Weekend Service

Bore da! Good morning!

Welcome to this weekend’s online Service, brought to you by Reverend Eryl Parry, Jenny Young and Andy Broadbent (our new ordinand on attachment to the Bro Celynnin Ministry Area) who reflects on Psalm 85: 8-13.

Andy Broadbent

Stepping Out

Click on the play button to join us in worship, prayer and reflection:

The Coming Week

Sunday 23rd August

We have Communion Services in St. Peter’s Llanbedr-y-Cennin at 9.30am and St. Mary’s Caerhun at 11am. Please wear a mask, and do not come if you are feeling unwell.

Monday 24th August

Start the week with our Weekly Reflection, which will be published on this website at 8am.

Tuesday 25th August

Join us for Zoom Coffee at 10.30am, for the chance to see one another and explore the theme of this week’s reflection a bit further. Details will be published on this website at 8am on Monday.

Weekly Reflection

Where are our roots?

We are living through an unsettling time, with some places really busy whilst many people are still shielding. Eryl Parry reflects this week on the helpful idea of ‘rootedness’.

Great Orme Goat Challenge

Two members of our Bro Celynnin family have been walking in circles (around Llandudno’s Great Orme) to raise money for St. David’s Hospice. Please click on their name if you would like to sponsor them:

Andy Butler St. Mary’s Conwy

Sandy Hughes St. Benedict’s Gyffin


‘Dw i’n gweddïo y bydd yn defnyddio’r holl adnoddau bendigedig sydd ganddo i’ch gwneud chi’n gryf, ac y bydd yn rhoi nerth mewnol i chi drwy roi ei Ysbryd Glân i chi.
Dw i’n gweddïo hefyd y bydd y Meseia ei hun yn gwneud ei gartref yn eich calonnau chi wrth i chi ymddiried ynddo fe. Dw i am i’w gariad e fod wrth wraidd popeth dych chi’n ei wneud – dyna’r sylfaen i adeiladu arni! 
Dw i am i chi, a phobl Dduw i gyd, ddeall mor aruthrol fawr ydy cariad y Meseia – mae’n lletach, yn hirach, yn uwch ac yn ddyfnach na dim byd arall! 
Dw i am i chi brofi y cariad hwnnw sy’n llawer rhy fawr i’w brofi yn llawn, er mwyn i chi gael eich llenwi â’r cwbl sydd gan Dduw ar eich cyfer.’
Effesiaid 3: 16-19
‘I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.’
Ephesians 3: 16-19 


Reverend Eryl Parry writes:

If you have seen our most recent worship video you will know that this week I had the profound honour of being ordained as a priest in the medieval mountain church of Llangelynnin with its even more ancient (6th Century) holy well. Thank you so much for all your prayers and kind messages.

Llangelynnin has a transcendent holiness which speaks to anyone who arrives. Whatever is happening in the world outside, come rain or shine (on Monday we had both, plus some thunder and lightning!) it stands there peacefully, rooted in space and time. Entering after so many months of the door being shut was very emotional for those of us who usually worship there in the monthly Celtic Praise services. Yet Llangelynnin also possesses a remarkable ability. It seems to make people feel that they also belong there, even on their first visit or without any prior connection to Christian faith or to the Conwy valley.

‘Rootedness’ is a spiritual concept that is evident in the Bible. To me it makes sense of that deep yearning, which every human being has, to belong. We need to feel part of a community and valued by the people there. We long to feel ‘at home’ in that place, at that time, alongside others. I have become convinced that it is only when we belong, when we experience real security and love somewhere, that we can sustain a relationship with God and discover who we truly are.

I love that picture in Psalm 1 of Christians being like trees planted with deep, sustaining roots so that they ‘yield their fruit in its season and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.’ Faith weathers the storms, just as a tree does, only if it is firmly grounded. As this week’s passage from Ephesians explains, that ‘grounding’ is in love. Daily seeking of God gives us sustenance and help – the water of life. We can feel more secure in times of vulnerability if we have discovered the inner, stabilising strength of God’s love.

