Sunday reflection

Reflection for the eighth Sunday after Trinity and the Commonwealth Games.

”Do not be afraid…. Be dressed for action….. You also must be ready.” Jesus, in today’s Gospel Luke 12:32-40, NRSV.

“I’ve not had an easy road. My appendix ruptured five weeks ago, I fractured my foot two weeks ago and I still managed to walk away from the Commonwealth Games with three gold medals. I really am glad I’ve had the opportunity to make a difference.” Joe Fraser, gymnast.

Today’s Gospel begins with Jesus urging his followers not to be afraid, words of encouragement given at the end of a series of teachings to his disciples and the crowds following them. He has urged them to consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air in reminding them of God’s care for creation and so his words telling them not to be afraid are about trusting God for what they need in whatever lies ahead. 

Jesus gives very practical advice initially – his followers are to sell their possessions and give alms to the poor, an indication that they were not themselves poor and owned things that could be sold. At a time of looming economic crisis and possible recession today, when some families are already saying they won’t be able to pay their way this winter, this is a timely reminder that difficult decisions may lie ahead for many people who may be in need of support from those around them. Jesus talks of the treasure in heaven and, when many may be downhearted, his words remind us that we, like those first disciples, also need to trust in our relationship with God as well as those around us.

Jesus goes on to say that his followers are to be dressed and ready for action – he makes the point by mentioning servants awaiting the return of their master, the time of which is unknown. The middle watch was from midnight and the last before dawn, so these are good, faithful servants who are ready for his return and the master is so pleased that he makes them sit down and serves them a meal himself. How topsy turvy are the values of the kingdom of heaven!

His disciples are told by Jesus that, like those hard workers, they must also be ready for an event that he is clearly anticipating and for which he wants to prepare them. Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection are clearly part of this but the Bible also speaks of his return as King and Lord. Many are wondering whether we are nearing that time with such terrible events happening in our changing world today but Jesus also reminds his followers not to be afraid but to be ready whilst waiting for what will happen.

Do not be afraid, be dressed for action and ready – that was evident in the challenges facing the gymnast Joe Fraser. He has won three gold medals at the Commonwealth Games despite a ruptured appendix and a broken foot – he was ready and determined to continue to do his best and make a difference despite the setbacks he was facing. Despite the challenges we are facing, we are asked to do the same and, in case it’s thought this is age related, remember George Miller, the Scot who has just won a gold medal in the Games for mixed bowls at the age of 75!!  

As Francis Thompson puts it in his poem The Kingdom of God:

“O world invisible, we view thee,

….upon thy so sore loss

Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder

Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.

Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,

Cry, – clinging Heaven by the hems;

And lo, Christ walking on the water

Not of Gennesareth, but Thames!”

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.

Adlewyrchiad Ddydd Sul.

Adlewyrchiad am yr Wythfed Ddydd Sul ar ol y Drindod, a Gemau’r Gymanwlad.

““Peidiwch ag ofni, fy mhraidd bychan, oherwydd bod eich Tad yn hapus i roi’r Deyrnas ichi..
Gwisgwch ar gyfer gweithredu..
Fy’n rhaid i chi hefyd fod yn barod.”

Yr Iesu yn Luwc 12:32-40

“Tydi’r ffordd ddim wedi bod yn hawdd, rhwygodd f’apendics pum wythnos yn ol a thorrais fy’nhroed pythefnos yn ol ac er hynny medrais gerdded i ffwrdd o Gemau’r Gymanwlad gyda thri Wobr Aur. Dwi’n wirioneddol falch ‘mod i wedi cael y cyfle i wneud gwahaniaeth.” Joe Fraser, mabolgampwr.

Mae efengyl heddiw yn cychwyn gyda’r Iesu yn erfyn ar ei ddilynwyr i beidio a bod ac ofn, geiriau cefnogol wedi eu rhoi ar ddiwedd cyfres o ddysgeidiaethau i’w ddisgyblion a’r tyrfaoedd yn eu dilyn.

Mae O wedi erfyn arnynt i ystyried y lilis yn y caeau a’r adar yn yr awyr i atgoffa nhw am ofal Duw am y Creawd, a felly Ei eiriau am peidio ag ofni ac i ymddiried yn Nuw, beth bynnag a ddaw.

