Today David Jones, from Gyffin, reflects on the Good Book …
Service published 8am Sunday
Meeting ID: 744 4802 3418
Meal of Our Lord and the Apostles by James Tissot 1896
‘Y mae dy air yn llusern i’m troed, ac yn oleuni i’m llwybr.’
‘Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.’
Psalm 119: 105
David Jones writes:
What is your favourite verse in the Bible? I would probably be right in saying it’s not the shortest one (‘Jesus wept’ John 11:35) nor I suspect Esher 8:9, the longest. Worth putting in your pub quiz memory bank! You may say that your answer depends on whether at the time you are shedding tears of joy or tears of sorrow and pain. It might even depend on the season, since Christmas and Easter stories spring readily to mind.
My favourite verse might seem a little strange. After all I have 66 books, 1189 chapters, 31,173 verses and 783,137 words (King James Version) to choose from. And no, I haven’t counted them, it’s amazing the information you can find online. So, what is it and why?Well the first clue is that it’s from St. Luke’s Gospel.
Luke probably never met Jesus in person. However he is believed to have been a doctor and like any good physician he wanted to take a full ‘case history’. He starts his Gospel by stating that he needed to draw up a carefully researched and accurate account of the life of Christ. It is this emphasis on researched facts and attention to detail, rather than conjecture, that I find most compelling – especially when it comes to the Resurrection (another clue).
Those fortunate enough to have attended a particular service in Gyffin will remember today’s picture of Jesus after His resurrection preaching to His disciples at early dawn on the shore of Tiberias. I have to thank Eryl Parry for explaining the picture in her sermon. You will see one of them rubbing his eyes and holding his head. He seems to be thinking: what is going on here? This looks like Jesus, sounds like Jesus, makes sense like Jesus, but I was there when they crucified Him. Those Roman torture squads know what they are doing. They don’t make mistakes. Yet here He is alive.
That’s how I see myself in my spiritual journey. I’m still a bit on the outside, watching from the side-lines and metaphorically holding my head as I try to make sense of faith. Like St. Luke, I have never met Jesus in person. But I have heard enough, read enough, seen enough and (fortunately) been with so many good people in Church as to leave me in no doubt.
So what is my favourite passage and why am I drawn to it? I’ll go for all three final verses in St. Luke’s Gospel (chapter 24, verses 50-53):
And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
It is because of all the detail, the facts written in the Gospel leading up to this momentous moment, that I can fully believe and accept its full account of the life, teachings, death and resurrection of our Lord. Maybe, just maybe, because of what the eyewitnesses told Luke, I have had a glimpse of Jesus too.
O Arglwydd bendigaid,
a beraist fod yr holl ysgrythur lân
yn ysgrifenedig i’n haddysgu ni,
cynorthwya ni i wrando arni,
ei darllen, ei chwilio, ei dysgu ac ymborthi arni
fel, trwy amynedd, a chymorth dy air sanctaidd
y cofleidiwn ac y daliwn ein gafael yn wastadol
yng ngobaith y bywyd tragwyddol,
a roddaist i ni yn ein Hiachawdwr Iesu Grist,
sy’n fyw ac yn teyrnasu gyda thi
a’r Ysbryd Glân,
yn un Duw, yn awr ac am byth.
who caused all holy scriptures
to be written for our learning:
help us so to hear them,
to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them
that, through patience and the comfort of your holy word,
we may embrace and for ever hold fast
the hope of everlasting life,
which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.