Blog yr Esgob ☩ Bishop's Blog

Esgob Bangor ☩ Andy John ☩ Bishop of Bangor

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Weekend Word

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Mae bob amser yn bleser ac yn fraint i rannu meddyliau â phobl ar ‘Weekend Word’ ar BBC Radio Wales.

Os nad oeddech yn gwrando’r bore yma, gallwch wrando yma, a sgrolio i 1:22:50 – neu gewch ddarllen y testun isod.

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It is always a pleasure and a privilege to share thoughts with people on BBC Radio Wales’ Weekend Word.

If you didn’t catch it, then you can listen here, and scroll to 1:22:50 – or read the text below.

Weekend Word,  BBC Radio Wales,  7:20am 21.06.2019

Someone recently said to me the world is divided into those who think the final episode of Game of Thrones ended well and those who don’t. Whether we fall into either of these categories or whether we’ve never seen an episode I suspect we might all be struck by Tyrion Lannister’s final speech: ‘What unites people’ he asks ‘Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. ‘There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived, who knew he’d never walk again so learned to fly…’

What’s fascinating is that the story turns the accepted order of things upside down. The frail and broken Bran huddled into his rickety wheelchair, unable to produce any offspring, is the opposite of the hero we were looking for. The elevation of this pitiful human figure to the throne isn’t the story we were expecting. At all.

We might hear resonances at this point with another intriguing figure who shares much with the frail and broken Bran. When the authorities killed Jesus they wanted to demonstrate their control and power by taking his life in as grim a manner as possible. It’s intriguing then that the cross should have become the Christian emblem, the sign of hope and joy and the heart of Christian faith. A broken body nailed to a gibbet isn’t the first place we would look for signs of triumph, power and strength.

But the gospels tell us Jesus accepted this death, even invited it. His death, like his life, fundamentally was all about inverting life’s norms so that greatness was seen in serving and success in putting others first. Some years later reflecting on this the apostle Paul said ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ 

It’s the same upside down, inside out thinking which seeks to redefine power not as the exercise of strength and control but as service and giving.

We now know that one of two people will almost certainly become the next Prime Minister. Appeals made, hustings done, votes cast there is now a choice to be made. But wouldn’t it be an extraordinary story if future success was marked less by grand acts, extravagant promises and a way of seeing life through the lens of power and control but more through an honesty which acknowledges weakness, values service and places human dignity at the heart of national life. Then, perhaps, we might we understand what it means to have a story like Bran’s, who fell from a tower and lived, who knew he’d never walk again so learned to fly.

Arloesi ☩ Pioneer

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Roedd yn dda i fod yn rhan o Lais 19, Cynhadledd ar Weinidogaeth Arloesol, a drefnwyd gan Athrofa Padarn Sant ar gyfer Gweinidogion Arloesi o bob cwr o Gymru.

Roedd Jonny Baker, Cyfarwyddwr Addysg Genhadol Cymdeithas Genhadaeth yr Eglwys – sy’n goruchwylio eu hyfforddiant ar gyfer Gweinidogaeth Arloesol – hefyd yn y gynhadledd i hyrwyddo ein Gweinidogion Arloesi i fyfyrio ar eu gweinidogaethau a’u llais.

Cymerais y cyfle i siarad ag o.


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It was good to be part of the Llais 2019 Pioneer Ministry Conference, organised by St. Padarn’s Institute for Pioneer Ministers from around Wales.


Jonny Baker, the Director of Mission Education for the Church Mission Society – who oversees their Pioneer Ministry training – was also at the conference to help our Pioneer Ministers reflect on their ministries and voice.


I took the opportunity to talk to him.

Y Gair B ☩ The B Word

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Neges Pasg Ysgrifenedig 2019

Beth bynnag a ddaw o drafodaethau Brexit yn San Steffan a llefydd eraill, mae un peth sy’n llawer mwy amlwg na chanlyniad hyn i gyd: mae’r hyn oll wedi bod yn anodd iawn inni fel cenedl ac fel gwledydd. Nid yn gymaint ai peth da ai peidio ydy Brexit yn unig ond ein bod, fel gwladwriaeth, wedi bod yn fwy rhanedig nag unrhyw gyfnod arall dros y 70 mlynedd ddiwethaf. Mae safon y drafodaeth gyhoeddus wedi dirywio, mae lefel yr ymddiriedaeth yn ein gwleidyddion a’n sefydliadau wedi’i danseilio ac mae maint y gagendor wedi arwain at normaleiddio ideolegau brawychus o ffiaidd. Does ond rhaid edrych ar y digwyddiadau erchyll yn Seland Newydd i sylweddoli beth all ddigwydd pan fo casineb yn cael pen rhyddid.  

