The Coming


Mae ‘The Coming‘, gan y Cymro R.S. Thomas – a oedd yn fardd ac offeiriad – yn drosiad dwfn o ymgnawdoliad Iesu, ac eto mae’n siarad â’n sefyllfa ni heddiw.

Yn y gerdd mae’r geiriau’n creu cymysgedd gref o liwiau gweledol i adrodd stori Iesu’n dod yn un ohonom ni.

Fel llawer o’n carolau plygain Cymreig, sy’n cyfeirio at ddigwyddiadau Dydd Gwener y Groglith gymaint â Dydd Nadolig, mae’r gerdd yn cynnig delwedd o’r Groes fel coeden foel ar Galfaria.

Wrth ddychmygu’r berthynas rhwng Duw Dad a Duw’r Mab, mae’r gerdd yn sôn am anghyfannedd, poen ac awydd Iesu i ddod i’n hachub ni, bobl Dduw.

Rwy’n gweddïo bydd y gerdd hon yn siarad â chi, fel y mae i mi.

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The Coming, by the Welsh preist-poet, R.S. Thomas, is a profound rendering of the incarnation of Jesus, yet it speaks of our situation today.

It is a poem whose words create a strong mix of visual colour to tell the story of Jesus becoming one of us.

Like many of our Welsh plygain carols, which refer to the events of Good Friday as much as Christmas Day, the poem offers an image of the Cross as a bare tree on Calvary.

In imagining the relationship between God the Father and God the Son, the poem speaks of desolation, pain and Jesus desire to come to save us, God’s people.

I pray that this poem speaks to you, as it does to me.

Weekend Word


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.

Y Gair B ☩ The B Word


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

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