Mae’r Iesu yn rhoi cyngor ymarferol i gychwyn, mae ei ddisgyblion i werthu eu heiddo a rhoi elusen i’r tlawd – arwydd eu bon’t ddim yn dlawd eu hunain ac mewn sefyllfa i fedru gwerthu eu heiddo.
Mewn amser anodd economaidd heddiw gyda rhai teuluoedd yn honni na fyddent yn medru talu eu ffordd y gaeaf yma, mae hyn yn atgoffa ni a mi fydd yna ddewisiadau anodd o flaen nifer o bobol a bydd angen cefnogaeth arnynt gan eu cymdeithasau.
Mae’r Iesu yn son am Drysor yn y Nefoedd a, tra fydd llawer yn digaloni, mae Ei eiriau yn ein atgoffa fo’n rhaid i ninnau, fatha’r disgyblion cynnar, ymddiried yn Nuw ac yn ein gilydd.

Mae’r Iesu yn mynd ymlaen i ddweud fo’n rhaid i’w ddilynwyr fod wedi gwisgo ac yn barod, ar gyfer gweithredu – mae E’n crybwyll hanes y gweision a fuont yn barod ar gyfer dychweliad eu meistr, ar amser anhysbys iddynt.
Roedd y Golwg canol, ar ol hanner nos a’r olaf cyn y wawr, felly mae rhain yn weision da a ffyddlon sy’n barod am ei ddychwelud a mae’r meistr mor falch ei fod yn mynnu iddynt eistedd ac yn paratoi bwyd iddynt. Mor “wyneb i waered” mae gwerthoedd Teyrnas Nef!

Dywedodd Iesu wrth ei ddisgyblion eu bod hwythau, fel y gweithwyr caled, gorfod bod yn barod ar gyfer digwyddiad yr oedd Ef yn ei ddisgwyl ac yn ceisio eu paratoi ar ei gyfer.

Yn rhan amlwg o hyn mae dioddefaint, marwolaeth ac atgyfodiad yr Iesu, ond mae’r Beibl hefyd yn son iddo ddychwelyd fel Brenin ac Arglwydd. Mae sawl un yn ystyried y bon’t yn nesau at y cyfnod yma gyda digwyddiadau mor erchyll yn ein byd newidiol heddiw ond mae’r Iesu hefyd yn atgoffa ei ddilynwyr i beidio ac ofni ond i fod yn barod ar gyfer beth bynnag a ddaw.

Peidiwch ac ofni a byddwch wedi gwisgo ac yn barod – roedd hyn yn amlwg yn yr heriau oedd yn gwynebu mabolgampwr Joe Fraser. Mae o wedi enill tri medal aur yng Ngemau’r Gymanwlad er diodde pendics rhwyg a toriad yn ei droed – roedd o’n barod ac yn benderfynnol o wneud ei orau a gwneud gwahaniaeth er yr anhwylusderau yr oedd yn eu gwynebu.
Er gwaetha’r heriau rydym yn gwynebu, mae gofyn i ni wneud yr un peth ac, rhag ofn i rhywun feddwl a wnelo hyn ac oedran, cofiwch George Miller, yr Albanwr sydd newydd enill y fedal aur yn y mabolgampau am bowls cymysg, yn 75 mlwydd oed!

Fel y dywed Francis Thompson yn ei bennill The Kingdom of God:
“O world invisible, we view thee,
….upon thy so sore loss
Shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder
Pitched betwixt Heaven and Charing Cross.
Yea, in the night, my Soul, my daughter,
Cry, – clinging Heaven by the hems;
And lo, Christ walking on the water
Not of Gennesareth, but Thames!”

Gyda fy ngweddiau; pob bendith,
Chris, Gwarcheidwad.

Sunday reflection

Reflection for the seventh Sunday after Trinity



“Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” Jesus in Luke 12:13-21.

“I am devastated by the judge’s finding…..as for the rest of her judgement, she got it wrong.” Rebekah Vardy, after the failure of her High Court case against Colleen Rooney.

Today’s Gospel is particularly pertinent, given the rising cost of living and how to provide in later life for such astonishing circumstances as the spectacular increase of petrol, utilities and food. Shell has just posted profits of £9.4 billion, electricity prices are forecast to rise by 77% in October and increasing costs have been termed ‘potentially catastrophic’ for some families by Martin Lewis, known as the Money 

Saving Expert. None of the much-needed stored grain blocked by Russia has yet left Ukraine, although this may eventually happen, and so Jesus’ parable of the rich fool who has so much grain he needs bigger barns for it has many resonances today. 