Mae’r Beibl yn gwbl ddigyfaddawd yn ei gondemniad o’r math yma o elyniaeth. Mae geiriau megis ‘drygioni’ neu ‘dieflig’ bellach wedi colli llawer o ddyfnder eu hystyr blaenorol, ond dim o’u perthnasedd. Mae’n hen bryd adfer defnydd iaith a geiriau sy’n crisialu difrifoldeb gweithredoedd ofnadwy y ddynoliaeth, os ydyn ni am adfer parch a gwerth unigolion tuag at ei gilydd.

Fodd bynnag, dwi’n amau bod angen llawer mwy nag adfer syniadau erbyn hyn: mae angen newid calonnau a meddyliau. Nid darn o hanes yn unig ydy atgyfodiad Iesu, mae’n delio gyda’r modd mae Iesu Grist yn dod wyneb yn wyneb â ninnau rŵan, yma, heddiw. Mae’r cyfarfyddiad yma’n agor y drws i ffordd ragorach o fod yn fod dynol, lle gwelir posibiliadau trawsnewid perthynas a chydberthynas a dull llai hunanfeddiannol o fyw.

Dros y misoedd diwethaf, fe fûm yn dechrau ymweld â rhai o ffynhonnau sanctaidd hynafol yr esgobaeth – mannau lle bu pobl yn cyfarfod ac yn ceisio iachâd ers talwm. Mae gordyfiant wedi hen guddio llawer ohonyn nhw bellach nes eu bron â mynd yn angof. Fe’m hatgoffwyd am un o’r straeon llai adnabyddus yn y Beibl lle bu un o arweinwyr cynnar pobl Dduw’n ailagor ffynhonnau dŵr yfed a fu ynghau cyhyd. Diben y stori ydy dangos pa mor rhwydd mae colli ffynonellau dwfn bywyd ond bod modd eu hadfer eto.

Does dim modd inni allu troi’r cloc yn ôl i gyfnod cyn Brexit, ond fe allwn ni ail-gydio yn yr hyn sy’n ddwfn, yn fywiol ac â’r gallu i’n cynnal ninnau a’n cymunedau mewn cariad a pharch. Yn y bôn, medrwn ail-ymweld â’r gallu sydd gan Grist i wneud popeth yn newydd ac yn ein galluogi i greu cydberthnasau newydd a gwell sy’n dal ac yn ffynnu. Dyma rym a rhodd y Pasg a’r Crist atgyfodedig i ni.

+Andrew Bangor

Easter Written Message 2019

Whatever the outcome of the Brexit discussions in Parliament and elsewhere, one thing is a great deal clearer than that outcome: this has been difficult for us as a nation. It isn’t just a question of whether Brexit is a good thing or not but that as a country we are more divided than at any time in the last 70 years. The level of public discourse has eroded, the level of trust in politicians and institutions has diminished and the silos of difference have led to horrible ideologies being normalized. We have only to recall the terrible events in New Zealand to see what happens when hatred is allowed to flourish.

The Bible is uncompromising in its condemnation of this kind of hostility. The word ‘evil’ has lost a good deal of its former strength but none of its relevance. Reclaiming a language which captures the gravity of dreadful human action seems to me long overdue if we are to value and respect one another.

However, I suspect we need a great deal more than reclaimed ideas at this point: we need new hearts and minds. The resurrection of Jesus is not just a piece of history, it’s about the way Jesus Christ encounters us now. This encounter opens the door to a better way of being human where relationships are capable of transformation and a less self-centred way of living becomes possible.

In recent months I have begun exploring some of the ancient holy wells in the Diocese (of Bangor) – places of former gathering and healing. Many of them are now overgrown and in danger of being lost. I was reminded of one of the less well-known stories of the Bible where an early leader of God’s people reopens drinking wells which had long been closed. The point of the story is that deep sources of life are easily lost but can still be reclaimed.

We cannot press rewind to a time before Brexit but we can revisit what is deep, life giving and capable of sustaining us and our communities in love and respect. In short, we can revisit how Christ makes everything new and enables new and better relationships to flourish. This is the power and gift of Easter and the risen Christ for us.

