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Resurrection’s Children

‘Resurrection’s Children: Exploring the Way Towards God’,

A.M. Allchin was very enthusiastic about Wales and the Celtic Christian Tradition. He helped bring Traherne to greater prominence. He helped restore the shrine to Saint Melangell, at Pennant Melangell near Llangynog. In  Resurrection’s Children: Exploring the Way Towards God’ (Paperback – Cantebury Press,  1 Nov 1998), A. M. Allchin writes about Ann Griffiths; a hymn writer from Llanfihangel near Bala lake:

“She was a genius and a poet, in fact one of only two great women poets to have been acknowledged in the history of Welsh Literature. She also had great intellectual and spiritual gifts, you might call her a natural mystic. In fact, at a human level she was nearly always in company with others, and part of a united family. From her earliest days she had a leading role among women of her part of Wales. And in her youth was a leader in all kinds of exploits and the organiser of parties and evenings of dancing…”

‘Though it crosses human nature,
this perplexing path I trace,
I will travel on it calmly,
while I see your precious face;
take the cross as crown and gladly,
through oppression and dismay,
seek the city of fulfillment,
by the straight, though troubled
Way.

Photos: © Harry Matthews 2017
Photos: © Harry Matthews 2017

Way so ancient never ageing,
Way whose name is Wonderful;
ever new, without beginning,
Way which saves each dying soul;
Way my spouse and Way my sovereign,
winsome Way, as travellers tell;
Way of holiness, I travel to my rest beyond the veil.

Way the kite, so keen-eyed, misses,
though it shines with midday light,
light, invisible, untrodden,
only faith perceives the sight,
Way that justifies the godless,
where the dead have life restored;
Way of righteousness for sinners,
peace and favour with the Lord.

Way set up before creation,
then revealed to meet our need,
by the promise made in Eden
which announced the woman’s seed;
here the covenant is founded,
here the three in one’s design,
here eternal wine to cheer us,
cheer us human and divine.

O eternal rest and rapture,
when I labour here no more,
found within that sea of wonders,
where one never sees a shore;
coming in to life abundant,
where the Three in One is mine;
boundless sea to swim for ever;
One the human and divine.”

In the chapter ‘Cheerfully Towards Jerusalem’, A.M. Allchin reminds us that the tune most Welshmen sing at Rugby matches is ‘Rhondda Valley’, written by Williams Pantycelyn. ‘Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, / Pilgrim through this barren land:’

He adds, “Pantycelyn says: ‘It is not our works that is the work of redemption, but the works of Jesus Christ”: The believer is called out of herself or himself into the very life of God, by the ever-growing vision of the love of God overwhelming us with its power of attraction.’

‘Hark, the voice of my beloved,
Lo he comes to greatest need,
Leaping on the lofty mountains,
Skipping over hills with speed,
To deliver
Me, unworthy, from all woe…’

…’In thy gracious face there’s beauty
Far surpassing everything,
Found in all the earth’s great wonders
Mortal eye hath ever seen
Rose of Sharon,
Thou thyself art heaven’s delight.”

–from Eifion Evans, Pursued by God (1996)

“If here and now the beauty of your face
Causes myriads to love you,
What will your glad beauty do
There in the expanses of eternity?
The heaven of heavens
Will marvel at you ceaselessly forever.
What height will my love reach then,

What wonder will be mine,
When shall I see your glory
Perfect and full on Mount Sion?
Infinity
Of all beauties gathered into one.”

What thoughts above understanding
Shall find there within myself,
When I see that the Godhead
Perfect and pure, and I are one?
There is a bond
Which there is no language able to express.

Llyfr Emynau a Thonau, 1929.

The Harvest of understanding and good will.

Waldo Williams, lived against the grain of his times. A.M. Allchin likens Waldo’s poems to Greek Icons “of the Saints, which link people in this life with people in the world to come”. He goes on to explain that: “They give us a picture of the person concerned as seen in the light of Eternity, in the light of God’s purposes for them. This is not a detailed, chatty representation of the person. It concentrates on the person’s relationship with God.” He describes Waldo Williams as having  a total lack of convention, and an almost childlike sense of the ridiculous in life. “At the same time people saw in him a painful quality of compassion, a readiness to bear the pain of other people. These things combined to make him a man of a very special character.”

‘Do you reckon yourself one of the fools for Christ?’

