Welsh Poppies for a Bright Future

welshpoppyThere is a lovely book by Palestinian Melchite Priest Elias Chacour.  It documents his struggle to live in the occupied territories of Palestine.  It is titled, ‘We belong to the Land’.  He writes about the passage you have just heard from Matthew’s Gospel: Blessed are those… Gwyn eu Byd y rhai…  This phrase in English ac yn y Gymraeg, is passive.  It appears to require no action on the part of the one who is called Blessed.  However, Chacour tells us that the Aramaic word Jesus may well have used, (and it certainly wasn’t English or Welsh!) was an active word, demanding action.  So an alternative translation of this passage might be:  Get up, do something, you who mourn and in your actions you will find comfort.  Peacemakers are called into action.  The poor in spirit and the meek are challenged to change their own futures by active work for the kingdom.  In showing mercy, it will be returned to us tenfold.  Get up, do something you who are persecuted and the kingdom of heaven will come close to you.  I find this an engaging way to read the passage, however, I am left with the question: What then are we to do, what action are we to take?  Therein lies our choice.  If you read the book by Chacour you will learn what he and his community did to confront their persecution.  I would like to say too for us here in Wales: We belong to the Land.  This is not, by the way, ‘The land belongs to us’, for that is a wholly different statement.  So for remembrance this year I want to offer you something from our Land.  I was once offered some of these Wild Welsh Poppy seeds.  I Took the seeds, and scattered them around the borders of a garden.  I soon found that they grow anywhere.  Through a crack in concrete, pushing up between shrubs, under a log pile where the suns warmth barely registers.  They are Hardy, Reliable, Resilient and, so I’m told, Welsh.  The old story of two wolves fighting was resurrected once again this year in the Disney film ‘TomorrowLand’ you’ll have to forgive the title and the slightly yesteryear performance from George Clooney, but it is worth a look.  You could even watch last night’s episode of Doctor Who for roughly the same effect!  The story is of a fight between two wolves. One: anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other: joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.  The question is: Which wolf will win the fight? The answer is of course:  The one you feed.  The same is true for us today.  We have that choice.  Which wolf do we feed?  What action will we take?  Do we feed our fears, our hate, our anger or do we feed humility, kindness, empathy, generosity.  For me these Welsh poppies are a symbol of joy and of peace, of hope in dark places, of humility and faith.  I’ll sow these seeds to feed the joy as I watch them grow against all the odds.  I know that as each one flowers, more seeds will be born.  Flower by flower we can take away that which drives our fears and leads us towards a path of peace.  So I offer you a packet of seeds, to feed the hope that germination might bring.

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