guides our steps and brings us home. This is true for us, for Patrick, and for Pooh.

Tolkien avers, “all who wander are not lost.” That’s true for the Celts and for Pooh as well. In fact, if God is omnipresent, then every place is home and each step is guided by God. Even when he’s lost, he enjoys the journey, knowing that being lost may be the pathway to surprising adventures and new vistas.

This St. Patrick’s week, let us rejoice in the wandering, trusting that God will bring us to our place of resurrection, the place where we find ourselves and discover our vocation as companions in God’s holy adventure. (For more on Pooh’s adventures, see “The Gospel According to Winnie the Pooh,” Noesis Press/Davies Group Publishers)

About Bruce Epperly

Rev. Bruce Epperly, Ph.D., serves as Pastor at South Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Centerville, MA. Prior to coming to Cape Cod in 2013, he served on the faculties and often in administrative and chaplaincy roles at Georgetown University, Claremont School of Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. Bruce is currently a professor in spirituality, ministry, and theology in the doctoral program at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. He has served as pastor or interim pastor of congregations in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He is the author or co-author of over 35 books in the areas of theology, spirituality, ministerial excellence and spiritual formation, scripture, and healing and wholeness, including Process Theology: Embracing Adventure with God; Finding God in Suffering: A Journey with Job; From Here to Eternity: Preparing for the Next Adventure; and A Center in the Cyclone: Clergy Self-care in the 21st Century.