Sunday, March 1, 2009

ST DAVID'S DAY


Such a celebration naturally is ignored by most of the world, but for those of us who have our ancient origins in a country called Wales that is a little bigger than Rhode Island, but not much, today is "our day."  A day to commemorate a man, a bishop called David (500-589) who by his life and personal energy invigorated the people of Wales in a way that truly shaped the character of the people.  Those people?  I mean my people.  Even me.  Today.  Upon the foundations of his 6th century monastery and church was built the great cathedral that in the Middle Ages held the unimaginable status of a place of pilgrimage where, if you went there twice, was the equivalent of making a pilgrimage to Rome itself.  David was a very special, and spiritual man.  And unlike Saint Patrick, he has a genuine historical pedigree and message.  (Such a fact really annoys the Irish, but who in the civilized world  likes to celebrate a major saint with green beer, and the faked Irish American menu of corned beef and cabbage?)  

St Davids was also the beautiful cathedral where my father was ordained,  all those years ago. And where I went to pray, as pilgrim and tourist and perhaps more.  

To mark this day we had to eat lamb, slow cooked for six hours with tomatoes, garlic, onions and red wine, with roasted vegetables, including leeks to be true to Shakespeare's Welsh image. But celebrating David, bishop and leader of people, is more than traditional food.  It is about remembering a man who, above all, listened to the people.  

So much religion today seems to be about telling people what they should, must believe. Perhaps that is why we see fewer and fewer people in church.  I really wonder.  Perhaps we should preach less, and listen a great deal more.

1 comment:

Saintly Ramblings said...

The daffodils are not yet out, and I didn't have a leek in my vegetable basket. I also searched my shelves in vain for a tin of Cock-a-leekie soup to brandish from the pulpit, but to no avail. The congregants had to make do with the Collect prayer and Intercessions for St. David's Day. Still, at least we sang hymns to Cwm Rhondda and Aberystwyth. Now there's lovely!