Come and explore the meaning and different aspects of the Welsh word ‘hiraeth’. In todays episode we focus on a home which maybe never was.
This episode is the fourth episode of a 7 part series. You can find the subjects of and the links to the other episodes at the end of this blog post.
WATCH THE VIDEO
Find the Hope Cymru Youtube channel here.
The world wants to go home, but cannot, nor can it make its home here and now no matter how hard it tries.
Things that should not have been forgotten have long been covered over and all but lost, and an older and better world has passed.
The land of song, in which the valleys once rang, with coal miners in the Rhosddu colliery singing as they descended into the pit and as they reappeared when the days work was done, no longer has much to sing about.
The song which captured the hearts of tens of thousands, from Talacre to Lavernock, with which once the valleys resounded has for long decades been forgotten. The land of song has all but gone silent.
What if there was once something, which we miss, grieve the loss of and yearn to return to all our lives, a magical place, with that name stronger than any spell or conjuration of any magician.
We have long been told to look down on our forefathers, simply because we have lived after them, and from some unearned moral high ground to dismiss their world and their religion.
A slumber has set in across the land; a blindness, deafness and deadness to what was once everything to people; locking us into grief and yearning, cutting us off from our true home.
We need to be awoken.
A spell is needed to break this deep enchantment- a good spell, good news from that far away land, our true home that has been lost.
Who could even tell us about our long lost home?
Has there ever been anyone who has been able to give sight to the blind, make the deaf hear and raise the dead to life?
There has been one person in all the history of the world and only one.
We have heard from Lewis and Lennon, from Thomas and Elliot, but now we listen to someone else.
JESUS OF NAZARETH
Albert Einstein, is a man who needs no introduction, named by Time magazine as the Person of the century in 1999, having published over 300 scientific papers, winning a Nobel prize and single-handedly changing the whole field of physics, his name has become synonymous with genius.
And yet Einstein once asked what he thought about this other man famously replied, ‘I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.’
The most brilliant mind of the last century looked up to this man as countless others have done all around the world.
Napoleon Bonaparte the century before, one of the greatest military geniuses of all time, once famously said;
‘I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ was not an ordinary man. Superficial mind see resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and other religions the distance of Infinity.’
In recent years many different writers from different perspectives have shown how every aspect of western civilisation; from human rights and dignity to technology and education, from literature and science, to medical care and freedom of conscience have all flowed out of the Church as it lived out the way of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jaroslav Pelican once said;
‘Jesus of Nazareth has been the dominant figure in the history of western culture for almost twenty centuries. If it were possible with some sort of super magnet to pull out of that history every scrap of metal bearing at least a trace of his name, how much would be left?’
AN UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL
If there has ever been anyone who did not need an introduction, it is the one that Einstein looked up to, that Napoleon Bonaparte fell down before, the one who is the very centre of world culture and civilisation, whose birth in Bethlehem stopped the clock, ushering in a whole new era of history, turning sunset to sunrise in the ancient world, who without a computer, an Instagram account, or Twitter feed, wandering around an area the size of Wales caused world empires to fall and rise, and gods that had been feared for centuries fell, only to be rehabilitated as characters in Disney films and Marvel Comics.
As a boy, he outwitted the greatest minds of his day, as a man, walking onto the stage of human history, he knew how to change the molecular structure of water to make it into wine, he was able to feed 5000 men and their families with a small pack lunch, he knew how to walk on water, to make new eyes for the blind, to bring an old friend back from the dead, how to control the weather, how to make the lame walk, and the deaf hear.
His advent at Christmas time was the lights going on across the globe, and very soon people from all over, ran to Him, trampling one another, pushing through crowds, tearing the tiles off rooves, crossing seas and deserts, just to get near him.
Who is this unique individual who comes to us across the pages of history?
Those who knew him best, who had watched him up close for years, concluded that he was not only the founder of a new way of life, but the founder of all life, the founder of the universe and the master of the galaxies, older and bigger than the cosmos, having always lived through endless ages, as the eternal and everlasting son of God the Father.
Given his identity and who he is, we wouldn’t expect anything less than that his coming down among us as our brother should change everything forever.
Anything less would be beneath him and not worth his while.
Walking onto the stage of human history, he burst as sunrise on a dark and weary world.
He overwhelmed the whole ancient world simply by being himself, living the way he had always lived, but now as one of us.
Although he has not been human for as long as we have, it did not take him long to be much better at it, than we have ever been.
At different times in its long history, almost the whole land of Wales has bowed at his feet and resounded with songs of what He has done, as His name has been reverenced and honoured across the land.
It would be very strange indeed, to not listen to what the greatest man that has ever lived has to say about home.
