The Kingdom is like…

Apologies for being so last week!  based on Matt. ch.13

So I asked, rather foolishly, what happened at 4.30am.  Blank looks.  And it happens every morning, but perhaps not always that early.

‘sunrise?’ …  Yes!

And what will happen tonight at about 10pm?

‘sunset?’ (they’re catching on!)

Is that right says I?

(they nod)

Are you sure?

(they nod, but one does not)  No! tis the other way round!

It is, says I, thanks be to God for Galileo, Copernicus and the like.  The poor old Catholic church took until 1990 to say it really didn’t handle the Galileo situation very well.  He didn’t quite lose his head, but was almost (apparently) guilty of blasphemy.  For observing the movements of the sun and the other stars, (or lack of!)

So we know the Earth goes round the sun, and it does not rise, but just appears to because we are stood still.  How fast would we need to run to keep up with the sun?

Another question, since we are doing so well…  So if the earth is not at the centre, or indeed flat, where then is heaven?

Above the sky?

That would have been the old answer, when people believed in the three tier universe, when everything revolved around the earth, Heavens above! Earth beneath, Hell below.  Easy to fall off into hell, much harder to get to heaven through the sky.

Heaven was seen as a place wholly other, away from this world, not attainable in any real sense.

And Yet…  The parables of the Kingdom of which Jesus spoke in this Gospel, speak not of a heaven far away and removed, untouchable, un-knowable, but of a heaven close at hand.

The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.  You can watch the tree grow, reach out and touch it, see birds nesting in its branches.  It is like yeast to leaven the flour, something to get your hands into, to feel, smell and eventually taste, something which evokes all the senses.  It is like a precious pearl or a great treasure, something to hold close and guard, not to be divorced from.  It is like a net cast over the water to gather fish.  It feeds and nourishes and is close at hand, just out of view.  We see as if through a glass darkly.  The kingdom is not aloof, far off, unattainable, despite what centuries of theologians might have argued.  With the insight of observers of the world such as Galileo we can see that Jesus had it understood from the beginning, if only we had listened.  Do you understand this?  Says Jesus.  Yes, they say, whist shaking their heads.

This poem is a fitting way to end such observations.

Celebration, Lament and Hope

These are the three things that Ian Bradley in Colonies of Heaven says that we need to do in worship suggesting that:

We need above all to have more sense of heaven in our worhip and to make the places where worship, whether churches or homes, colonies of heaven in which earth and heaven meet, the glory shines through the grey, ordinary things are rendered extraordinary and hope keeps breaking through.  Then perhaps people will come to worship with a sense of excitement and expectancy rather than out of a sense of duty.

Stirring Stuff…

Hafod Eryri


“The Summit of Snowdon:  Here you are nearer to heaven”

Catchy sentiments; and maybe, but still a long way off, were my first impressions.  I think I’ll have to sit out on the theological arguments about that one!!  Later thoughts might have contemplated things along the lines of this: Climbers and walkers are among the most generously spirited folk and the camaraderie of the mountain climbing fraternity has something to offer to an often mean spirited world, perhaps a glimpse of heaven? Well, to the world of a popular (or perhaps less so) religion, I guess it is easier to have heaven as a place out of reach to even those who chose to climb an average-sized mountain.

However, the new building looks great and sits well on Yr Wyddfa, (something the old cafe never did, but I’ll miss the Guinness)

Hafod Eryri opens on June 12th weather permitting!!