In response to a recent reflection about making time to pray, Mavis Tunstall emailed, “I start the day with Jesus Calling and I have found it a tremendous help sorting out early morning feelings of anxiety into renewed hope. I often feel that Jesus is really speaking to me, as He was in the one for today:  

‘Come to Me when you are weak and weary. Rest snugly in My everlasting arms. I do not despise your weakness, My child. Actually it draws Me closer to you because weakness stirs My compassion, My yearning to help. Accept yourself in your weariness, knowing that I understand how difficult your journey has been. Do not compare yourself with others who seem to skip along their life paths with ease. Their journey has been different than yours, and I have gifted them with abundant energy. I have gifted you with fragility providing your spirit to blossom in My Presence. Accept this gift as a sacred treasure: delicate, yet glowing with brilliant Light. Rather than struggling to disguise or deny your weakness, allow me to bless you richly through it. ISAIAH 42:3 ISAIAH 54:10 ROMANS 8:26′”

So the roots required for flourishing are to be found in ever deepening knowledge of God’s blessing in our lives. That is the prayer that Paul prayed over his Ephesian readers, that such would be their rootedness in God’s love, that they would come to know the full extent of it. For it is in those times when we get a glimpse of the incredible nature of God’s provision and love for us, that we can really know joy and acceptance.

It is no wonder that people can feel welcomed into an ancient place of prayer where pilgrims have fallen to their knees in worship over the centuries. It is no wonder that Mavis can feel greater strength in times of fragility. It is no wonder that I felt indescribable joy on the day of my ordination – when we walked there in sunshine and back through a storm, having been blessed in a shelter-house of prayer. For those are the roots we share, wherever we come from and at whatever stage of life we’re in. I pray that together, through these times of transition, we may find ways of continuing to grow – for God wants us all to prosper in our life in Him.

Would you like to explore a bit more what it means to be ‘rooted’?

You are warmly invited to Zoom Coffee tomorrow morning at 10.30am,
for friendly and engaging conversation about this week’s theme
(and of course a great way to belong). 

Click here to join Zoom Coffee tomorrow

[or use Meeting ID: 881 3417 1456; Passcode: 430751]

Eryl ordained as priest
Video Services


Weekend Service

Eryl’s Ordination

High above the Conwy valley, in one of Britain’s most beautiful and ancient churches, Eryl Parry was ordained as a Pioneer Priest this week. Most of those taking part arrived at Hen Eglwys Llangelynnin as pilgrims, on foot. 

The coronavirus restrictions meant, sadly, that few of us could be there in person to celebrate with Eryl. However, she is so grateful for all your prayers and kind messages, and she wants you to experience this unique and historic service. Just click on the play button in the middle of the image below:

Eryl's OrdinationReverend Eryl Parry ordained as Pioneer Priest

Video Transcript

Look out for the next weekly Reflection on Monday morning.

You are warmly invited to Zoom Coffee every Tuesday at 10:30am, which is a congenial and interesting opportunity to laugh together and learn, as we catch up on news and explore a Bible passage together:

Click here to join Zoom Coffee 

Weekly Reflection

All Called

This is such special day for Bro Celynnin. Eryl Parry is being ordained as a Pioneer Priest in Hen Eglwys Llangelynnin, our simple, ancient and holy church high above the Conwy valley. Sadly most of us can’t be there today because of the pandemic restrictions on numbers. However our prayers and thoughts are with Eryl as she responds to God’s call.

In this first edition of our new weekly Reflection, David Parry writes about Christian calling.

Everyone is warmly invited for Zoom Coffee tomorrow at the new time of 10:30am, which will be every Tuesday. We are going to explore the theme of calling some more together.