It may seem odd to call the farmer a fool – his land has produced an excellent yield and so he and his workers must have taken good care of it and worked hard. The difficulty lies in his attitude: “What should I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops…I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.” The farmer goes on to reassure himself that he will then have ample goods stored up for many years and can relax, eat, drink and be merry. Jesus calls him foolish, but not because he has wealth and is saving for the future and his golden years – those are wise things to do. It’s because he’s only concerned for himself and his own needs, unaware that his life will be taken that night and that his plans won’t actually come to fruition. Jesus warns against greed of all kinds and counting on the abundance of possessions but the farmer in his parable appears to have given no thought to the needs of anyone else or what God might ask of him, and he doesn’t seem to be thankful in any way. His wealth and possessions won’t save him and the grain might well have gone mouldy before he and his family could use it all. It’s in that respect that the farmer’s foolish – Jesus criticises him for storing up treasures just for himself and not being generous towards God. 

Jesus’ words are a timely reminder that our lives and possessions are not our own, although we often act as if they are. All of us are affected by the circumstances in which we live and many of those who have planned for what they thought was a secure retirement are now faced with uncertainty and unprecedented economic consequences of the warfare in Ukraine, supply difficulties  and climate change. That’s so for people of all ages as such chaotic circumstances affect us all – but that’s the point. This affects everyone and none of us is alone in it, although we may feel as if we are. The farmer was foolish because he didn’t consider the needs of anyone else and this parable reminds us that we must – in that respect, how can we be wise and not foolish ourselves? Whose needs do we need to consider today as well as our own? In this parable Jesus reminds his followers, then and today, that God is the ultimate judge of our time and actions – and no matter what she thinks of High Court judges, not even Rebekah Vardy will be able to disagree with his judgement! 

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.

August and September Services at the Shrine Church of Pennant Melangell 

August is not just the eighth month of the year but also the time when many families take their holidays due to the closure of schools, colleges and universities. However, it was originally the sixth month of the year – January and February weren’t named in the Roman calendar as they were considered to be inactive or dead months. This changed when, in 46 BC, Julius Caesar developed the Julian calendar, named after himself as was the month of July. August is actually named after Augustus Caesar, the first Roman Emperor, whose name comes from the Latin word augustus meaning venerable or noble. That’s reflected in Mis Awst, the Welsh name for that month. 

For similar reasons, September was originally the seventh month but then became the ninth month and Pope Gregory XIII made further changes in 1582 when the Gregorian calendar began. Since then, different ways have developed of calculating time more accurately and the sensational images from the James Webb Space Telescope have been able to reflect images as far back in time as 13.5 billion years ago. How time flies! 

It won’t be long before September is upon us, heralding the end of summer and the beginning of autumn as well as the start of the new academic year and the reaping of the harvest, reflected in its Welsh name Mis Medi. Time is so precious and there is a link, often forgotten, between some holy days when a day off was given which became a day of rest or celebration – a holiday. With chaos at the airports and strikes on the railways, having a break over the summer may not be straightforward but being mindful of the significance of the calendar and time itself is important – may the weeks ahead be blessed while time marches on!

Christine, Guardian. 

When possible, Morning Prayer is said daily at 9am, Pilgrim Prayers at noon and Evening Prayer at 5pm, in addition to the following:

Services of reflection will be held at 3pm on Sundays 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th of August as well as on Sundays 4th, 11th (Education Sunday), 18th and 25th September.

Holy Eucharist will be held at noon on Thursdays 4th, 11th (Clare), 18th and 25th of August as well as 1st, 8th, 15th,22nd and 29th (Michael and All Angels) of September.

A Julian Group will take place at 10.30am in the Centre on Wednesdays 17th August and  21st September.

Madonna, Monacella, Melangell and Me – a day of reflection about the Saint and her life will be held at the Centre from 10.30- 3.30 on Wednesday 24th August.

For further details, please get in touch via admin@stmelangell.org or the Centre on 01691 860408.

Diolch – thank you!

Sunday reflection

Reflection on the Lord’s Prayer

“Give us each day our daily bread.” Jesus in Luke 11:1-13, NRSV.

“Today there is a beacon on the Black Sea, a beacon of hope.” General Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary, regarding the negotiated release of Ukrainian grain.

There are two versions of the Lord’s Prayer in the Bible, this in Luke and a longer form in Matthew 6:9-13. They differ and neither has the doxology, ‘For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever, Amen.’ – this was added later. In Luke’s version, the gospel for today, Jesus has been praying by himself and his disciples clearly see something in his prayer that is vital to him and that they want for themselves so one of them asks, ‘Lord, teach us how to pray.’