+Andrew Bangor

Cod a Cherdda

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Dyma fy Neges Fideo’r Pasg ar gyfer 2019.

Roedd yn bleser siarad â Jonno Jones am ei ffydd ers iddo ddod yn weddw, yn ogystal ag ymweld â Phont ar Fynach, Abergeirw ger Trawsfynydd – safle bedd Cristion cynnar – lle’r oeddwn yn adfyfyrio ar beth mae bedd gwag Iesu yn ei olygu i ni wrth i ni ddathlu Pasg eleni.

Gobeithio y byddwch yn mwynhau’r fideo hwn a dymunaf fendithion a llawenydd i chi’r Pasg hwn.

Rise Up and Walk!

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This is my video Easter Message for 2019.

It was a pleasure to talk to Jonno Jones about his faith since becoming widowed, as well as visiting Pont ar Fynach, Abergeirw near Trawsfynydd – the site of an early Christian grave – where I wondered what Jesus’ empty grave means for us as we celebrate Easter this year.

I hope you enjoy it and wish you peace and joy this Easter.

Pregeth Offeren Crism ☩ Chrism Eucharist Sermon

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Mobile? English? Scroll ⬇️

Cadeirlan Bangor
Dydd Llun Ebrill 15, 2019
Mathew 20:20-28

Er nad ydy’r awch am rym, bri a safle yn bechod sy’n neilltuol i grefydd, dydy o ddim ‘chwaith yn un newydd. Ddylen ni ddim â synnu ei ganfod, felly, yn y stori a glywson ni yn yr efengyl heddiw ym Mathew 20. Er bod ychydig o amrywiaethau, mae’r achlysur yn gyffredin i’r efengylau synoptig, dim ond bod y lleoliadau’n wahanol.

Heddiw, dwi am inni wneud ychydig o astudiaeth Feiblaidd, rhywfaint o waith testun. Dwi hefyd am inni chwilio a thaflu goleuni ar arwyddocâd deinamig y groes/yr atgyfodiad er mwyn deall eto ein tasgau fel gweinidogion yng ngoleuni hyn. Ond yn bennaf oll, dwi am inni glywed eto galwad Crist, y Croeshoeliedig Un, i gamu ‘mlaen yn bellach a phellach ar hyd taith y bywyd hwn sydd ganddo ar ein cyfer.

Ac felly at y testun. Mae Luc yn cynnwys y stori hon neu rywbeth tebyg iawn yn Luc 22:24f ond yn gosod y cyd-destun am yr alwad i wasanaethu o fewn y Swper Olaf, a newid y drefn rhyw ychydig. I Luc, mae’r Swper Olaf yn y bôn am y ffordd y bu Crist yn gwasanaethu ei ddisgyblion trwy eu caru a’ gweini arnyn nhw. A dim ond pan ddaw’r math hwn o wasanaethu mewn cariad yn rhan annatod o’n dilladu mewnol y caiff y dasg o’n blaenau o gyflwyno’r Deyrnas i’r holl bobl ei chyflawni. ‘Cymwynaswyr’ ydy’r Cenhedloedd, sy’n ymarfer rhyw fath o ymddiriedolaeth haelfrydig dros y bobloedd, ond gan sicrhau rheolaeth ac awdurdod bob amser. Ond mae ffocws a bwriad i wasanaethu’r Deyrnas. Nid ffug-garedigwrydd gwag a goddefol mo hyn. Ac mae’r dewis p’un ai ein bod yn bwyta ac yfed yn y Deyrnas yn dibynnu ar p’un ai bod hynny wedi’i blethu’n ddwfn i wead ein heneidiau yn hytrach nag addurn, swyddogaeth neu berfformiad arwynebol.  

Mae Marc bron yn ddrych i Mathew, heblaw am gynnwys mam y bachgen i lefaru. Does dim modd dweud ai manylyn ydy hwn sydd wedi’i gynnwys er mwyn arbed y bechgyn rhag cywilydd llwyr, ond mae Ioan yn cofnodi mai rhyw fath o eiriolwr oedd mam Iesu hefyd (Ioan 2), felly efallai bod merched pwerus wedi bod yn rhan o’r hanes a’r traddodiad yn hirach nag ydyn ni’n barod i gyfaddef.   

