Tuesday, March 01, 2005

St. David's Day

March 1, 2005

Happy St. David’s Day! St. David is the patron Saint of Wales much like Patrick is to Ireland. Many churches throughout Wales are dedicated to him and he is remembered for planting monasteries. It appears that Celtic Christians often spread the gospel by planting monasteries, small communities of faith. Like leaven, the members of these communities sought to live the reality of the kingdom in the midst of the world. Some writers have suggested that they might be known as “outposts of heaven.”

One challenge for any ongoing community is to keep the vision alive and not fall into patterns that lead to decaying faith and relationships. Thus these communities often returned afresh to their roots of faith to rediscover who and what they were called to be. Part of St. David’s mission may have been to help foster spiritual renewal in these communities.

His life’s final message played an important role in communicating and forming Welsh spirituality. He said, “Lords, brothers and sisters, be joyful and keep your faith and your belief, and do the little things that you have heard and seen from me.” The call to an honest, joyful and simple working out of faith in the “little things” still resonates today.

St. David’s message may help us in our travel through the Lenten wilderness. In one sense, Lent is about returning to our roots—reconverting in a sense. So many outside the Christian faith fail to see the true reality of the “good news” because we often get so distracted by the battles or trends of the moment.

Let us return afresh to the good news that Jesus Christ is Lord, meaning that in the mystery of His great love and providence, God has entered human history. He has identified with human suffering by taking the pain and brokenness and sin of an anguished world into himself and thus restoring all things.

While evil may still seem strong and threatening upon our planet, it cannot quench hope. The joy and peace of the gospel will prevail. Not through human strength, not through some church planner’s agenda but through the goodness of our God. Let us embrace this hope and become people who live not by the strength of human power or our ingenuity always striving to get ahead, but rather people of faith who live by radical trust in the love revealed in our sweet Lord Jesus Christ.

Here is a wonderful poem in honor of St David by the great Welsh poet, Gwenallt. Early in life Gwenallt sought to bring social change as an atheist Marxist, but the emptiness of this worldview eventually became apparent and he returned to the faith of his fathers, continuing to work for live for the reality of the kingdom.

St. David (Dewi Sant)

There is no border between two worlds in the Church;
The Church militant on earth is the same
As the victorious Church in Heaven.
And the saints will be in the two-one Church.
They will come to worship with us, a little congregation,
The saints, our oldest ancestors,
Who built Wales on the foundation of
The Cradle, the Cross, and the Empty Grave;
And they will go out as before to wander through
Their old familiar places
And bring the Gospel to Wales.
I saw David strolling from county to county like
God’s gypsy
With the Gospel and the Altar in his caravan;
And coming to us to the Colleges and schools
To show the purpose of learning.
He went down to the bottom of the pit with the miners
And threw the light of his wise lamp on the coal-face;
On the platform of the steel works he put on the
goggles and the little blue shirt
And showed the Christian being purified like the
metal in the furnace;
And led the proletariat to his unrespectable Church.
He carried the Church everywhere
As a body, which was life and brain and will
That did little and great things.
He brought the Church to our homes,
Put the Holy Vessels on the kitchen table,
And got bread from the pantry and bad wine from the cellar,
And stood behind the table like a tramp
Lest he should hide the wonder of the Sacrifice from us.
And after Communion we chatter by the fireside,
And he spoke to us about God’s natural order,
The person, the family, the nation and the society of nations,
And the Cross keeping us from turning one of them into a god.
He said that God shaped our nation
For His Own purpose,
And her death would impair that Order.
Anger furrowed in his forehead
As he lashed us for licking the arse of the English Leviathan,
And letting ourselves, in his Christian country,
Be turned into Pavlov’s dogs.
We asked him for his forgiveness, his strength, and his ardour
And, before he left us, told him
To give the Lord Jesus Christ our poor congratulations,
And ask Him if we could come to Him
To praise Him forever in Heaven,
When that longed for moment comes
And we have to say “Good night” to the world.

1 comment:

John said...

Happy St David's Day! Are you well Doug? You haven't posted for a while... maybe you are on vacation? :)
God bless you and yours!