Christ in the stranger’s guise

The Wicklow Way, Ireland
The Wicklow Way, Ireland

Celtic Rune of Hospitality

I saw a stranger yester’en.

I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place

and in the sacred name of the Triune
He blessed myself and my house,
my cattle and my dear ones,

and the lark sang in her song
goes Christ in the stranger’s guise.

The Celtic Rune of Hospitality seems to remind us of friendlier times while offering a brief yet thorough tutorial in hospitality  – greeting, food, drink and song.  I wondered briefly at music in the listening place, then I recalled the many scenes of happy hospitality in Tolkien’s The Hobbit, each of which include food, drink and song.  “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above horded gold, it would be a merrier world,” Thorin comments in The Hobbit.   Frodo visiting Rivendell, finds truth in Bilbo’s description of the last homely house east of the sea “…a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep, or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all.”


Here is a recording of a musical setting of the Celtic Rune of Hospitality that Mr. Garner and I have sung. It’s quite lovely.

Celtic Rune of Hospitality by Alf Houkom performed by Dale Warland Singers


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