IMG_4722The Font at St. Benedict’s Gyffin
Dywedodd Iesu, “Nid chwi a’m dewisodd i,
ond myfi a’ch dewisodd chwi,
a’ch penodi i fynd allan a dwyn ffrwyth, ffrwyth sy’n aros.” 
Ioan 15: 16
Jesus said, “You did not choose me but I chose you.
And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.”
John 15: 16

David Parry writes:

This week’s picture shows a 13th Century Font near the entrance of St. Benedict’s Church, in Gyffin. As in most churches, that means the first thing you see on arrival is the place of Baptism. It is there as a visual reminder of the invitation to become a Christian.

Dafydd ap Gronw baptised his baby son Richard in this font, 515 years ago. Dafydd was the parish priest of Gyffin and married to Sioned. Their son grew up to be ordained as well. In fact Richard Davies became a Bishop, of St. Asaph and then St. David’s. He is famous for helping to translate the Bible into Welsh. Leaders like Richard were vital to the renewal of Christianity in Wales, and also gave us the Welsh language in its modern, accessible form.

As a boy in Conwy however, Richard the priest’s son was bullied because of his speech impediment. They called him ‘Biffe’ (idiot), a nickname he never quite managed to shrug off, even once he was a celebrated scholar and eloquent preacher.

All of this reminds me that ordinary believers with real troubles and challenges (not perfect ‘plaster statue’ saints) are called into Christian service. We all need His Salvation and we are all received into His family in exactly the same way, by Baptism. But amazingly, we have different contributions to make as Jesus transforms the world. Every single one of us important to the emerging Kingdom of God. That’s why the font in Gyffin is a reminder of vocation as well.

I couldn’t be more proud of my wife Eryl as she is ordained today. Anyone who has experienced her gifts and personality will need no persuading that she is already called to Ministry and that this new vocation is clearly God’s will. Yet I know that Eryl would be the first to say that vocation is not just narrowly about priesthood.  Each of us is called in a different, special way. Our calling is unique and personal. 

Each life offered to God, as baby Richard was, each person obedient to what God is asking of them, as Eryl is today, helps to bring about God’s purposes and to share His love. It all starts with our Baptism. From that point on we are on the team. Eryl’s calling has unfolded over many years, with plenty of surprises. So watch out! God may still have some surprises in store for you too. 

What is your calling?

Arglwydd trugarog,
clyw ni a bendithia ni,
ac megis y gelwaist ni i’th wasanaeth,
gwna ni’n deilwng o’n galwad,
trwy Iesu Grist ein Harglwydd.
Yr Eglwys yng Nghymru
Merciful Lord,
hear us and bless us,
and as you have called us to your service,
make us worthy of our calling,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Church in Wales

There are new Zoom login details: 

Click here to join Zoom Coffee tomorrow

[or use Meeting ID: 881 3417 1456; Passcode: 430751]

Sunday Reflection

Our 140 days of journeying together

Reverend Eryl Parry writes:
As this is the last of our daily reflections (tomorrow is the first of our weekly digital reflections), it seems a good idea to go back to the very beginning. Our very first reflection in March used the words of Psalm 57.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful
because I come to you for safety.
In the shadow of your wings I feel protection
until the raging storms are over.
I call to God, the Most High,
to God, who supplies my every need.

Psalm 57: 1-2

This powerful painting by Chris Duffett was inspired by those words to paint feathers falling all around, with the protection and proximity of our heavenly Father’s wings.

FeathersUntil the disaster has passed by Chris Duffet (2019)

It may be hard to take ourselves back to how we were feeling 140 days ago. But what is certain, is that we didn’t know what lay ahead, and the adjustments to our lives that would be brought by the pandemic. And in looking back, can we notice how God has been at work? Despite our very different experiences through this time, as we are living in such a variety of situations, there has been a sense of travelling through this time together. How could this possibly be, when some of us are literally thousands of miles apart?

