Monday, 15 August 2011

RS Thomas

Yours truly enjoyed last night's evening service at Wellington Church, led by my colleague David Sinclair. His subject was the Welsh poet RS Thomas whose work has provoked, challenged, stimulated, moved and annoyed me for years. It was good to hear the poems read aloud with comments and biographical background. It was also striking to hear these in the context of worship, alongside scripture, with prayer and the sacrament of communion.

David reflected gently on Thomas's well-known personal awkwardness. This made me wonder. As preachers, we often hold up people as exemplars of integrity, or faith. People to be imitated or aspired to. I found it very moving to receive communion and to be aware of RS Thomas's human frailty. A fellow struggler. We reflected on absence at the table of the real presence. There are some interesting witnesses in the cloud of unknowing.

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