Jesus gives no preamble about preparation, attitude or posture but teaches them a prayer that has become familiar to Christians everywhere. God is called not just Father but the intimate term Abba – this is not a formal statement of belief in God but an actual relationship with him. His holy name is to be hallowed, requiring a human response for it to be honoured in this way, and his kingdom come in the sense of being both longed for and having begun. Yet this is no remote deity: God is asked to provide food for the day just as the Israelites depended on their daily needs being supplied in the wilderness as manna could not be stored without going mouldy. God is also asked to forgive our wrongdoing, with the obligation that those praying this prayer must forgive others too. Finally, protection is asked from any temptation or trial that might be too much to bear and Jesus goes then tells the disciples a story about persistence.

In those days, hospitality obliged a host to provide for a guest whenever they arrived and regardless of the hour even if, in avoiding the heat of the day, a traveller might arrive very late and perhaps without warning. Neighbours could be asked even after they’d gone to bed to help to provide bread should an unexpected guest arrive and, in banging on the door and disrupting the whole household, eventually the food would be given to stop the disturbance. Jesus likens this to persistence in prayer – not because we are a nuisance to God but because prayer requires commitment and trust that its blessings will eventually be forthcoming although this will happen in God’s timing – not necessarily as anticipated by those praying to him. “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you,” says Jesus – this is in the future as well as the present. 

At the present moment, there may be hope that the vast amounts of Ukrainian wheat that couldn’t be exported because of the ongoing war with Russia may now be able to be released thanks to the intervention of the UN and lengthy negotiations for two months to overcome the impasse. The Black Sea has been mined and the plans are not without risk but the price of wheat has already fallen at the news that many dependent, hungry people may now be able to be fed. If we want there to be daily bread, we have to play our part, too, in bringing this about – will the fragile hope be fulfilled? 

Luke’s briefer version of the Lord’s Prayer teaches its users to bring to God practical requests for bread, forgiveness and protection from temptation whilst proclaiming that this is done in his name and kingdom. Jesus tells his disciples, then and now, to ask, seek and knock at the door which will be opened – no matter how late it is. As Malcolm Guite puts it in the first of his Seven Sonnets on the Lord’s Prayer: 

‘And so I come and ask you how to pray, Seeking a distant supplicant’s petition, Only to find you give your words away, As though I stood with you in your position, As though your Father were my Father too, As though I found his ‘welcome home’ in you.’ 

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.

Adlewyrchiadau Gwarcheidwad Eglwys Pennant Melangell.

Adlewyrchiad Ddydd Sul.

Adlewyrchiad ar Weddi’r Arglwydd.

“Rho i ni heddiw ein bara beunyddiol”
Yr Iesu yn Luwc 11:1-13, NRSV.

“Heddiw mae yna oleufa ar y Mor Du, goleufa gobaith”.
Y Cadfridog Antonio Guterres, Ysgrifennydd i’r UN, ynglyn a’r penderfyniad i ryddhau grawn o’r Iwcrain.

Mae yna ddau gyfansoddiad o Weddi’r Arglwydd yn Y Beibl, yr hwn yn Luwc a ffurf hirach yn Matthew 6:9-13. Maen’t yn wahanol y tydi ‘run yn cynnwys y docsoleg “Canys Ti yw’r Deyrnas, y Nerth a’r Gogoniant, byth bythoedd Amen.” – atodwyd hyn nes ymlaen.