The answer, of course, is that we are gathered within the same shadow of the same God, whose wings are immeasurably large. These wings, as the psalmist says, have not only provided protection but also all we have needed to continue praying and worshipping together. We have been blessed by one another’s insights and experiences – with over fifty people’s contributions on these pages! Some have shared their faith publicly for the first time, established a new daily rhythm of prayer, and we have all learned so much – not only about the use of technology! – but also about ourselves, one another, and ultimately the God who has sustained us.

You may, like me, have been struck by the title of Chris Duffet’s painting ‘Until the disaster has passed’. For, despite the start of restrictions beginning to lift, the disaster of the pandemic is far from over. We are living in anxious times, locally and globally. Our situations may be different, but there is a common threat to our safety and we are still denied some of the things that bring us joy, not least physical proximity. So in this next chapter in our life together, how are we to be?

Here is the most recent image we have used, featured at the end of yesterday’s video:

RainbowRainbow in the valley by Mark McNulty (2020)

… and so onwards …
We are to be people of hope. The contrast in the two images could not be greater. The poignant figure in Chris’s painting is one with which we can readily identify. Here is someone so distressed that he clutches his head, and crouches into a small space. Mark’s photograph of a rainbow, taken last week, is so much more expansive. We imagine ourselves with our heads up once again, outside, appreciating God’s wonder and the glory in His creation. For this is the same God who gave a covenant promise to not only Noah, but all who live on this Earth. This is the God who not only gives us insights of hope on the rainiest of days, but He gives us enough to be able to extend that assurance of His love and provision through every circumstance – through us – to those who feel so ‘curled up’.

St. Paul has good advice for us in his letter to the Ephesians. When there is the danger of being tossed and blown about by the waves of life, it is the time to grow in maturity of faith: ‘Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head’ Ephesians 4: 15. We recognise that we are all at different stages of our faith journey, and there are as many different ways to deepen and grow in our understanding as days of the year! The most important thing is to continue our walk with God through these continued uncertain times, and there are plenty of ways of doing that.

Whether you live local to Conwy or not, you are very welcome at our Zoom Bible chat that will begin this Tuesday morning at 10.30am (BST) 11th August.

But if you would also like to have a go at establishing a new daily routine – why not dip into some of these online resources? They vary a lot in style, so just find the one that fits you best!
Bible Reading
  • Clive Addison, in the daily reflection two days ago, suggested Bible Reading notes (just click here for previous daily reflections).
  • If you would like to read the Bible in a year, and want a short reflection to go with the passages, then Alpha’s Nicky Gumbel guides you through it: https://www.bibleinoneyear.org/
  • ‘Fuelcast’ is a more theme-based daily devotional video: https://www.thefuelcast.com/
Prayer and Meditation
Here are two links that can help you pray and reflect. You can do this daily, or whenever you manage to have that quiet space for time with God:
Here are two links that take you to the words of daily Services, that you can use in daily prayer:

Through these times of greater restriction on meeting, many people are saying these simple Services together on Zoom, WhatsApp or other platforms. They are being used at least once a week for Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer/Compline. Others are live-streaming Services on Facebook. So why not invite a friend to join you in ‘having a go’?

Thank you for being a part of this journey with us. Our prayer is that God will show you the right weekly routine to continue walking His path of faith. For that way lies hope. There is such beauty in a rainbow, that it can stop us in our tracks, and all we can do is wonder. Getting insights through actively engaging with our faith can be just like that. We appreciate the sheer beauty of God’s truth in our lives, and we open our hearts to receive His love. We ‘uncurl’ ourselves from looking at our feet, and instead look to the sky. May God bless you.

Beth bynnag ddaw heddiw,
beth bynnag ddaw yfory,
mae’r dyfodol yn ddiogel
gan fod Crist gyda ni.
Gadewch i ni fyw bob eiliad gydag ef
mewn hyder tawel a daethliad llawen,
gan ei fod yn eiddo i ni
a ni yn eiddo iddo ef
i dragwyddoldeb.
Whatever today may hold,
whatever tomorrow might bring,
the future is secure,
for Christ is with us.
Live each moment with him
in quiet confidence and joyful celebration,
for he is ours
and we are his
for all eternity.

