Good morning. We’re celebrating our patron saint here in Wales: it’s St David’s Day, when the country really lives up to its reputation as the Land of Song. There’ll be harpists and choirs, poetry and dancing, and lots of dressing up- or at least the wearing of daffodils! And it will be fun – people will come together to eat, drink and be merry.
All that sounds a long way from the life of Saint David himself, living as a monk in West Wales in the 6th century, but actually, I think he would have rather approved of the idea of setting aside some time specifically to enjoy the company of others to share our different gifts.
One of the saint’s most famous sayings comes from his final sermon: “remember the little things”. But it’s what he said to preface those last words that interests me as much: “Be joyful”. He’s pointing to that deep inner contentment that Jesus promised.
It’s the joy that Jesus offers in his own farewell words: “I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete”. He’s offering a vision of a community bound together in love, like the tendrils of a vine. Living and growing together enables us to bear fruit.
Of course, relationships can be destructive as well as nurturing, and the challenge for those who set out to follow Jesus is to learn to live together well. It’s not easy but when we succeed in doing it, we find joy in the diversity of who we are and what we can offer one another – real foretastes of heaven.
Lord God, the giver of all good gifts: we thank you for all that brings joy into the lives of men and women, and that overflows into the lives of communities. Help us to celebrate what is good, to strive for what is better, and to put our trust in what is best of all, your generous love, so freely shared among us. Amen.