Y farn radical, ryddfrydol ar y stori ydy mai stori ddychmygol ydy h: er mwyn cyflwyno rhyw sicrwydd neu gysur i’r Cristnogion cynnar pan fo rhai o’r cymeriadau amlwg yn cael eu lladd neu’u carcharu (doedd hyn ddim yn y sgript), y byddai eu dioddefaint yn dwyn i gof geiriau proffwydol Iesu: bod y pethau hyn yn mynd i ddigwydd o hyd oherwydd i’r Arglwydd ragweld hyn.

Ond, yn fy meddwl i, cofnod mwy trawiadol ydy’r ffordd roedd Iesu’n deall y Deyrnas ac yn addysgu amdani’n rheolaidd. Mae’r Cenhedloedd yn awdurdodi dros eraill (y gair Groeg amdano ydy ‘Kupienier’), nid fel ffordd o gamddefnyddio grym ond am nad ydyn nhw’n adnabod gwir natur bywyd yn Nheyrnas Dduw: yma braint a mawredd ydy gwasanaethu, i ennill mae’n rhaid colli, i hawlio mae’n rhaid fforffedu.

Mae yfed y gwpan a yfodd Crist yn golygu ei ddilyn i Galfaria. Dim ond yno mae bywyd, a hynny yn ei lawnder, i’w gael.

Ac wrth gwrs, y gwas dioddefus sy’n dweud y pethau hyn. Fo ydy’r athro a’r ymarferydd fel ei gilydd. Yn yr Hen Destament, roedd y gair ‘cwpan (ad.22) bron bob amser yn dynodi llid a barn ddwyfol  – yfai gelynion Duw pob diferyn o gwpan cymysgedd ei ddicter (Salm 75:8)ac yn Eseia (51:17) hefyd, cwpan barn ac nid gwin sy’n achosi dynion i feddwi. Ond NID cwpan llid a dicter gawn ni yma, yn hytrach cariad, gwasanaeth a dioddefaint. Mae yfed y gwpan a yfodd Crist yn golygu ei ddilyn i Galfaria. Dim ond yno mae bywyd, a hynny yn ei lawnder, i’w gael.

Does dim modd cael atgyfodiad heb groes a Chalfaria. Fe’n galwyd, yn wastadol, i gofleidio’r deinamig rhyfeddol hwn o farw gyda Fo er mwyn inni gael byw gyda Fo hefyd.

Hoffwn dro i annerch fy nghydweithwyr ordeiniedig a thrwyddedig rŵan, os ga i? Rydyn ni’n wynebu heriau sylweddol o’n blaenau fel eglwys, ond mae un peth yn glir, er efallai ddim mor hawdd i’w ddygymod. Hynny ydy, bod Crist wedi’n galw ni fel Eglwys i ddioddef. Does dim modd cael Crist Dioddefus heb fod Corff Crist, ei Eglwys, yn dioddef. Does dim modd cael atgyfodiad heb groes a Chalfaria. Fe’n galwyd, yn wastadol, i gofleidio’r deinamig rhyfeddol hwn o farw gyda Fo er mwyn inni gael byw gyda Fo hefyd. Ac fe hoffwn roi ambell awgrym o’r modd y bydd rhaid i hyn amlygu’i hyn yn ein gweinidogaeth.

Fe wyddoch i gyd ein bod wedi’n hymrwymo i sawl cynllun efengylu uchelgeisiol o fewn i’r esgobaeth:

  • rydyn ni wedi ymrwymo i ailgysylltu’r llwybrau a’r mannau hynafol – ffyrdd y pererinion gynt – gyda’r efengyl, er mwyn galluogi’r rhai hynny sy’n cyrraedd, deimlo presenoldeb Duw.
  • Rydyn ni wedi cytuno i blannu cymuned Gymraeg i ddisgyblion newydd, gyda’r gallu i greu gweinidogion newydd a chymhathu modd newydd o fod yn Gymry ifanc Cristnogol yn yr 21ain ganrif.
  • Rydyn ni hefyd wedi addo cefnogi 5 prosiect mentregar fydd â’r gallu i adael i eglwys newydd dyfu o’u mewn.

Mae bywyd go iawn yn gofyn ffydd go iawn. Ac fe ddaw bendith go iawn a gras gan Grist, er a thrwy ei gleisiau, eto’n fyw.