Saturday Video Service

Welcome to the weekend!

Welcome to the first of our online weekend services, still with the same mix of worship, prayer and reflection. It is now coming to you on a Saturday as two of our churches will be holding services in their buildings on a Sunday for the first time since restrictions were enforced in March: St. Peter’s, Llanbedr-y-Cennin and St. Mary’s, Caerhun.

We are committed to keeping our digital life going, as we have such an extended community here online. So, you can opt to worship with us via this video at whatever point in the weekend that suits you. We are just so pleased that you are here with us!

The last of our daily reflections will be published tomorrow morning at 8am. Then, the first of our weekly reflections will begin on Monday.

There will be no Zoom coffee on Sunday, but please do join us for the first of our weekday Zoom chats on Tuesday at 10.30am, which will include looking at a Bible passage together. We will publish all those details on Monday.

Click here or the play button in the middle of the image below, and join us in worship, prayer and reflection. Croeso cynnes, a warm welcome to our Service:

Ninth Sunday after TrinityOn the ramparts!

Video Transcript

Daily Reflection 7th August


The first of our church buildings will reopen for public worship on Sunday. We want to sustain as many relationships as possible online and in congregations. Thank you to everyone who responded to the Zoom Coffee survey. So a new pattern starts this weekend.
SATURDAY VIDEO SERVICE will be published weekly at 8am on Saturdays.

SUNDAY SERVICES begin in the Conwy valley. You are warmly invited: 

  • 9:30am St Peter’s Church in Llanbedr-y-Cennin
  • 11am St Mary’s Church in Caerhun  
Please wear a mask and keep 2m apart, but stay away if you have any COVID-like symptoms. 
This Sunday will also be our last daily reflection.

MONDAY REFLECTION will be published weekly at 8am on Mondays to inspire and help at the start of every week.

TUESDAY ZOOM COFFEE 10:30am. Still sociable and fun, but now including a Bible passage we can explore together.

All are welcome to share in these as part of our growing Bro Celynnin family. We hope to have news soon about more Services on Sundays and mid-week.
Today Clive Addison reflects on establishing a daily quiet time of prayer.
Hands in prayer
“Ymlonyddwch, a deallwch mai myfi sydd Dduw”
Salm 46: 10
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46: 10

Clive Addison, from the Bro Celynnin Ministry Team, writes:

During lockdown many of us have become more in touch with our inner life, seen the world differently and then found new faith in God. That renewed relationship with Him proves what the Bible has promised. If we are willing to come closer to God, He will never ignore that effort. In response to our longing, He always comes closer to us!

When we are able to return to more normal activities, and life gets busier again, the challenge will be how to keep that closer relationship with God, which we have found to be such a blessing. When I became a committed Christian in my mid-thirties I remember struggling with that very question. I was introduced by a more mature friend to the idea of a daily “Quiet Time.” Here is how it goes!

First find a chair that you will use every day for the purpose (since few of us have our own personal chapel). The chair should stay in the same position. It can be one of your easy chairs in the living room, a favourite corner of the garden, your spare bedroom or whatever –  but “that chair” becomes your Holy Place.

Second, allocate at least half an hour every day as your Quiet Time. When my friend told me that, I laughed. I was a family man with two children in school and a job requiring substantial overtime to cover my responsibilities. Where was I going to find half an hour of uninterrupted time every day? He responded by asking, “When do you get up in the morning?” When I told him 6.30am he said, “So get up at 6.00am and spend the first half hour of your day with God! Surely you can do that after what He has done for you?”   