Yng nghyfansoddiad Luwc, yr efengyl am heddiw, mae’r Iesu wedi bod yn gweddio ar ei ben Ei hun ac mae’r disgyblion yn gweld rhywbeth yn Ei weddi sy’n Ei fywiogi ac y maen’t eisiau iddyn nhw eu hunain, felly maen’t yn gofyn “Arglwydd, dysga i ni sut i weddio.”
Tydi’r Iesu ddim yn son am baratoad, agwedd nac osgo ond mae’n dysgu iddynt weddi sydd wedi dod yn gyfarwydd i Gristnogion ym mhob man.
Tydi Duw nid yn unig yn cael ei gyfarch fel Tad ond yn y ffurf fwy personol – Abba – nid datganiad ffurfiol o gred yn Nuw yw hyn, ond perthynas gydag Ef.
Mae Ei enw sanctaidd i’w sancteiddio, sy’n golygu ymateb gan y ddynolryw i’w barchu yn y modd yma, a’i deyrnas i ddod, yn yr ystyr awydd amdano a hefyd fod wedi dechrau eisioes.
Ond nid duw o bellter yw hwn, on Duw sy’n darparu bara beunyddiol yn yr un modd ag yr oedd yr Iddewon angen bwyd yn yr anialwch, canus nad oedd yn bosib cadw manna rhag iddo ddirywio. Gofynnir i Dduw faddau am ein dyledion ac i ninnau hefyd ddangos maddeuant at y rhai sydd wedi ein pechu.
Yn olaf gofynnwyd am amddiffyn rhag profedigaeth neu prawf a fydde’n ormod i ni a wedyn mae’r Iesu yn mynd ati i ddysgu am ddyfalbarhad.
Yn y dyddie hyny roedd disgwyl cynnig llety a chroeso i ymwelwyr hyd yn oed taent yn cyrraedd yn yr hwyr, drwy geisio osgoi gwres y dydd, ac yn ddirybudd. Gofynnir i gymdogion godi i baratoi bara ar gyfer yr ymwelwyr ac hyn weithiau yn golygu taro drws nes iddynt ymateb.
Mae’r Iesu yn cymharu hyn i ddyfalbarad wrth weddio, nid ein bod yn boendod i Dduw, ond mae gweddio yn gofyn cymhelliant ac ymddiried fod ei fendithion yn mynd i arddangos, ond yn amser Duw nid yn angenrheidiol yn amser Dyn.
“Gofyn a chei ateb, chwilia a mi wnei ddarganfod, cura’r drws a mi wneith agor” meddai’r Iesu – mae hyn yn y dyfodol yn ogystal a’r presennol.
Ar hyn o bryd medrwn obeithio, drwy ddylanwad y Cenhedloedd Unedig fod storfa enfawr o wenith yn yr Iwcrain yn gallu cael ei ryddhau ar ol deufis o drafodaethau.
Mae ffrwydriadau tanfor wedi eu gosod o dan donau’r Mor Du a thydi’r cynlluniau nid heb eu peryglon ond gobeithiwn, gyda pris gwenith wedi darostwng yn barod, y ceiff y rhai sy’n llwgu cael eu bwydo.
Os ydym angen bara beunyddiol fy’n rhaid i ninnau hefyd gyfrannu -a fydd y gobaith bregus yn cael ei gyflawni?
Mae fersiwn byrrach Luwc o Weddi’r Arglwydd yn dysgu i’w ddefnyddwyr ofyn am fara, maddeuant ac amddiffyn rhag profedigaeth, tra’n datgan fod hyn yn digwydd yn Ei Enw ac yn Ei Deyrnas.
Mae’r Iesu yn dysgu Ei ddisgyblion, rwan ac adeg hynny, i ymofyn, chwilio a churo’r drws nes iddo agor- pa bynnag hwyr yr awr.
Fel a ddywedodd Malcolm Guite yn ei soned gyntaf ar weddi’r Arglwydd;

“And so I come and ask you how to pray, Seeking a distant supplicant’s petition, Only to find you give your words away, As though I stood with you in your position, As though your Father were my Father too, As though I found his ‘welcome home’ in you.”

Gyda fyng ngweddion, pob bendith.
Christine, Gwarcheidwad.

Sunday reflection

Reflection: brothers and sisters

“…You are worried and distracted by many things.” 

Jesus, in today’s Gospel Luke 10:38-42, NRSV.

“Whatever the cost, I need to tell my real story.” Hussein Abdi Kohin, aka Sir Mo Farah.


Much has been made recently of the upbringing of Sir Mo Farah, the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. It turns out that, due to being trafficked and brought to the UK when he was nine, he isn’t actually Mo but Hussein Abdi Kahin. Working as a servant from so young an age when he had to look after other people’s children and was separated from his real family, running helped him to find his freedom and eventually his true identity as he ran to escape what was happening to him. For many years, Hussein lied for fear of the consequences but, now that he’s divulged what happened to him as a child, telling the truth has lead to the Home Office stating that he won’t be deported as he couldn’t legally have given his consent at the time. An enquiry has been launched and it seems that at least 10,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 people are caught up in domestic servitude every year in the UK – Hussein’s is just one story of many.

His, however, has a happier ending than most and it seems that Hussein will keep his identity as Sir Mo because so many people know him with that name. It was taken from Mohamed Farah, another boy at the time whose place was taken by those who trafficked Hussein instead and forced a false identity on him. The documentary showed him talking to Mohamed on the phone and he, generously, called Hussein his brother instead of having a dispute. What might have happened to him had he come to the UK instead and what would have happened to Hussein had he not?

The answers to that will never be known but the Bible has the story of two actual brothers whose identity was swapped. Esau was the first born but he exchanged his birthright with his younger twin, Jacob, for a bowl of stew when he was famished after hunting. Later, Jacob used the skins of goats to make himself hairy like his brother and, with his father’s poor eyesight and his brother’s clothes, tricked his father so that he received the birthright blessing and privileges instead.