Ond er mor gyffrous ydy’r rhain (ac ydyn wir, maen nhw), yr hyn a fu ac a fydd yn trawsnewid bywydau ydy Crist, Croeshoeliedig ac Atgyfodedig, yn cynnig newyddion da trwy eraill. Ni ddaw bendith i’n Hardaloedd Gweinidogaeth, hyd yn oed gyda’r holl fuddsoddiad yma oni bai bod ein heglwysi’n byw y bywyd croeshoeliedig ac atgyfodedig. Mae Alffa’n gweithio, nid pan fo’r mân ddanteithion yn flasus, ond pan fo bywydau go iawn, wedi’u hail-ffurfio a’u hail-fowldio, hyd yn oed yn awr, yn adlewyrchu delwedd Achubwr y Groes a’r Bedd Gwag. Mae bywyd go iawn yn gofyn ffydd go iawn. Ac fe ddaw bendith go iawn a gras gan Grist, er a thrwy ei gleisiau, eto’n fyw.

Mae’n demtasiwn oesol i barhau i lusgo. Rhaid inni ymwrthod â hyn, gan mod i’n sicr y bydd Crist yn ein bendithio.

Mae heriau hefyd yn ein hwynebu ynghylch ein hadeiladau. Ac mae ffordd o ddisgrifio hyn gwahanu’r dasg oddi wrth ein cenhadaeth graidd, fel tase dim dolen-gyswllt rhwng adeiladau a ffydd. Fe welwyd sawl mynegiant newydd, hyfryd o eglwys, a honno’n eglwys atgyfodedig, wedi darfod yr hen un. Ac rydyn ni wedi bod yn dystion i boen, ofn, amheuaeth, gwewyr a dicter yn wyneb sôn am golli adeilad y buddsoddwyd cymaint ynddo. Mae penderfyniadau ynglŷn â brics a mortar, heblaw am y deinamig ysbrydol, yn allweddol. Chawn ni fyth brofi bywyd heb allu gosod o’r neilltu yr hyn sy’n marweiddio neu eisoes yn farw gorn. Gweithredoedd dewr o ofal ac amynedd ydy’r rhain ac mae rhaid eu hymarfer yn dda yma, ond rydw i’n sicr, fel y bu’n wir erioed, mai trwy brofi marwolaeth y gallwn brofi bywyd. Mae’n demtasiwn oesol i barhau i lusgo. Rhaid inni ymwrthod â hyn, gan mod i’n sicr y bydd Crist yn ein bendithio.

Argyhoeddiad Paul oedd mai yma, ym marwolaeth Crist, y mae grym Duw

Dewch imi rŵan droi at annerch pob yr un ohonon ni sydd yma heddiw, frodyr a chwiorydd yng Nghrist. Dyma ni ar ddechrau Wythnos y Pasg ac yma yng Nghymun yr Eneinio (neu’r Crism, lle y’n gwahoddir ni i ystyried unwaith eto’r gwas dioddefus. Dylai’r hyn mae hwn yn ei olygu fod yn bennaf ac yn flaenaf yn ein meddyliau ar hyn o bryd, gan mai yma fe’n tywysir ni at wraidd calon yr Efengyl a dirgelwch cariad Duw: nid marchog glew ar gefn ceffyl sy’n ein hebrwng ond dyn clwyfedig, toredig yn gwisgo archollion y ddynoliaeth arno. I’r Cristnogion cynnar, roedd hyn yn ddatguddiad chwyldroadol. Fe ddarllenwn yn llythyr Paul at y Galatiaid bod y groes yn wrthun i Iddewon gan fod marw ar bren yn gyfystyr â melltith (Gal. 3:13).

Os oedd hyn yn wrthun i rai, i eraill roedd yn gwbl hurt. Doedd gostyngeiddrwydd ddim yn rhinwedd ym myd Cenhedloedd yr henfyd. Gwawdiwyd gwendid – fe’i hystyriwyd yn beth israddol, pathetig a’r gwarth eithaf oedd methiant. Ond i’r rhai sy’n credu, mae Crist, y Melltigedig Un, yn ein hadfer o’n dieithrwch, gan ein harwain at Dduw. Argyhoeddiad Paul oedd mai yma, ym marwolaeth Crist, y mae grym Duw (1 Cor. 1:18).

