DREAMING DREAMS & SEEING VISIONS BREUDDWYDIO BREUDDWYDION A GWELD GWELEDIGAETHAU

A PASTORAL LETTER FROM BISHOP GREGORY

for Thursday, 16th July, 2020

LLYTHYR BUGEILIOL ODDI WRTH ESGOB GREGORY

ar gyfer dydd Iau, 16 Gorffennaf 2020

One of the gifts of the Spirit acknowledged in Scripture, and very active in the life of the both the Old and New Testaments, is the gift of Prophecy. One of the prophets, Joel, told us to expect a lot more of it. He wrote: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your youth will see visions, your elderly will dream dreams.”, and when Pentecost came, the apostles told us that in the life of the Church, we were to see this scripture being fulfilled. So where is prophecy today?

Un o roddion yr Ysbryd, sy’n cael ei gydnabod yn yr Ysgrythur, ac sy’n rhan amlwg iawn ym mywyd yr Hen Destament a’r Testament newydd, yw’r rhodd o Broffwydoliaeth. Dywedodd un o’r Proffwydi, Joel, y dylen ni ddisgwyl llawer mwy ohono. Ysgrifennodd: “Ar ôl hyn” meddai Duw, “tywalltaf fy ysbryd ar bob dyn. Bydd eich meibion a’ch merched yn proffwydo, bydd eich hynafgwyr yn gweld breuddwydion a’ch gwŷr ifanc yn cael gweledigaethau”, a phan ddaeth y Sulgwyn, dywedodd yr apostolion wrthym ni y byddwn ni, ym mywyd yr Eglwys, yn gweld yr ysgrythurau’n cael eu gwireddu. Felly, ble mae proffwydoliaeth heddiw?

I think that there are two things to help us to recognise prophecy in its biblical understanding. First, is that it is less to do with predicting the future, and more about speaking about the consequences of what God is saying to the world now. I’ve seen shelves of bookshops filled with “the Prophecies of Nostradamus” which are nothing to do with true prophecy, which is designed to bring home to us the truths that God is summoning us to obey. It is, as someone put it, “reading the signs of the times”.

Rwy’n meddwl fod yna ddau beth allai’n helpu i sylweddoli beth yw proffwydoliaeth yn ôl dealltwriaeth feiblaidd. Yn gyntaf, nid yw gymaint ynghylch proffwydo’r dyfodol ag yw ynghylch dangos canlyniadau’r hyn y mae Duw’n ei ddweud wrth y byd sydd ohoni. Rwy wedi gweld silffoedd mewn siopau llyfrau’n gwegian o dan ‘Broffwydoliaethau Nostradamus” nad oes â wnelon nhw ddim â gwir broffwydoliaeth, sef y gwirioneddau y mae Duw’n ein gwysio ni i’w hufuddhau. Hynny yw, fel y dywedodd rhywun “darllen arwyddion yr amserau”.

Second, it is highly political. So many people get prickly when Church leaders speak into political situations, and tell us to mind our own business, when in truth I think they mean that they’d like religion to be locked away from grubby realities, separated from truths they’d prefer not to have to face. The Prophets in the Bible – all of them, including Jesus – spoke the truth to the rich and powerful of the day, and often provoked just that negative response: how dare you? It’s why so many of them were killed.

Yn ail, mae’n hynod wleidyddol. Mae cymaint o bobl yn mynd yn bigog pan fydd arweinwyr yr Eglwys yn trafod sefyllfaoedd gwleidyddol, yn dweud wrthym ni am fendio’n busnes, sef, mewn gwirionedd, rwy’n meddwl eu bod eisiau gweld crefydd yn cael ei neillto oddi wrth realiti brwnt, oddi wrth y gwirioneddau y byddai’n well ganddyn nhw beidio â’u hwynebu. Roedd y Proffwydi yn y Beibl – pob un, gan gynnwys Iesu – yn dweud y gwir wrth bobl gyfoethog a phobl rymus y cyfnod, ac yn aml yn cael yr union ymateb negyddol hwnnw: paid â meiddio. Dyna pam y cafodd cymaint ohonyn nhw eu lladd.