Today’s Gospel involves two sisters, one of whom complains about the other when Jesus comes to visit. Martha asks him to tell Mary to come and give her a hand with the many domestic tasks that she has to do, probably the preparation of a meal. Jesus doesn’t criticise Martha for her priority but replies that Mary has made a better choice by making time to listen to him while he is there – she is sitting at his feet, as would a student listening to a rabbi. By contrast, he tells Martha that she is distracted by becoming so anxious about all that needs doing – she is actually being inhospitable by complaining to their guest about her sister and also asking him to intervene. “Lord, do you not care?” Martha asks, even accusing Jesus himself!

Luke doesn’t say what happens next but the approaches of both sisters are important. Good hospitality involves welcoming guests and paying them attention like Mary but would be diminished without food and drink to offer, which is probably why Martha is distracted. Both listening and doing, receiving God and serving others, are important and this is a homely story of domestic tensions and relationships that many will identify with today. With the rising cost of living, the war in Ukraine, the crisis in the NHS and the increase in Coronavirus, there is much now which will also create distraction and worry. Then, Martha had much to do but forgot that it was Jesus she was doing it for. Mary also probably caused some of her sister’s anxiety by sitting at his feet, a role taken by men in those days, and perhaps a response which surprised Martha who might have been counting on her help. Each of them had choices to make about the daily use of time and their response to Jesus when he arrived. Hussein Abdi Kahin, however, had no choice about the domestic circumstances in which he was caught up but has now found a freedom in which he chooses still to be identified as Mo Farar because that name has become part of his story and identity. 

Esau and Jacob, Martha and Mary, Mo and Hussein – perhaps their stories, identities and responses are similar to some of ours, too?

With my prayers; pob bendith,
Christine, Guardian.

Myfyrdod ar y Sul

Adlewyrchiadau Gwarcheidwad Eglwys Pennant Melangell.

Adlewyrchiad Ddydd Sul.

Adlewyrchiad; Brodyr a Chwiorydd.

“Rydych yn bryderus a’ch sylw yn cael ei ddwyn gan sawl peth”.

Yr Iesu, yn Efengyl heddiw Luwc 10:38-42, NRSV.

“Beth bynnag y gost, rwyf angen mynegi fy hanes cywir.” Hussein Abdi Kohin, aka Syr Mo Farah.

Mae llawer o son yn ddiweddar am fagwriaeth Syr Mo Farah, yr athletwr trac Prydeinig fwyaf llwyddiannus yn hanes y Mabolgampau Olympaidd diweddar.

Y gwir yw, ar ol cael ei gipio a’i ddwyn i’r Deyrnas Unedig pan yn naw oed, ei enw cywir yw Hussein Abdi Kahin.
Gweithio fel gwas, mor ifanc, ac yn gorfod gofalu am blant pobol eraill, tra’n ddiarth i’w deulu ei hun, rhedeg oedd ei fodd o gael rhyddhad a darganfod hunaniaeth cywir tra y rhedodd, i ddianc rhag yr hyn oedd yn digwydd iddo.
Am rhai blynyddoedd dywedodd Hussein glwyddau rhag ofn y canlyniadau ond rwan, ar ol iddo ddatgelu yr hyn a ddigwyddodd iddo tra’n blentyn, mae’r Swyddfa Gatre wedi cyhoeddi na fydde’n cael ei erlyn oherwydd plentyn yr oedd pan ddaeth i’r wlad yn anghyfreithlon.
Mae ymholiad wedi cychwyn a mae’n debyg fod rhwng 10,000 a 100,000 o bobol yn cael eu trin fel caethweision yn y Deyrnas Unedig. Un stori o lawer yw stori Hussein.
Mae diwedd y gan yma yn fwy boddhaol na’r rhan fwyaf ac mae’n debyg fydd Syr Mo yn cael cadw ei enw adnabyddus.
Dwynwyd yr enw oddiwrth fachgen arall a cafodd Hussein ei herwgipio gydag enw newydd, anghywir. Mae llunddogfen yn dangos y gwir Mohamed yn siarad ar y ffon gyda “Syr Mo” ac yn ei alw’n frawd yn hytrach na ffraeo. Be fyddai wedi digwydd iddo petai ef, yn lle Syr Mo, wedi dod i’r Deyrnas Unedig, a be fydde wedi digwydd i Hussein petai e ddim wedi dod?
Bydd byth ateb i’r cwestiynnau hyn ond mae gan y Beibl ystori am ddau frawd go iawn yn cael eu cyfnewid.
Esau oedd yr hynaf ond mi newidiodd ei hawliau cyntaf-anedig gyda’i efaill Jacob am fowlen o stiw tra’n llewygu ar ol bod allan yn hela.
Nes ymlaen, defnyddiodd Jacob groenau geifr er mwyn twyllo ei dad, oedd bron yn ddall, i feddwl mae ei frawd blewog,Esau, yr oedd, a felly cafodd freintiau a hawliau y cyntaf-anedig.
Mae Efengyl heddiw yn ymwneud a dwy chwaer, yr un yn cwyno am y llall tra fod yr Iesu yn mynychu. Mae Martha yn gofyn i’r Iesu orfodi Fair i helpu gyda negeseuon o gwmpas y ty, paratoi pryd mae’n debyg. Ateb yr Iesu yw fod Mair wedi gwneud penderfyniad doeth drwy dewis i wrando arno tra fod yno – mae hi’n eistedd wrth ei draed, fel fydde disgybl yn gwrando ar rabbi. Mae O’n cynghori Martha ei bod wedi colli ei sylw drwy bryderu am yr holl bethau sydd angen eu gwneud a’i bod yn anghroesawys drwy ofyn i’r Iesu i ymyrryd yn y sefyllfa. “Arglwydd, does dim bwys gennat Ti?” gofynna Martha, hyd yn oed yn cyhuddo’r Iesu ei Hun!