Onid ein llawenydd ninnau (o aralleirio hen weddi o wahoddiad) yr wythnos hon ydy mynd eto hyd yn oed i Jerwsalem a gweld y peth yma sydd wedi digwydd? Y Crist yn marw ar groes, gan waedu’n ddiymgeledd, ein Ceidwad a’n Iachawdwr gwerthfawr? Onid oes angen i’n cyrff llesg a’n heneidiau gwag, poenus gael gwybod am y peth rhyfeddol hwn eto fyth? Dyma’r lle mae ein hiachawdwriaeth lawn – Yntau’n marw fel na bo raid inni farw eto.

Dewch imi ofyn i bob yr un ohonoch – a fuoch chi’n diffygio ers amser maith? Wedi’ch trethu a’ch trechu wrth geisio cyfarfod ag anghenion, galwadau a gofyniadau eraill? Ydych chi wedi dod i ben tennyn o ran rhoi a’r teimlad eich bod wedi’ch parlysu? Dyma’r dydd i chi. Syllwch a darganfyddwch y dyn rhyfeddol hwn unwaith eto, gweld o’r newydd ddyfnderoedd y cariad dwyfol, a gwybod iddo ddioddef drosoch chi a sefyll yn eich lle.

Dewch at Iesu Grist, at gwpan, nid o lid, ond sydd wedi’i felysu â maddeuant a gras.

Dewch imi droi at eiriau o wahoddiad. Dewch fel ag yr ydych at y bwrdd sanctaidd hwn. Nid oherwydd bod rhaid ichi ond yn hytrach oherwydd eich bod yn cael dod, a’ch bod yn gwybod eich angen tragwyddol am fywyd a llawenydd cynhaliol. Dewch at y bara a’r gwin. Dewch at Dduw’r gwas Croeshoeliedig sy’n eich arwain o farwolaeth i fywyd. Nid braint a mawredd mae’n eu cynnig. Ond ynddo Fo fe geir bywyd helaeth, rhyfeddol. Dewch at Iesu Grist, at gwpan, nid o lid, ond sydd wedi’i felysu â maddeuant a gras. Dewch i gyfarfod â’r gwas, yr Un sy’n gwasanaethu, y Brenin Tlawd.

Amen.


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Bangor Cathedral,
Monday 15 April, 2019
Matthew 20:20-28

Although the thirst for power, prestige and position is not an especially religious sin neither is it a new one. We shouldn’t be surprised to find it therefore in the story we heard in the gospel for today from Matthew 20. Although there a couple of variations, the occasion is common to all the synoptic gospels if differently located.

Today I want us to do some Bible study, some textual work. I also want us to draw out the significance of the cross/resurrection dynamic to understand again our tasks as ministers in the light of this. But most of all I want us to hear again the call of Christ, the Crucified One to go further on and further into the life He has for us.

So to the text. Luke includes this story or something very like it in Luke 22:24f, but places the context for the call to serve inside the Last Supper and he inverts the order a little. For Luke the Last Supper is fundamentally about the way Christ served his disciples in loving and serving them. And the task ahead of taking the Kingdom to all people will only be accomplished when this kind of loving service becomes our inner clothing. The Gentiles are ‘benefactors’, exercising a kind of benevolent trusteeship over the masses always retaining control and authority. But Kingdom service is focused and intentional. It is not a passive or empty kindness. And whether we eat and drink in the Kingdom rests on whether this has been folded deeply within our souls rather than an adornment, a function or a performance.

Mark is all but identical to Matthew save Matthew’s inclusion of the boy’s mother as mouthpiece. Whether this is a detail that is included to save the boys from complete ignominy we cannot say but John records how Jesus mother was a kind of advocate too (John 2) so perhaps powerful women have been a part of the story and tradition far longer than we care to admit.

The radical liberal view of the story is that it is pure invention: in order to provide some re-assurance to the early Christians when key figures were either killed or jailed (this wasn’t in the script), their suffering was read back into the prophetic words of Jesus: these things were always going to happen because the Lord has seen and foretold it.

But a more compelling account in my view is the way Jesus understood and consistently taught about the Kingdom. The Gentiles lord it over others (the Greek is ‘Kupienier’) not as an abuse of power but because they do not know the true nature of life in the Kingdom of God: here greatness is service, to win we must lose, to claim we must forfeit.

To drink the cup Christ drinks is to follow him to Calvary. Only here can there be life in all its fullness.

