If by some mistake you’ve visited this blog before, you may notice the lack of posts from the last year. But although I haven’t shared much here, I have been writing – in rather a different form! Although poetry continues to be an important part of my life, my writing this year has principally reflected my role as a member of the Holywell Community, a new monastic community based in Abergavenny. In this role I’ve written and delivered sermons, intercessions, and children’s talks; ghost-written for the church guide book; written blogs, flyers, project ideas and advertising material for the community; edited blogs, sermons and other documents for friends and colleagues; and even started a few projects of my own! At the moment, my main focus isn’t writing, but reading: I’m enjoying the freedom of self-motivated studying, and have enjoyed dipping my toes into the Welsh language, science-fiction, and Christian theology over the year. I’m currently reading Thomas Merton’s No Man Is An Island, and enjoying getting to know the Bible a little better.
The greatest writing challenge of the year has, without a doubt, been the experience of being asked to preach. It’s nerve-wracking, stressful, and wonderful. I speak with my hands: the teacher who ran my secondary-school debating society once told me that I looked as if I was ‘pitchforking my opponent’. Every time I’m wracked with anxiety about my lack of formal qualifications in theology, and whether I have any right to speak or knowledge to share. But the Holy Spirit is good, and so far, it’s been a really uplifting experience – at least for me!
Although this may seem a little naive to those who write sermons every week, I’ve decided to share my four wee ones here. Any feedback from regular sermon writers would be welcome.
My first sermon! 17th December 2017. Readings: Malachi 3 1-4; 4 and Philippians 4 4-7. On the theme of ‘The Fuller’s Fire’.
Jesus as High Priest: What’s in a name? 14th January 2018. Readings: Isaiah 60 9-22 and Hebrews 6 17- 7 10.
Children of the Living God – my last sermon in Abergavenny. 17th June 2018. Readings: Jeremiah 7 1-16 and Romans 9 14-26.
Being broken, being whole: a sermon for the patronal festival of St Mary Magdalene, preached at Piddington with Horton Church on the 22nd of July 2018. Readings: John 20 verses 1 and 11-18.
Finally, I’d like to share my farewell message on the Holywell Community blog. It’s been a wonderful year, and I wish every blessing on the new community as their year begins later this month. To new adventures!