Coda 2018 Cywain Gobaith

At Coda 2018 in Llanidloes 27th – 29th July:

We are gathering hope. If only the gleanings are
brought together as a basket of bread not left to go
stale but shared out enough to feed the inspired
small things that we do together. If only the gleanings;
gatherings of potential, a momentum of hope to change
grow and create new voices raised, stirred, moved.
A gently kindled fire. If only, what is reaped may
be sown and what is scattered may be gathered in again
then together – we may gather hope anew.

Gathering Hope is not a gathering of hope, a hopeful gathering or even gathering in Hope! (as they say in North East Wales Live in Hope, die in Caergwrle.) No, this is none of the the above. It does mean coming together with our dreams and visions for a together world, one seated at the same table, neither host nor guest. With a welcome of equity that those who are in need would be fed from the storehouses and those who can give would be serving the feast. This is Gathering Hope. A place to be sent out from with renewed energy to begin to understand, and then engage with the issues of our own communities and the issues around us in this world. If we can be sat at the same table, be in conversation and begin to make friends with those with whom we might profoundly disagree, we might just then be ready to walk with them and eager to love them. (Richard Rohr: Eager to Love) In order to do this we are Gathering Hope not to hold on to it, but to let it go, to enable new visions which transcend boundaries, cross thresholds, join hearts, and recognise lives connected at the deep down
So, bring your hopes, dreams, visions and join us Gathering Hope.

Tickets available 1st November


Post Greenbelt 2017

Last weekend was Greenbelt Festival. In spiritual terms, for me at least, a time to stretch, to get up and be enriched once again. Not because I attended a long list of learned talks by significant theologians. I didn’t. And certainly not because I made a note of everything honourable that was said and done in order to create engaging worship. (I didn’t.) Far more than such trivial matters, it was the once a year visit to a gathering which was once suggested by Greenbelt regular the late Mike Yackonelli to be a glimpse of heaven. Not because it is perfect. It wasn’t. Not because the weather is always fine. It was what it was. Not because everyone there agreed. They didn’t. Not because everyone there is a ‘christian’ (whatever that means) they weren’t. But because for one weekend a year a huge spectrum of life was represented before us in one place on one or two fields in Northants. The before festival inevitable banter between those who believe it should be such and such a gathering and those who would like it to go away because it doesn’t fit their understanding of God and Christianity and those for whom it is too difficult a place to be at because it challenges their assumptions and ways of life. Between those who would like it to be like it was twenty years ago and those who would like it to be more like it was four years ago and those who wanted it to be more anglican and those who would have liked it to be less anglican. Those who don’t know what it is to be anglican. Higher, lower, lefter or righter. Those who wanted it to be less ‘churchy’ and those who don’t do church anyway. However, there were those who just went with an open mind not caring what it was supposed to be, knowing that being there in the midst of Greenbelt folk is an experience that affects you in ways that many beers could not have reached. What Do I Mean? Good Question. It can be summed up in yet another question which is often close to the surface for some when discussing the merits of such gatherings: To whom does God belong? For we often try to brand ourselves as owning some sort of copyright on God. Or if not a copyright as such, then doing it right. And if we are doing it right then there must be those down the road who are doing it wrong upon whom we must look down. I am reminded of Greenbelt Regular Dave Walker (With whom (really sorry Dave, not sure what came over me – must have been the ‘Bad Christian’ – (that’s a beer!) I got a selfie this year)) and his cartoon of the same idea. That can’t be what it is about, it just doesn’t make any sense. Richard Rohr has described Christianity as competitive firms trying to outdo each other in correctness. And I despair. If we need to do anything it is to be ready to love. To be Eager to Love as Richard Rohr would have us understand the way of St. Francis. Who said very little and did a great deal. People followed him for what he did, not what he said. It was the same with Jesus. And I would hope that is what we are about here in our part of the world wherever we may have returned to. I’m not eager to be right, I hope you are not either. But I am eager to love and to be loved in turn. If there is one place a year that this is all brought together into the general mish-mash that is our crazy world it is at the Greenbelt Festival. If we are going to begin to understand, let alone solve the issues of this world, then we need to all be sat at the same table, and be in conversation and begin to make friends with those with whom we might profoundly disagree. And we need to be eager to walk with them and to love them.  At this point, we ought not say ‘until next year’. – For our task is to keep this alive throughout the year, each month and every day.

a song of the earth?

IMG_0188Written for Greenbelt 2014 Travelling light at the ‘Grove’

(There is a bit of a nod to EB Browning and Harry Potter if you can spot them!!)

( For two voices from one person.
a cross concerned confused voice  -::-  and an inquisitive excited soul  )

a song of the earth?

You’ve got dirt
on your hands
did you know?
Euwch, dirty stuff – look at it.

why not look, I mean really see
the dark brown earthy lumps

The dirty brown mess of

complex mixture of old roots and seeds
dead life and potential the grit and sand

I don’t want to touch

it’s gritty, rough, but smoothing & soothing on the skin
squeeze it in a clump and it crumbles changing texture and form.

And that smell?

of burnt ginger cake, rich dark chocolate, old wines
tempting you almost to

Taste is one sense too far

oh go on and taste a little of its story.
From where from what has it been?
listen to the journey a thousand plants animals humans seeds roots nutrients grown in changing exchanging energy within cells and
you were once this earth
here broken down the
dark brown stuff of life called

‘ Dirt ’

and we take off our shoes
for we tread on holy ground
and God created the man from the
earth to earth ashes to ashes
and dust to dust to ashes to earth to womb
and to be reborn a child of the earth.

That we once were we shall be again, the old has been transformed into the new and back until there is no distinction between us and earth which nourishes feeds and sustains our lives making us whole and we tread ever further on her surface each step pushing down and away, but we cannot escape so we must embrace the earth and cherish her warm and welcome womb enclosing each precious life. From earth to earth and ashes to ashes and dust to dust in the sure and certain hope of treading a lighter path with sister, brother, mother earth.