And it is of course the suffering servant who says these things. He is both teacher and practitioner. In the Old Testament the language of ‘cup’ (vs 22) almost always signified divine wrath and judgment – the enemies of God drank to the dregs the mixed cup of his anger (Psalm 75:8) and so too in Isaiah (51:17) it is the cup of judgment not wine which causes men to stagger. But here it is NOT the cup of wrath and anger but of love, service and suffering. To drink the cup Christ drinks is to follow him to Calvary. Only here can there be life in all its fullness.

There cannot be resurrection life without cross and Calvary. We are called, always, to embrace this extraordinary dynamic of dying with him that we may live with him too.

I want to address my ordained and licensed colleagues at this point, if I may? We face significant challenges ahead as a church but one thing is clear, even if unpacking it is less easy. And that is that Christ has called us as a Church to suffer. There cannot be a Suffering Christ and no suffering Body of Christ, His church. There cannot be resurrection life without cross and Calvary. We are called, always, to embrace this extraordinary dynamic of dying with him that we may live with him too. And I want to give you some pointers about how this must work itself out in our ministry.

You will all know that we are now committed to some ambitious plans for evangelism in the diocese:

  • we have committed to reconnecting the ancient paths and places – pilgrim ways with the gospel so that those who arrive may encounter God.
  • We have agreed to plant a new Welsh speaking community for new disciples with the capacity to create new ministers and to embrace a different way of being a 21st century young Welsh Christian.
  • We have also said we will support 5 entrepreneurial projects that can allow new church to grow within them.

Real life invites real faith. And real blessing and grace comes from a real Christ, bruised and alive.

But, exciting as these things are (and they really are) what will transform lives has always been the Christ, Crucified and Risen offering good news through others. Our Ministry Areas will not know blessing even with all this kind of investment unless our churches live the crucified and risen life. Alpha works not when the snacks are tasty but when real lives, reformed and reshaped, even now, reflect the image of a Crucified and Risen Saviour. Real life invites real faith. And real blessing and grace comes from a real Christ, bruised and alive.

Our temptation is to prolong. We must resist this temptation. And Christ I know will bless us.

We also face challenges relating to our buildings. And there’s a way of describing this which separates the task from our core mission as though buildings and faith have no connection. We have seen some quite beautiful new church, resurrection church, when the old has died. And we have also witnessed pain, fear, apprehension, grief and anger at the prospect of losing a building in which so much has been invested. Decisions about roof and mortar aside the spiritual dynamic is pivotal. We will not know life if we cannot lay down what is dying or dead. There are acts of courage, care and patience which need to be well practiced here but I am certain that, as has always been true, it is in experiencing death that we are able to experience life. Our temptation is to prolong. We must resist this temptation. And Christ I know will bless us.

Paul’s conviction was that here in the death of Christ, is the power of God

Let me now address each of us here today, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are at the start of Holy Week and here in this Chrism Eucharist, we are invited to consider again the suffering servant. And what this means must be our supreme concern at this moment. Because here we are taken to the very heart of the Gospel and the mystery of God’s love: there is no Knight in shining armour to encounter but a speared, broken and wounded man. For the first Christians this was seminal. We read in Paul’s letter to the Galatians that the cross was an offence to Jews because to die on the tree was to be cursed (Gal. 3:13). 

If this was offensive to some it was ridiculous to others. Humility in the ancient Gentile world was not a virtue. Weakness was disdainful. To be weak was denigrating and pathetic and failure was the ultimately degradation. But for those who believe, Christ the Cursed One redeems us from alienation and brings us to God. Paul’s conviction was that here in the death of Christ, is the power of God (1 Cor. 1:18).

Isn’t it our joy (forgive the reworking of an old bidding prayer) this week to go again even unto Jerusalem and see this thing that has come to pass? The Christ dying on a cross, bleeding helplessly, our precious Saviour and Redeemer? Don’t our tired eyes and aching, empty souls need to know again this extraordinary thing? Here is our full salvation, He dies that we might die no more.

May I ask you, each and every one whether you have been running for too long on empty? On the needs, demands, meetings and needs of others? Are you spent on giving and reduced to a kind of paralysis? This day is for you. To behold the man once more, to see the depths of divine love, to know that he suffered for you and stood in your stead.

Come to the Crucified servant God who leads you from death to life. He does not offer privilege not prestige. But in Him there is wonderful abundant life

Let me turn words to invitation. Come as you are to this holy table. Not because you must but because you may and know your everlasting need of life and sustaining joy. Come to bread and wine. Come to the Crucified servant God who leads you from death to life. He does not offer privilege not prestige. But in Him there is wonderful abundant life. Come to Jesus Christ, to a cup not of wrath but sweetened by forgiveness and grace. Come meet the Servant Lord.