So where is prophecy today? Some Christians look for something thrilling to come out of ecstatic worship, but I think that prophecy occurs when faith and wisdom go hand in hand: the wisdom to perceive how God is challenging us now. And there are many prophets among us – one such is John Bell, of the Iona Community. A couple of weeks ago he spoke during BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship, and I felt that in what he said then he was being prophetic, asking what were the consequences of our Christian belief, and demonstrating how they must impact on the way we build our world. Here is some of what he had to say:

“If we believe, as Jesus says, ‘you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free’, do we want children in the future to be as ignorant of the past as many or most of us adults have been? I mean, I had to wait until I was fifty to discover that Scotland had owned a third of the slave plantations in Jamaica, and that the Victorian opulence of Glasgow and other British cities was the result of the trans-Atlantic transport of enslaved Africans, tacitly condoned by Christian churches. Do we have to wait for statues to be toppled before we own our past?

“If we believe that Jesus declared there is good news for the poor, and if we know that poverty has grown in our nation, and that people living in poor neighbourhoods are far more likely to die from Covid 19 than the wealthy, are we prepared to identify the root causes, and to treat those who are economically disadvantaged with dignity in the future? Or do we have to pray for another sporting personality or stage celebrity to name an injustice before it is rectified?

“If we believe that God loves the world, and we know that, in the world God loves, everything from the Australian coral reef to the Amazon rain forest to the Arctic Pole and even the humble bumble bee are all threatened by human failure to respect the integrity of creation, are we going to continue living so irresponsibly that the children of tomorrow will have to go to museums to see what we regard as commonplace today?

“If we believe that Jesus has mandated his disciples to heal the sick, are we going to live in the expectation that huge pharmaceutical companies and better medical technology will come up with the solutions? Or should we at least consider personal responsibility and preventative rather than responsive medicine?

“If we believe that Jesus cares that prisoners be released, and we know that the causes of crime are very often rooted in childhood trauma or deprivation, are we just going to build more prisons, or look at what can be done to prevent vulnerable people becoming potential offenders?

“And if we believe from the evidence of the gospels, that Jesus spent a hundred times more of his life on issues of healing, teaching, evangelism, and engaging face to face with people, than he ever did on bricks and mortar, are we going to going to shape the future of the church according to his priorities or remain obsessed by the upkeep of buildings and structures some of which have long been obsolete?”

Felly, lle mae proffwydoliaeth heddiw? Mae rhai Cristnogion yn gobeithio gweld rhywbeth cyffrous yn codi o addoli llesmeiriol, ond rwy i’n meddwl fod proffwydoliaeth yn digwydd pan fydd ffydd a doethineb yn cyd-fynd â’i gilydd: y doethineb i allu dirnad sut y mae Duw’n ein herio ni ar hyn o bryd. Ac mae yna lawer o broffwydi yn ein plith – ac un ohonyn nhw yw John Bell o Gymuned Iona. Wythnos neu ddwy yn ôl, roedd yn siarad ar ‘Sunday Worship’ BBC Radio 4 ac roeddwn i’n cael y teimlad fod yr hyn yr oedd yn ei ddweud yn broffwydol, roedd yn gofyn beth oedd canlyniadau ein cred Gristnogol ac yn dangos sut yr oedd yn rhaid iddyn nhw effeithio ar sut ydyn ni’n adeiladu ein byd. Dyma ychydig o’r hyn oedd ganddo i’w ddweud:

“Os ydyn ni’n credu, fel y dywedodd Iesu, ‘cewch wybod y gwirionedd a bydd y gwirionedd yn eich rhyddhau’, ydyn ni eisiau i blant fod mor anwybodus yn y dyfodol ag y mae rhai, os nad y rhan fwyaf ohonon ni, oedolion, wedi bod? Wyddoch chi, roedd yn rhaid i mi ddisgwyl nes fy mod i’n hanner cant cyn darganfod fod yr Alban yn berchen traean o’r ystadau caethweision yn Jamaica, ac mai ffrwyth caethgludo Affricanwyr ar draws yr Atlantig, oedd yn cael ei oddef gan eglwysi Cristnogol, yw ysblander Fictorianaidd Glasgow a dinasoedd eraill Prydain. Oes raid i ni ddisgwyl i gofgolofnau gael eu dymchwel cyn i ni dderbyn cyfrifoldeb am ein gorffennol?

