Gŵyl Dewi Sant – S. David’s Day

Frodyr a Chwiorydd, byddwch lawen a chedwch eich ffydd a’ch cred, a gwnewch y pethau bychain a glywsoch a welsoch gennyf fi.
Brothers and Sisters, be joyful, keep your faith and creed, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do. 
These words are the words spoken by St David on his death-bed. As such, they represent an important distillation of his life and teaching. They are as relevant now, to us here today, as they were 1400 years ago. And I would like to go through them to see how they can still speak to us. The first command that David gives the Christian community is to be cheerful, to be joyful: just as the Psalmist encourages us to be joyful in the Lord and to serve the Lord with gladness, so as Christians we should live lives which proclaim in thought and word and deed the joy and freedom which Christ came to bring, it is through our example that the world will come to believe. To be joyful is to live as an Easter people, confident in Christ’s victory over sin and death. It is not to say that life will be difficult, but that in all things we must hold fast to the source of our joy, namely Christ.

          We are to hold fast to our faith and our creed. Throughout David’s ministry he found himself combating the heretical teachings of Pelagius, who taught that it was possible for humanity to enter into a right relationship with God through their efforts. Sin was not a problem, and the saving work of Christ wrought upon the altar of the cross was diminished by this. David fought for an Orthodox understanding of the Christian faith, the teaching he opposed was popular, but it was wrong, and for the good of people and their souls he bore witness to the truth. He was not afraid to go against the prevailing opinion when the good of people’s souls was at stake. So we should be inspired by the example and witness of David to hold fast to the faith which comes to us from the apostles, the same faith which David believed and taught. This will not be easy and certainly, given the current state of the church, it will not be popular, but it will be right.
In doing the little things which people heard and saw David do, we are reminded that for most Christians, ourselves included, it is how we live out our faith in everyday life which matters. The small acts of kindness and generosity, of Christian love and service, which we often do without thinking, are the key to putting our faith into practice. Rather than worrying about the bigger picture, or the grand gesture, we can bear witness to our faith in the ordinary humdrum mundane existence of daily life. This may not sound exciting, it may not sound terribly encouraging, but it is nonetheless still true. When we reflect upon Jesus’ ministry in the Gospels, we can see whether a lot of it happens in the context of ordinary day-to-day existence. In the miracle of the Eucharist, Jesus takes the ordinary stuff of daily life, the basic foodstuffs of bread and wine, and transforms them into his body and blood so that our souls may be fed. So as we prepare to be fed once again by him let us pray that he will also take the ordinary stuff of our lives and, through his grace, transform and transfigure them for his glory. That strengthened by him, our lives may reflect that glory, joy, and love, which is the nature of the triune God that which we hope to enjoy forever in the life to come.