Point taken. That half hour has been in the daily timetable ever since. Each of us needs to find our own best time. But choosing to make an appointment every single day to be in God’s presence is truly life-changing.
Third, what to do with that precious half hour? I spend it in Bible reading and prayer, in that special quietness. Ask God to speak to you personally as you read His Word, to let you know His plans for your life and for that day. This is more than intellectual study. Take time to ponder and reflect. Reading with your head and heart lets God speak to your soul and spirit within. Ask Him to help you to do that and after a while you will find that He has. Many keep a prayer diary or journal to remember. A good cup of coffee helps with keeping awake and resisting early morning dozing!
Fourth, daily Bible notes or devotional material can really help. There are loads out there in the Christian publishing market to choose from. The website christianweb.org.uk, “An A to Z of Bible reading Notes,” can help, but if you find the list overwhelming, ask one of the Ministry Team, our reflection contributors or a Christian friend. Here is a short list of those I have used over the years, in no particular order:

CWR [Selwyn Hughes]  – Every day with Jesus.
Bible Society – Daily Reflections.
United Christian Broadcasters – Word for Today.
Scripture Union – Daily Bread
Church in Wales Liturgy with a Life Application Bible.

If you decide the Scripture Union “Daily Bread” might be for you, then for many years now, Heather Addison, Ministry Area and St. Mary’s Conwy Warden, takes a regular order from Kingdom Krafts to distribute. Contact Heather on 01492 572924 if you would like to be added to her list.

May Jesus bless you as you make time for Him every day. 

Daethom ynghyd yn deulu Duw
ym mhresenoldeb ein Tad,
i roddi iddo foliant a diolch,
i glywed a derbyn ei air,
i gyflwyno iddo anghenion yr holl fyd
ac i geisio ei ras,
fel y gallwn, trwy ei Fab, Iesu Grist,
ein rhoi ein hunain i’w wasanaeth.
Gweddi Ddyddiol, Yr Eglwys yng Ngymru 
We have come together as the family of God
in our Father’s presence,
to offer him praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive his word,
to bring before him the needs of the world
and to seek his grace,
that, through his Son, Jesus Christ,
we may give ourselves to his service.
Daily Prayer The Church in Wales

Daily Reflection 6th August


Ros Hughes, local churchwarden at St. Benedict’s Gyffin, reflects on the difference faith can make in the pain of bereavement and loss.

2f9d96ce-f2fb-4593-86bc-2012c0c973c3The meaning of flowers by Ros Hughes

‘Pwy a’n gwahana ni oddi wrth gariad Crist?…..Yr wyf yn gwbl sicr na all nac angau nac einioes, nac angylion na thywysogaethau, na’r presennol na’r dyfodol, na grymusterau nac uchelderau na dyfnderau, na dim arall a grewyd, ein gwhanu ni oddi wrth gariad Duw yng Nghrist Iesu ein Harglwydd.’
Rhufeiniaid 8: 35, 37-39
‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?… For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
Romans 8: 35, 37-39

Ros Hughes writes:

This bible reading from Romans 8 is often read at a funeral service – words of comfort and reassurance.

During the past number of months, we have heard of so much sadness, distress, and bereavement. Few of us have not felt the impact of loss and grief and witnessed loss and grief for those around us, and through the media we have been constantly aware of those suffering around the world.

Recently, after the death of a friend, I found some solace in drawing and painting the picture above of flowers from our garden. While we can speak words of sympathy and remember those distressed, sick, and bereaved in our prayers, and for many this can be some comfort and support, we cannot take away the problems and pain of others.

Many years ago, there was a tragedy in our community – friends of ours lost their young child. My son was devastated by the sudden death of his friend who a couple of days earlier had been at his 5th birthday party. As my little boy clung to me in distress, I had tried my best to console and explain my belief that he was held in God’s unshakeable love through Jesus His Son. My son had replied to me: ‘But, I want to stay with, Mummy – I know you – and I don’t know Jesus.’

In the bible reading above, written in such poetic language, Paul wants to share his confidence – his belief and trust in God. He had understood the Gospel message and had lived and felt God’s love through Jesus, His son. We are living through difficult times and life’s circumstances have been challenging for many of us.

