In the beginning… that moment of beautiful poetry from Genesis, the light begins to shine out of the darkness.  Hope is brought forth. It is one of the most enduring images of the Christian faith, that light overcomes darkness, that goodness is stronger than evil, and that Christ as the Light for the World has come to lead us on the way.  And so it was, Late last year, on the shortest day, in the meagre short hours of light a small group of pilgrims squandered that precious time by simply walking an unhurried path in the company of others; offering ourselves to each other as companions on the way; carrying each other for a time. We walked the so-called Priest’s road from Dolwyddelan in the Lledr Valley across to Capel Curig, then on to the small remote church of St. Rhychwyn.  Of course there are places like this all over Wales, small, remote stone sanctuaries.  And we treasure them because of their stillness. We treasure them because they are unchanged over centuries. Because they allow us to connect to that which is beyond our immediate understanding.  For you it may not be a church building, it might be a grove of woods, a hilltop, a mountain valley or a quiet shore there are plenty to choose from around here.  As the earth turns in the light these places, which have seen more days than we ever will, can stir our soul into song.

We arrived at Llanrhychwyn just as the last of the light was fading from the sky and sat within the quiet walls in candlelight listening to the birdsong ushering in the night. No-one wanted to break the quietness of that moment.  We had walked in the company of each other and at the mercy of the elements in God’s time, in the Light and the dark and arrived safe.  

As the light faded on that shortest of days 
May we who walked to the turn of the earth 
continue to dwell in the company of brightness
With winter’s shrouded colours born of waiting 
in anticipation of the light to come.
May we return to this moment when the darkness closes in 
and be cradled as in candlelight and encouraged as by bird song 
A haunting vespers which invades our inner silence 
and calls companions and friends together out towards the light.

Now if you were paying attention you’ve heard the creation story as told in the book of Genesis – all of it – for each day of that first week!  And it was good and it was good and it was very good, then God rests.

There! God saves the best till last.  No, I don’t mean the humans, I mean The sabbath.  Rest.  A day off.  And I wonder, how good we really are at resting?  I know if I’ve got a day off planned it is normally filled with lots of things I’ve not got around to during a busy week.  Sabbath, we are told by Genesis, is the crowning glory of creation, the day is blessed and hallowed for rest.  To honour the whole of creation, sabbath is crucial.  We’ll find it throughout  the whole Bible, which, in its fullness is a beautiful and sophisticated account of the interplay between humans and the rest of creation.  We see that played out through the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures: from the poetry of the prophets and the sayings of the sages, from the rituals of the priests and the parables of the storytellers. Since the New Testament shares this view of the creation, it becomes the basis for Christian understanding about the environment of which we are a part. 

Sabbath time is for reflection, to prepare to be engaged. Time to take careful notice of all that is around us and to care about it.  Time to help us to be co re-creators with the divine, re-imagining, regenerating the lost beauty, and art of creation.

With the challenges of global climate change there is an urgent need in our world right now for moments and places of Love, hospitality, healing and wholeness, this is what sabbath can bring.  St Rychwyn’s church is a sabbath place, where we can rest and reflect, but we must allow all of creation to rest as well.  I wonder if the whole of the Earth were recognised  as that sabbath place, our sanctuary and light, might we treat it rather better than we do. Sanctuary, because it offers shelter, warmth, hospitality and love.  Light, because it illuminates for us a path to walk. Our task this creation Sunday therefore is to re-awaken our connection with the whole earth, to see it as good, to allow it sabbath rest in it’s turn, and to re-engage our hearts, that, as part of God’s creation we might care for it as a treasured gift.

~ rhannu os ti isio ~ do share ~







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