Tydi Leuc ddim yn crybwyll be a ddigwyddodd wedyn, ond mae agwedd y ddwy chwaer yn bwysig. Mae lletygarwch da yn cynnwys croeso i’r ymwelwr a rhoi sylw addas iddo fel a wnaeth Fair. Ar y llaw arall tydi’r croeso ddim yn gyflawn heb paratoi pryd iddo, a dyma oedd safbwynt Martha.
Mae gwrando a gwneud, ill dau, yn bwysig – derbyn Duw, a gwasanaethu i’r werin. Mae hon yn stori cartrefol am densiynnau mewn teulu a fydd sawl un yn medru unieuthu gyda, heddiw.
Gyda costau byw yn cynyddu, rhyfel yn yr Iwcrain, argyfwng yn yr NHS, a coronafeirws, mae sawl rheswm i rhywyn or-bryderu a cholli gafael ar ei sylw.
Roedd Martha yn bryderus am y gwaith oedd angen gwneud, ond anghofiodd mae ar gyfer yr Iesu roedd yn ei wneud. Hefyd mae’n debyg fod hi wedi synnu gan ymateb Mair, yn eistedd wrth draed yr Iesu – rol roedd fel arfer yn cael ei gymryd gan ddyn. Roedd gan y ddwy ddewis i wneud ynglyn a’u ymateb i bresenoldeb yr Iesu.
Doedd gan Hussein, fel arall, ddim dewis ynglyn a’r sefyllfa cartrefol a oedd yn rhan ohono, ond mae wedi llwyddiannu yn ei faes a wedi dewis cadw yr enw Mo Farar sydd rwan yn rhan sylfaenol o’i hanes a’i hunaniaeth.

Esau a Jacob, Martha a Mair, Hussein a Mo – efallai fod eu straeon, uniaethau ac ymatebion yn debyg i rhai ninnau hefyd?

Gyda fyng ngweddion; pob bendith.
Christine, Gwarcheidwad.

Sunday reflection

Reflection for Sea Sunday

July sees the annual celebration of Sea Sunday and it may seem strange that we’ll be marking this at St Melangell’s when we’re inland. However, recent difficulties with the supply chain have highlighted the importance of international trade and its availability or otherwise – two container ships with bunting and Platinum Jubilee memorabilia amongst their cargoes weren’t able to dock until 5th June, after the official celebrations had ended. The challenges of communication between different nations were also highlighted when some official souvenirs which had been made in China had to be scrapped because the slogan marked the Platinum Jubbly – shades of Del Boy! 

During the pandemic, coronavirus spread very quickly amongst passengers on cruise ships, which had to be quarantined in port and caused great concern for those aboard and their families. This is just one of the issues also faced by crews on container ships, who often have to work in difficult and hazardous conditions to bring goods that are often taken for granted. During the last year and its financial challenges for so many, more crews have been abandoned by their employers than ever before and some are still being denied the right to leave their ships for even a short break away from the relentless noise and pressure onboard. When they are also separated for long periods from their families, stress and poorer mental health is being reported more frequently and the chaplains at the various ports are needed more than ever. 

