Thank you so much for being part of our online community over these last few months. We have all grown in our faith through these pages. The Church in Wales is making a short video about ways in which people have come to faith, or experienced a deepening of their faith through things like these daily reflections, online services and Zoom coffee. If you wouldn’t mind offering to take part in a short and simple interview with the film-maker (who is working with our Bishop here in Bangor Diocese), then please do let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be really lovely to hear from you; as we’ve seen here, hearing one another’s stories really encourages and blesses others. Thank you!
Today’s reflection comes from Reverend Susan Blagden who picks up the idea of telling…
O ARGLWYDD, wnei di roi llwyddiant i ni eto,
fel pan mae ffrydiau dŵr yn llifo yn anialwch y Negef?
Bydd y rhai sy’n wylo wrth hau yn canu’n llawen wrth fedi’r cynhaeaf.
Mae’r un sy’n cario ei sach o hadau yn crïo wrth fynd i hau.
Ond bydd yr un sy’n cario’r ysgubau yn dod adre dan ganu’n llon!
Salm 126: 4-6
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
Psalm 126: 4-6
Tell me about your tears. On my early morning walk on Sunday, I photographed this scruffy looking juvenile wheatear. When I uploaded the image, I saw that there was a water droplet underneath his eye. Do birds cry? Well, they do have a tear duct, but apparently they choose not to cry.
The question about choosing to cry or not, coincidentally, was a part of our later conversation at ‘Zoom coffee’. Some were able to admit that they had times when they felt like crying but chose not to; others said that they had found themselves crying when watching some films but didn’t know why. The general reluctance to cry was partly about recognising that despite the toughness of the last few months, there was still plenty that people felt thankful for. There was a sense that in crying it would somehow diminish the good. However, it doesn’t quite work like that.
Emotional tears have a story to tell. Harry Potter fans may remember in ‘The deathly hallows’ Snape’s tears are gathered up by Harry and poured into the water of the Pensieve where Harry sees Snape’s personal and painful memories revealed for the first time to which Harry can only respond with compassion. Tears do have a story to tell and they need a compassionate response. John O’Donohue, priest and poet, says,
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.’
Words that may resonate with many, as lives have been forced to slow down.
The photographer, Rose-Lynn Fisher, has photographed emotional tears and under the microscope she discovered there are different types of tears! Emotional tears look different to any tears cried as a result of chopping an onion! Like the rivers and streams of our landscape here in Bro Celynnin, tears weave their way through the landscape of our lives. It is important that we find a way to listen to the story that our tears are wanting to tell. All tears are not the same. As in the Psalm above, we have to mourn what has been lost. This does not negate the good we also know to be true, but we must properly acknowledge what has been lost.
Can I encourage us all then to find a way to listen to our tears and their story, and find a compassionate response through words, or art, or walking or whatever is useful for you. Tell God about the sadness and let the tears flow, for it is only when we have been able to weep that we will find space in which new joy can bubble up. Our mistake is to think that tears are the end. They are not. The Psalmist reminds us that through the shedding of tears we will return home with shouts of joy. Do watch the Sunday Service on the 2nd August for further encouragement!
you are able to accept in us what we cannot even acknowledge;
You have named in us what we cannot bear to speak of;
You hold in your memory what we have tried to forget;
You will hold out to us a glory we cannot imagine.
Reconcile us through your cross
to all that we have rejected in ourselves,
That we may find no part of your creation
to be alien or strange to us,
And that we ourselves may be made whole,
through Jesus Christ, our lover and our friend.