ArchiveJune 2019

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.

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