The theme of Sea Sunday this year is ‘Calming the storm at home, in port and at sea’ and focuses on the story in St Matthew’s Gospel of Jesus calming the storm when the disciples were terrified. Storms can be global, whether warfare in Ukraine, immense tsunamis or the Covid pandemic and they can also be personal as individuals face unemployment, sickness or bereavement. Sometimes, they can develop with very little warning. 

Many people are currently facing unsettled circumstances with the cost of living crisis, the ongoing warfare in Ukraine, food insecurity and petrol costs making changes to daily life as they make fewer journeys, put on layers of clothing rather than the heating and cut back on food and supplies. However, fewer journeys may bring benefits for environmental pollution and the cutback economy may yet enable some to stay afloat with heating not being needed during the summer weather. But, as the storm clouds gather and turbulent times lie ahead, others are already facing very challenging conditions. 

Choppy waters lie ahead, not least after the storms of this last week in Parliament, and good neighbours are also needed more than ever to calm things down and help find safe passage through whatever lies ahead. This is not a storm in a tea cup but a challenge to the way of life we so often take for granted. The pandemic enabled so many to pull together and it can be done again – can’t it?

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.

Sunday reflection

Reflection on Doubting Thomas

”Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Jesus in John 20:24-29, NRSV.

“Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.” Khalil Gilbran.

“The wounded God whose wounds are healing mine.” Malcolm Guite, in his poem St Thomas the Apostle.


“I will not believe,” says Thomas in today’s Gospel and, although he’s still often called doubting Thomas, he’s not just doubting that the other apostles have seen Jesus but is actually refusing what they claim. This is despite the fact that reliable witnesses – many of them people he knows – have been saying that Jesus is alive, that his tomb is empty and that his grave clothes have been found neatly folded and not needed. It isn’t Jesus’s death that Thomas is struggling with but his resurrection – after so terrible a death, how can he be alive?

However, Thomas may have had good reason for his doubts: Jesus had appeared to the disciples locked in the upper room a week earlier but it seems that this had little effect on them as they’re still behind locked doors when Jesus reappears to them. Their encounter with him seems to have changed their behaviour very little and perhaps they need time to come to terms with what’s happening. They still seem to be scared and hiding away for fear of the consequences and, after all that’s happened, that’s understandable.

Thomas is mentioned earlier in the Gospel when he questions Jesus about where he’s going and clearly doesn’t comprehend what Jesus means when he tells them he‘s going ahead of them. “How can we know the way?” he asks, drawing forth the words from Jesus that are used at so many funerals, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:5,6) Clearly, Thomas has always questioned events, despite being with Jesus for three years and watching his ministry, healing and miracles unfold. 

Now, although others had been convinced by the sight or testimony of his resurrection, Thomas insists that he must not only see but touch the wounds of Jesus to accept that he’s alive. It’s a tall order as Jesus told Mary Magdalene not to touch him that first Easter Day – and yet Jesus honours what Thomas asks of him by inviting him to see and touch the marks of the nails and spear. He is identified by the scars of what he has been through, a wounded saviour who has experienced the terrible depths of human suffering and yet still responds with love and compassion. Rather than chiding Thomas, Jesus enables him to respond with the cry, “My Lord and my God!” Because of the honesty of his doubts and wanting to discover for himself rather than be told by others what to think, Thomas makes the enormous leap of then realising that this is his Lord and God before him. He does this before the other apostles and it’s because he refuses to pretend to believe but rather waits to to see, touch and believe for himself.

Perhaps, at times, we feel pressure to accept or do things because other people want us to or sometimes we may struggle to accept their word. Thomas was actually being told the truth in what the other apostles said – is it possible that there is some truth in what others may be telling us, that we may be denying? Waiting for understanding or belief to grow can be lonely and challenging but being honest about doubts also enables us to be inspired by Thomas’ example as he went on to take the Gospel to India, where his name is still common. Thomas, like Didymus, actually means twin – and perhaps we are twinned with him in the doubts he has the courage to express and which lead to so huge a leap of faith.

Jesus also seemed to know what Thomas needed and responded to it. The same can be true for us as we begin to see, through the scriptures and prayer, how our needs and doubts can also be met by him. Jesus tells Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe” – coming to believe may imply a transition, a gradual realisation or awakening which is part of many faith journeys. Jesus’ words can bring blessing to us down the ages, too, if we have the faith to accept them – or do you doubt that?!

With my prayers; pob bendith,

Christine, Guardian.