Thought for the Week, July 15 2022

Reverend Canon Simon Mackenzie, Lochgilphead Scottish Episcopal Church.

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Make love, not war

But how? Nature is being torn apart because humans are psychically torn apart.

We must urgently heal the broken shards of knowledge, spirituality, economics and love and season them with hope.

What would that look like? The medieval Welsh poet Dafydd ap Gwilym describes a
transcendent experience in a woodland, as explicit as the presence of Christ to him at Mass, and as immediate as the ecstasy and love of his golden girl. He reminds us that Holiness, Wholeness, is our vocation.

The Woodland Mass by Dafydd ap Gwilym translated by Gwyn Williams

A pleasant place I was at today,
under mantles of the worthy green hazel,
listening at day’s beginning
to the skilful cock thrush
singing a splendid englyn
of fluent signs and symbols;
a stranger here, wisdom his nature,
a brown messenger who had journeyed far,
coming from rich Carmarthenshire
at my golden girl’s command…
About him was a surplice
of flowers of the sweet boughs of May,
like green mantles, his chasuble
was of the wings of the wind.
There was here, by the great God,
nothing but gold in the altar’s canopy.
I heard, in polished language,
a long and faultless chanting,
an unhesitant reading to the people
of a Gospel without mumbling;
the elevation, on the hill for us there,
of a good leaf for a holy wafer.
Then the slim eloquent nightingale
from the corner of a grove nearby,
poetess of the valley, sings to the many
the Sanctus bell in lively whistling.
The Host is raised
up to the sky above the bush,
devotion to God the Father,
in a chalice of ecstasy and love.
The psalmody contents me;
it was bred of a birch-grove in the sweet wood.

Reverend Canon Simon Mackenzie, Lochgilphead Scottish Episcopal Church.