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16/08/2019

A spiritual comment and prayer to start the day with Canon Patrick Thomas, Vicar of Christ Church in Carmarthen

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2 minutes

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Last Friday 05:43

Script:

The twentieth century Welsh-language poet, Waldo Williams, once compared living in Wales to ‘keeping house in a cloud of witnesses’. He was referring both to the country’s Christian heritage and to a verse from the Letter to the Hebrews in which the writer talks about those who have gone before us in faith.  As a young curate I attended a retreat during which a wise and holy man compared the ‘cloud of witnesses’ to the spectators at an Olympic stadium. He explained that we’re like marathon runners, stumbling into the stadium, drained and exhausted. But then suddenly the crowd is on its feet, cheering and willing us on towards the finishing line. 
That cloud of witnesses is a part of what another Welsh poet described as the ‘two-one church’ – ‘the communion of saints’ referred to in the Apostles’ Creed. It represents not only people of faith from every land and culture across the ages who are now in heaven, but also those who know, love and care for us here on earth. 
Many years ago a friend of mine, one of the last traditional clog-makers in Wales, started carving small depictions of the sixth century saints who gave their names to so many Welsh towns and villages. I’d tell him the stories or legends connected with them, and he’d then produce a little statue of each one. These now stand on the window sills of the chancel of our church in Carmarthen. They represent part of that cloud of witnesses which includes people of every nation, tribe and tongue.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for all those whose love and care for us can transcend death itself. Help us to become aware of the communion of saints – the two-one church on earth and in heaven, so that we may never feel weary or discouraged. Amen

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