‘You don’t find their race walking this earth anymore. But I should like to think of myself as one of their descendants.’

Waldo Williams

“Waldo Williams was not only a natural mystic, in the sense that he saw directly into the eternal world and glimpsed its oneness; he was also a natural mystic in the particular sense that he saw and experienced this eternal oneness in the world of nature and in the world of everyday. He had, for instance, a profound conviction of the importance of dawn-the point where night meets day–as the moment in which the eternal world draws near to the world of time. In this long ode in praise of St David, he sees the dawn of each day as the moment of Jesus’ Resurrection, the moment when life breaks out of the tomb. The morning star announces Christ’s rising, the sun itself brings it to us:”

The morning star that has such lovely power
is the angel of his great gospel,
the sun which breaks out from the fetters of the east.
Through these, everyday, God gives his youth,
kneel for his sake when he fills the dawn.”

‘Angharad’, from The Leaves of the Tree:

My brother, to me faultless,
His blessing was gentleness,
Llwyd, good night! Oh how meek,
How rich, how modest he was!
And the sap of the vine still
Flowed in him, a sure goodwill.

Open and mild among us, unlost
He carried home the harvest.
Shepherd, with his honest face,
In Rhydaman a long space
(Good steward) tried to see sense,
Bring hearts into God’s presence,
The unfailing fullness, God’s
husbandry of neighbourhood.

Photos © Harry Matthews 2017
Photos © Harry Matthews 2017

“Waldo celebrates his friend, above all…a shepherd of Christ’s people, a steward of the mysteries of God….the shepherd has been one who, by his attentiveness to all, has helped people to be open and attentive to one another….our society has so much ‘physical violence, verbal violence, economic violence, structural and institutional violence, spiritual violence…intensified by its being vividly represented in the media so that violence often dominates imaginations…David Ford stresses the irreplaceable value of gentleness in building up the life of our society.”

“Gentleness seeks to bring about that personal recognition and understanding between people…’seeking to see sense.’ It is seeking to understand one another and thus to bring the whole congregation into the harvesting of God.”

“My cry of loss on flecked floor,
Llwyd, hid bard of Allt Cilau-fawr.
On phantoms light has broken,
Its genius has left the sun.
And from his home and threshold
The dear man left Wythcae’s world-
Gave up walking the hill brim
For two yards in Rhydwilym
Oh, where’s vision, free created
A great wound is a poet’s death.
Raise our race, keep our folk hoard,
Lift your burden on us, Lord,
And for the three dear ones, turn
Mist at the ford to sunshine.”

“The mist is contrasted with the Light of God, a glimpse of the sun which breaks through the murk and the darkness bringing warmth and illumination….we find light through our darkness, light in our darkness:

Let me greet you, good soul, Glinted
Light breaks through the vale of dread.
I keep your balm for always,
Preaching, that tips summer days
To sing forever. ‘Blessed
Are the meek.’ A glitter, a glad
Preaching a nightingale’s tune-
The grove of night’s full heaven.
Your music is there. Shine, and
Spread its gift over the land.”

“May God’s light shine out, may the gift of his grace spread over the land…God’s love flowers through us when we are alive…the death-defying quality of art celebrates victory over death of the community of saints in Christ.”

Ann Griffiths says:

“I shall walk slowly all my days under the shadow of the cross, and as I walk I shall run, and as I run I shall stand still and see the peace which will be mine when I come to rest beyond the grave.’

Photos © Harry Matthews 2017

“Waldo, was a natural contemplative, one who loved to stand still and gaze into the things of eternity….Christian life is a journey-a journey through this world of space and time, but also a journey from this world into the great world which lasts forever…inwardly our lives travel far, in which the inner and outer, personal and public themes are linked together, for they were lives which, even if they wre lived on a small stage, were nonetheless lived under a public gaze. Though their daily offerings of their lives to God, both Angharad and Llwyd had arrived at a certain wholeness and maturity. This is the wholeness or integration which comes about when people are willing to bring together within themselves different aspects of human experience, and thus are able to become for the world in which they live people who in small and outwardly insignificant ways, can promote peace and reconciliation. So their lives can show us, even in this world, some corner of the light and gentleness of the world to come” –AM Allchin, ‘The Harvest of Maturity’ in Resurrection’s Children, 1998, Cantebury Press.

Harry Matthews

un poète et peintre

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