Sunday, March 4, 2018

Do the little things ('Gwnewch y pethau bychain')

I have truly enjoyed learning about St. David of Wales as we prepare to celebrate his feast day this Sunday. I knew a little bit before, having researched him when I was choosing the name for my first son, David. I liked what I read about St. David and chose him, and the qualities he possessed, as the patron saint for my son. How synchronistic that I find myself serving with a church for whom he is also the patron!

Here’s what I liked about St. David when I chose him as patron saint for my son: according to many sources, St. David was a gentle man who lived a simple, frugal life. Celtic spirituality was in his blood and he was deeply concerned about the care of creation, even keeping bees at some of the monasteries he opened. It is reported that David was a strict disciplinarian who required that the brothers worked hard to grow enough food to feed themselves and the poor in the neighborhoods surrounding them.

I recently read that St. David’s last words were offered in a sermon he preached days before he died. He concluded that sermon with this advice to his followers: “Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about…”

“Do the little things.” This brings two other saints immediately to mind who also preached this message: St. Thérèse de Liseaux, a.k.a. Thérèse of the Little Flower, who said, “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love” and Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said, “We cannot all do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

I can see St. David’s influence and support in the life of our church. Saint David’s in the Valley, Cullowhee, manifests a real concern for creation in the big things, e.g., how the new parish hall was built, and in the small things, like having bins for recycling and ceramic cups for wine and juice instead of paper or plastic. St. David’s, Cullowhee also bravely sticks to its faith and creed – ahead of the curve, I might add, in its intentional inclusivity of all people and its strong commitment to inclusive language in worship.

In my Parish Tour conversations I continually hear about small acts of kindness being done as part of the fabric of life here, with great love and without complaint or need for accolade. As one parishioner said, ”The relationships here are reliable. These people are here for me if I need them.” Imagine if every church lived that simple truth!

This is such a strong foundation to stand upon on as we respond to the love of God who invites us into a new season, a season which will include connecting the great love here at St. David’s to the neighbors surrounding us. As we go forward, we will remember the support we have among the communion of saints and be joyful, remember our faith and creed, missing no opportunity to do the little things we are called to do with great love.

'Gwnewch y pethau bychain.' See y’all Sunday for our patronal feast celebration!

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