Amen.

Digwyddiadau Bywyd ☩ Life Events

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Yn gynharach y mis hwn (Mawrth 2019) daeth y Parchedig Ddr Sandra Millar o dîm Digwyddiadau Bywyd Eglwys Loegr i arwain diwrnod hyfforddi yn yr Esgobaeth.

Manteisiais ar y cyfle i ofyn iddi am Fedyddiadau, Priodasau ac Angladdau, a sut rydym yn dod o hyd at ffyrdd yn ein Hardaloedd Gweinidogaeth i wneud y gorau o’r fraint a’r rhodd o fod ochr yn ochr â phobl ar yr achlysuron arbennig hyn.

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Earlier this month (March 2019) the Rev’d Dr Sandra Millar from the Church of England’s Life Events team came to lead a training day in the Diocese.

I took the opportunity to ask her about Christenings, Marriages and Funerals, and how we find ways in our Ministry Areas to make the most of the privilege and gift of being alongside people at these special occasions.

Haelioni a gwaddol y Grawys : cyflwyniad

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Dilyn Grawys

Dilyn Grawys wrth iddo ddechrau'r wythnos hon, gyda'n cwrs cyntaf i Gymru gyfan. Byddwn yn archwilio ffydd a dyfnhau ein hysbrydolrwydd yn y chwe wythnos sy'n arwain at y Pasg.Gwyliwch Esgob Bangor, Andy John, bob wythnos wrth iddo edrych ar sut mae haelioni ac etifeddiaeth yn effeithio ar ein bywydau bob dydd, a lawrlwythwch y cwrs cyfan o'n gwefan yn cym.eglwysyngnghymru.org.ukYn y ffilm heddiw, mae'r Esgob Andy yn cyflwyno'r cwrs.

Posted by The Church in Wales on Wednesday, 6 March 2019
gyda fi, Esgob Bangor!


Generosity and the inheritance of Lent : an introduction

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Follow Lent

Follow Lent, as it starts this week, with our first all-Wales course. We'll be exploring faith and deepening our spirituality in the six weeks leading up to Easter. Watch the Bishop of Bangor each week as he explores how generosity and inheritance affect our daily lives and download the full course from our website at churchinwales.org.ukIn today's film, the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies, introduces the course.

Posted by The Church in Wales on Thursday, 28 February 2019
by the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies

Grawys 2019 Lent

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Bu’r Grawys yn gyfnod ar gyfer hunanymholiad ers y dyddiau cynharaf o fywyd Cristnogol. Mae rhan o hyn wedi cynnwys rhai disgyblaethau megis ymprydio.

Yn ystod y Grawys, rwy’n bwriadu ymprydio ar ddydd Sadwrn fel rhan o dynnu’n agosach at Grist ac i adnewyddu fy nibyniaeth arno. Nid ydym yn byw ar fara yn unig.

Os ydych chi’n teimlo y gallwch naill ai ymuno â mi neu ddod o hyd i ddiwrnod arall neu ryw ddisgyblaeth arall sy’n cynnig rhywbeth tebyg i chi, gwnewch hynny. Boed i Grist fod yn gymorth i chwi oll.



Haelioni a Gwaddol y Grawys yw teitl llyfr y Grawys eleni sydd wedi’i gomisiynu gan grŵp stiwardiaeth y Dalaith GenRus a’i baratoi gan y Parchedig Janet Fletcher.

Defnyddiwch hi a gweddïaf bydd y llyfr hwn yn ein helpu ni i gyd i ddod yn agosach at Dduw yn ystod y Grawys eleni.


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Lent has been a period for self examination since the earliest days of Christian life. Part of this has involved certain disciplines such as fasting.


During Lent, I intend to fast on Saturdays as a part of drawing nearer to Christ and renewing my dependence on Him. We do not live by bread alone.


If you feel able to either join me or find an alternative day or some other discipline that offers you something similar, please do fulfil it. May Christ be your strength and stay.
 



Generosity and the Inheritance of Lent is the title of this year’s Lent book which has commissioned by the Province’s GenRus stewardship group and prepared by Rev’d Janet Fletcher.

Please do use this book and I pray that it will help us all come closer to God during this Lent.

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