Beyond the Stillness

This was written during the RS Thomas Literary Festival
at Aberdaron, June 2017.

Ancient stones,
for centuries soaked
in the prayers,
poems and praise
of priest and people,
high and low,
rich and poor.

And here sit I,
with eyes closed,
contemplating nature’s crescendo
of light and sound.
I reflect on those distant echoes
of pilgrims’ footstep
forging their way through
to Ynys Enlli.

Is this the promised peace?

The pinnacle of Christian experience?
To retreat into wordless, sightless spirituality
existing only in the now,
the here,
the me?

Outside, mighty breakers pound the sea walls
driven by a predestined wind
which rattles and shakes
the old west door …

There is a deeper ocean
which, with its ebb and flow
of presence and promise,
beckons me to rise up,
brave the shingle,
enter the swell
and be carried,
who knows where,
on the wind and tide
of eternal love.

© 2017 Graham Oakes
St. Hywyn’s, Aberdaron.

“Your Kingdom come …”

I confess that I have succumbed to commenting recently on a couple of FaceBook posts related to the coming election. However, the national conversation as expressed on  news channels and social media depresses me deeply. I find it so difficult to discern what is true and worthy of my ‘vote’. There seem to be deep faults on all political sides and things are complicated by Brexit and the fear of an unknowable future…

As a Christian I find it hard to participate in the current debate which is so polarised and subject to reactionary and discriminatory language.  Any ‘reasonable’ or ‘faith-focused’ comment is often derided or worse.

The familiar ‘Lord’s Prayer’ contains the hope of a society which is based on love, forgiveness, compassion, truth, justice and a willingness to believe in something beyond our flawed humanity … These are values hard to detect in social and news media. And yet, the recent acts of terror have revealed an underlying goodness in the face of pain and horror …

So, this is my prayer for myself and for our society as I try to keep, what is for me, a more realistic perspective.

“Your Kingdom come, Lord.”

… in all our political confusion
and communal disorder;
our hopes and fears
maligned by half-truths,
suspect statistics and lies.

Respect disintegrates
and there is a desperate need
to win an argument, or
make an opportunistic point,
at any cost.

Anti-social media is
filled with hateful and
often obscene messages
spreading a deep and
dangerous prejudice
within and throughout
our splintered society.

Promises and oaths
are made with suspect
substance or conviction.
And yet, against the darkness
of real terror and pain,
there is the warming glow
of human compassion.

We must vote and
do so according to
our personal conscience
and understanding,
without fear or favour.

This is our heritage,
our privilege,
our responsibility.

And afterwards?

“Your Kingdom come, Lord!”
Teach us your better way …