After a 2 year hiatus due to the pandemic, the National Eisteddfod took place during the first week of August. Tens of thousands of people descended on the small market town of Tregaron, and as usual, one of the largest tents at the festival was the Churches Together (Cytun) tent. Representatives from the Connexion spent time in the tent meeting old and making new friends. The usual warm hospitality found in the tent saw thousands of cups of tea and Welsh cakes being enjoyed over warm and joyous fellowship.
Next to the tent was the Bible Society’s contemplative garden based on the 23rd Psalm, a version of which had appeared in the Chelsea flower show. ‘Eisteddfodwyr’ were invited to sit in the garden and contemplate the 23rd Psalm, what it tells us, and how this makes us feel.
Think of everything that you need and imagine what it would feel like to have all those needs met. Imagine following a shepherd that tends to all of those needs.
Think of total darkness, within which all of what you fear most lies. Imagine not having to fear any of this because we shepherd that we can trust completely.
Think of living your whole lives in perfect peace in the knowledge that his love goes before us.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I will not want. Thank you for this beautiful promise of providing everything possible that is required by those who follow you.
Thank you for being a constant guide in our lives, showing us all the best path, assuring us that if we follow that path, it will give us all the best things.
In the last few years, we really have been through the darkest valley, where we have faced loneliness, despair, fear and threat. We were apart from loved ones, confined in our homes, not being able to meet friends or family. Great losses were faced in isolation, without support of our communities. Thank you for leading us through these dark times.
You prepare a table before us, and we thank you for providing everything that we need. We thank you for all the key workers who put themselves at risk to keep us all safe during this difficult time. We thank you for science, and for providing a vaccine so that the dreadful effects of the virus are not so severe and that we can go back to our lives.
We thank you that, coming out of the pandemic, we are safe in the knowledge that your goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives.
In Jesus’ name.