Previously held ideas and beliefs are questioned and confidence shaken. Just as my young son voiced his reaction in such complete honesty and openness – in our reflection and prayer today we need true honesty and openness ourselves as we come before God and consider these words that nothing can ‘separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.’

How is God’s love being shown to you today? 

Pa le bynnag yr ydych,
mewn goleuni neu dywyllwch,
llawenydd neu boen –
mae Duw gyda chwi.
Bydded ichwi wybod cysur ei bresenoldeb –
heddiw a hyd byth.


Wherever you are
in light or darkness,
joy, or pain –
God is with you
May you know the comfort of his presence –
today and always.

Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury)
cyfieithiad Canon G. Berw Hughes

Daily Reflection 5th August

Do tell


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 5churchinfo@gmail.com. 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

Reverend Susan Blagden writes:

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,

‘The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
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! 

Intimate God,
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.
Janet Morley: All Desires Known

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Daily Reflection 4th August

All knotted up

David Jones, from Gyffin, finds help in an unusual painting
Mary (Bavaria)
Atebodd yr angel hi, “Daw’r Ysbryd Glân arnat, a bydd nerth y Goruchaf yn dy gysgodi; am hynny, gelwir y plentyn a genhedlir yn sanctaidd, Mab Duw.”
Luc 1: 35
The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.”
Luke 1: 35

David Jones writes:

Like many people, I have become more and more unsure what our approach should be to COVID-19. The return to lockdown in some parts of England felt like a big backward step, just when we could see daylight and a better future.

I have no wish to delve into the politics. Has Wales, with its more conservative stance, been wiser? Or have we just been fortunate in lagging behind the spread of coronavirus, able to wait and watch what happens elsewhere before we make our changes? Whatever the rights and wrongs of relaxations and restrictions, trying to unravel what we should do for the best, many of us just feel tied up in knots by it all.

That phrase, “tied up in knots” got me thinking. First a definition: ‘to make oneself confused, anxious, as when trying to make a decision to come up with another idea. To become tangled as when conveying an idea to another.’ Yes, definitely that.  

So, what does a Christian do in such circumstances? If it’s me, go for a walk and ponder what God is saying to me – what guidance can I find? I came across the amazing anonymous prayer written below. What I find so special about it is the way you can add your own feelings, concerns, worries, hopes and fears (to the ‘knots’). I invite you all to add your own, whatever knots you would like God’s help to untangle.

Long before any thought of writing reflections, I (per chance or even under guidance) came across a topic that I had never heard of. Mary “The Undoer of Knots”. Mary, the Mother of our Lord, is depicted thus in today’s painting by Johan Georg Schmidtner (from around 1700). It hangs in the pilgrim Church of St. Peter Perlach, in Augsburg, Bavaria.

St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, who was martyred in 202, is credited with first giving Mary that title. He in turn was inspired by St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15: 22 

As Irenaeus puts it, “Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; whereas Mary, by her obedience, undid it.” In other words, by carrying our Saviour and bringing Him to birth, Mary has a role in undoing the sinful rebellion which was written into everyone’s DNA by our ancestors.

So how does this picture help with my personal concerns and the struggles we are all living through? My conviction is that because of God’s grace and forgiveness, sending His Son into our sinful world, none of our knots are ever too big for God to undo. 

Dear God,
please untie the knots
that are in my mind, my heart and my life.
Remove the ‘have nots’,
the ‘can nots’ and the ‘do nots’
that I have embedded in my mind.
Erase the ‘will nots’, ‘may nots’,
‘might nots’ that may find a home in my heart.
Release me from the ‘could nots’ and ‘should nots’
that obstruct my life.
And most of all, dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life
all of the ‘am nots’,
especially the thought that I am not good enough,
which I have allowed to hold me back
from true faith in you.
Nothing is so tangled that you will
not hear our prayers and petitions,
through Jesus Christ.

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