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The Welsh Poet T H Parry Williams, asked provocatively ‘What do I care of Wales?’ in his poem Hon (This) about the nation.  He speaks of the bitter-sweet experience of being Welsh, and a desire almost to escape, though he cannot.  The ending is almost desperate:

And I can hear Wales' claws torturing my breast.
God save me, for I cannot leave this place.

It is natural to love the country of your birth, and we can add the country where we have chosen to live.  But what do I care of the Welsh, the people?

At the height of the missionary movement a century ago, if the churches of Wales heard of a people such as the Welsh of today, without God, without hope, the call to send would be made, and the response sure to follow.

We hear much in our churches of loving God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind.  But can we truly say we ‘love our neighbour as oursleves’ if we remain within our four walls and keep the Good News to ourselves? Indeed, are we truly keeping the commandment to love God if we fall short in this?

I hope I will be forgiven for adapting this classic poem:

And I can hear Welsh claws torturing my breast.
God save us, for we cannot leave these people.

 

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