Take a ticket. Stand (masked) in line, on the dotted line, or in the circle two meters away. ‘Would you like a receipt with that?’ the checkout operator asks? And because of climate change and using less resources and waste paper littering the floor I suppose, they expect you to say no. Would you think twice though? To leave the scrap of paper behind an unheeded list of items and prices, the record of your visit. A glance perhaps is all it is given before walking out of the door as it falls to the floor with your shopping tucked under your arm because you forgot to bring your bag for life. How often do we give this a second thought. Confident in the knowledge that we’ve completed our shopping, paid for it and are on our way home. Would you expect to be asked to prove you paid for your bread and milk? And if you protested would you expect to be believed that you had simply ignored or refused or lost the slip of a receipt with the forgotten bags and shopping tucked carefully under your arm walking away unsuspecting? Yet for Amanda Khozi Mukwashi the lived experience of a Black woman living in the United Kingdom now, this year, is that she must take and keep her receipt from the checkout operator to prove that she has paid for the goods. For a week or two this past year we said that Black Lives Matter. Today 13th September 2020 is Racial Justice Sunday. The painful truth is that still, some lives matter more than others. Amanda is the head of Christian Aid. You can hear her interview on the Greenbelt podcast. She simply asks for dignity for all as Christian Aid works, regardless of description to aid the uprooted, the overlooked and the ignored. The sad fact is that the face of poverty is most often black or brown, the nations which climate change will affect the most are those inhabited by black or brown people and those who struggle most for recognition as a part of the human race are those who are from black or brown nations. And we try to say but don’t all Lives Matter, equally? Without realising the system is already stacked in our favour. As in Amanda’s experience. Equity is about realising we are not starting from the same position. Forgiveness must come from the heart. Forgiveness is not good enough says Jesus if we go our way and do not forgive those who wrong us as we are forgiven. If we don’t treat with justice those we encounter as we were treated. It’s called the golden rule, and is expressed in some way in every religion. First we need to see clearly, to see that sometimes the tables are placed so that only some can be seated and we need to seek forgiveness not seven times, but seventy times seven for our part in allowing this still. Gweld y gwir trwy’r gwyll.
A dark fear grips. Masks of
pain and suffering hidden
from view distanced.
Thin cloth, veils, separates.
Barely visible, breath
becomes lost confidence
in setting out emerging
the tangle of tied up lock
downs within ourselves to
undo the stepping back
withdrawing of past hurts.
Time to heal, forgive,
allow the letting go, unfurl
in a tentative stretch
out toward the other.
To learn again a gentle touch.
Will Tŷ Mawr, not William Morgan but the former custodian of the house that saw William Morgan (Esgob) to birth: As we sat in his kitchen at Wybrnant he recalls ‘they keep bringing us bibles – what do we want with them here? And I’m, taken to the old parlor where a large cupboard stands; it is full of bibles. Family bibles, and bibles in all languages. When Will says he doesn’t want their old bible they often say “Well, what should I do with it then?” To which he would reply “Read it.” And so it begins.
“O Deuwch i’r dyfroedd, bob un y mae syched arno, ie, yr hwn nid oes arian ganddo; deuwch, prynwch, a bwytewch; ie, deuwch, prynwch win a llaeth, heb arian, ac heb werth.” Eseia 55:1 yn ôl y BWM
William Morgan. Neither first nor last of his trade
Like a drop in the ocean, the one drop that starts
the overflow from the Wybrnant to the sea
of the institution, the establishment and yet
Independent at heart. Time to rise up.
Can any good come out of Penmachno?
Deuwch i’r dyfroedd a gweld.
And the waters continue to flow from the hills into the sea.
Those waters overflowed the bowl on our inauguration day – Bro Gwydyr Ministry Area of the forest, rivers, valleys and hills. The waters we poured into a bowl, brought and poured by members of each community, overflowed and tumbled to the ground symbolic of the overflowing grace poured out for us, for our communities laid up by those on whose shoulders we stood that day at Tŷ Mawr Wybrnant reading from the book in the language of the common folk. A language set down creates a new beginning and a new place of departure. A humble beginning. But what beginning is not. And so we walk humbly in pilgrimage each year from St. Tudclud, sacred home of ancient stones to wybrnant, nestled in the quiet valley between Penmachno and Dolwyddelan a place of birth, of baptism for us for William Morgan whose name would become an icon behind which the people of Cymru would rally. Icon of independence, language, culture, society. With the language they (the monarchy) tried to break and tame those difficult folk in the west, yet the poetic language of the William Morgan bible became the call to rise to stand apart, we will not conform. The establishment always underestimated, always, what a bible could do in the language finally understood of its hearers a book heady with dissent with liberation for those who are oppressed and the Cymru heard the voice of salvation in their mother tongue and rallied to its cry. They say it began the revolution, but the real moment, the catalyst: a cross, generations before had waited out its revelation. Morgan’s contribution of the saying of the sages and the wisdom of the prophets laid bare for all to read and hear. No longer cloaked in a hidden language, now voiced as a new birth, as an overflowing of the waters.