Recently I had the honour of visiting the church where the poet R.S.Thomas spent time preaching. Reading through his poetry whilst immersed in the body of the whitewashed stone building where he questioned his life’s work as a minister of God put me closer to his words and their meaning.
This little blog post is not a biography, but a tribute from the heart and pen of someone who thinks she understands.
The church of Saint Hywyn in Aberdaron is a deep grey sturdy building standing solidly on the cliff. Its exterior shouts of defiance in the face of many a winter storm. Built by a people who need nothing fancy to proclaim their faith, and who do not regard humility as weakness, the church was created to endure rather than impress.
It almost didn’t endure – it was in such a state of disrepair that a new church was built in Bodernaby. However, the people came back to St Hywyn’s and the restoration work was completed.
Internally, the space is bigger than the outside suggests. Once through the big door, it envelopes the spirit in a blanket of peace. The air moves freely – it gladly gives of itself to replenish the bodies of those who enter its space. It accepts the exhalation, soothing the troubles that are breathed into its midst. Then it hands us back the same experiences, wrapped in the gift paper of detachment. We can reopen our worries and see them through the eyes of God. What or whoever you deign God to be.
How insignificant so many of our petty concerns are.
As for the bigger ones, it helps just to feel that someone – or something – has listened.