“Os ydyn ni’n credu, fel y dywedodd Iesu, fod yna newyddion da i’r tlodion, ac os ydyn ni’n gwybod fod tlodi ar gynnydd yn ein gwlad, a bod pobl mewn ardaloedd tlawd yn llawer mwy tebyg na rhai o ardaloedd cefnog farw o Covid-19, ydyn ni’n barod i gyfaddef y gwir resymau dros hynny a bod yn barod i drin y tlodion yn ein plith gyda pharch yn y dyfodol? Neu a yw’n well gennyn ni ddisgwyl i bersonoliaeth chwaraeon neu seleb y llwyfan enwi anghyfiawnder cyn y bydd yn cael ei unioni?

“Os ydyn ni’n credu fod Duw’n caru’r byd, ac yn gwybod, yn y byd y mae Duw’n ei garu, bod popeth o riffiau coral Awstralia i fforestydd glaw’r Amazon i Begwn y Gogledd a hyd yn oed y wenynen ddisylw, yn cael eu bygwth gan fethiant pobl i barchu cyfanrwydd y cread, ydyn ni’n mynd i ddal ati i fyw mor anghyfrifol fel y bydd yn rhaid i blant yfory fynd i amgueddfeydd i weld yr hyn rydyn ni’n ei gymryd yn ganiataol heddiw?

“Os ydyn ni’n credu fod Iesu wedi rhoi hawl i’w ddisgyblion iachau’r cleifion, ydyn ni’n mynd i fyw gan ddisgwyl mai gan y cwmnïau ffarmacolegol enfawr a thrwy dechnoleg feddygol well y daw’r atebion? Neu a ddylen ni o leiaf ystyried cyfrifoldeb personol a meddygaeth ataliol yn hytrach nag ymatebol?

“Os ydyn ni’n credu fod ots gan Iesu am ryddhau carcharorion, a’n ninnau’n gwybod yn iawn fod gwreiddiau troseddu yn aml mewn trawma ac amddifadedd plentyndod, ydyn ni’n mynd i fodloni ar adeiladu mwy o garchardai neu a ydyn ni’n mynd i chwilio i weld beth ellir ei wneud i atal pobl fregus rhag dod yn droseddwyr?

“Ac os ydyn ni’n credu tystiolaeth yr efengylau, fod Iesu wedi treulio canwaith mwy o’i fywyd yn iachau, dysgu, efengylu a thrafod wyneb yn wyneb â phobl nag a dreuliodd erioed ar frics a mortar, ydyn ni’n mynd i ffurfio dyfodol ein heglwys yn ol ei flaenoriaethau neu ddal i rygnu am gynnal a chadw adeiladau a strwythurau, rhai y mae wedi eu hoes wedi hen ddod i ben?

This is the stuff of prophecy for me, because John takes fundamental truths that we recognise about God, and applies them quite directly to our responsibility for things that are going on in the world. Some of them, if not all of them, may make us quite uncomfortable – but that is what God does, he wants to move us from where we are, to building, under his guidance and with his grace, the Kingdom of God. The challenge is – what happens next? Jesus often finished his parables with “Let the one who has ears to hear, listen!”, “and”, we might add, “take action.”

Dyma beth yw hanfod proffwydoliaeth i mi, mae John yn gafael yn y gwirioneddau sylfaenol rydyn ni’n eu gwybod am Dduw ac yn eu cymhwyso’n uniongyrchol i ddangos beth yw ein cyfrifoldeb ni ynghylch yr hyn sy’n digwydd yn y byd. Efallai bod rhai, os nad y cyfan, o’r rhain, yn gwneud i ni deimlo’n eithaf anghyfforddus – ond dyna mae Duw’n ei wneud – mae eisiau i ni symud o ble rydyn ni, i adeiladu, o dan ei arweiniad a chyda’i ras, Deyrnas Dduw. Yr her yw – beth sy’n digwydd nesaf? Roedd Iesu’n gorffen ei ddamhegion yn aml gyda “Yr hwn sydd ganddo glustiau i wrando, gwrandawed!, a, gallen ni ychwanegu “a gweithredu”.

I’ve said before that coming out of lockdown would be the time when the lessons of lockdown need to be learned. That moment is now, and how shall we respond to God’s prompting and to the prophecy happening in our midst?

Rwyf wedi dweud o’r blaen mai wrth ddod allan o’r cyfnod clo yw’r adeg i ddysgu gwersi’r cyfnod clo. Yr adeg hynny yw nawr, a sut y byddwn ni’n ymateb i anogaeth Duw ac i’r broffwydoliaeth sy’n digwydd yn ein plith?

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