What if we were able to turn back the pages of the family photo album, back before we were even a twinkle in our fathers eye, back before our father and his father before him, and keep turning back the pages in the album of the land of my fathers, what would we find?
If we could keep turning back the pages of the photo album, not only of this land, but the world, the galaxies and the universe- a million years, a billion years, a trillion years- what would we find- nothing but blank, empty pages?
Back before our families, our family homes and homelands, the land of our fathers, Jesus opens up an album which is better and more wonderful than anything we could imagine.
It is good news, from before the dawn of time, of the home that we are homesick for, whose loss we grieve and mourn, which calls to us, through the best and happiest moments of our past, like the scent of the flower we have not found, the echo of tune we have not heard, and news from a country we have not yet visited.
We would not see blank pages but rather pages filled with light and life, glory and wonder, adventures and stories and amazing things too good for us to conceive or imagine.
Jesus is uniquely qualified to speak about it, because He was there.
Back behind, before and above, our parents, and homes and the land of fathers, we would find another land.
Not of the straw man set up only to be torn down; nor the loner, existing in splendid isolation, a prisoner of its own majesty, bringing the universe into being through some exertion of its will, against the grain of its own being, only to remain far away, preferring to live on in solitary confinement in a cosmic corner.
But the land of a Father.
In our photo album of the universe before the galaxies, there is the Father, and His Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Father of his Son, the Son of his Father and the Spirit of the Father and the Son; always living in infinite power and glory.
The Father eternally begetting his Son, showering his love out upon him through infinite ages.
The Son always receiving from his Father, gracious and obedient.
The Spirit eternally proceeding from the love of the Father and the Son and uniting them together in blissful fellowship.
They had always enjoyed such glory, joy and fellowship that it was too good to keep to themselves and so the whole universe was brought into being as the overflow of their love and overwhelming generosity, their wish to share what they had always enjoyed together with countless others brought into their own life forever.
Before the land of my fathers, further back than any of our arts or science can get us, is the fatherland, the land of the Father; good and strong and eternal, who has always lived, through infinite ages, who was long revered and honoured throughout the land of Wales, as the great benefactor of the cosmos.
The way that we individually come into being, is but a small shadow of the way in which all reality was brought into being.
The husband and wife who loved each other, preparing the family home for the pitter patter of little feet, is all but a small picture of how everything came into being from the overflowing kindness of the Father, Son and Spirit.
And so the dream began, with the Father saying to his Son; ‘I have delighted to always shower out everything upon you my Son whom I love, you have always received my love, how would it be if we were to make countless other people that you could love, in the same way I have always loved you?
The Son said, ‘isn’t it wonderful that you have always loved me as your Son, how would it be if you had multitudes of other sons and daughters that you could love in the same way that you have always loved me?
The Spirit, spoke, ‘I have always united you, Father and Son in love for one another, how would it be if we brought countless others to share in our life forever?
You and all the world, live not by chance or cruel fate but because of the overflowing goodness of the Father, Son and Spirit who are love, full of love for one another and overflowing towards us, to make us and bring us into their life and family forever.
THE START OF OUR TRUE HOME
And so the great project began, the first chapter of the most beautiful story was written, as the universe was founded, as a colossal family home, assembled as a playground big enough to house us all, with space to spread out, and to flourish.
And so the son of God, Jesus Christ, set to work, to overcome the darkness as the light of life, ordering, assembling and structuring the cosmos, and filling the world with living things; birds, fish and animals to overflowing, as our play fellows, jesters and servants.
With over 5 million species of living things, all shapes and sizes, beauty and comedy all rolled into one, everything intricate and immeasurably complex, known and loved and cared for by the Father, Son and Spirit, down to the little sparrow, the cattle of a thousand hills, and all the stars numbered and brought out one by one.
And finally, at the last after everything was prepared in the cosmic home, assembled and made ready, our ancient ancestors and first parents were made from the dust of the ground and were brought into being, to live and rest in this paradise, where they were so loved.
What a world they opened their eyes to for the first time, of unimaginable beauty, fascinating and intriguing!
And yet even this, was all eclipsed by the One who stood before them and with them in Paradise, whose majesty and beauty were enough to fill the whole horizon, and be their universe, the one who had always received, who would forever share all that he had with them, would love them, care for them and provide for them, as his very own forever, with infinite resources of loving kindness and generosity, an infinite reservoir of goodness which He had always received from his Father.
What a wonderful future stretched out before them, with an infinite vista of possibilities.
What plans and ambitions he had for them, the things they would do together, the places they would go, the things they would see, what they would build, design, write, produce and achieve together, with every day better than the one before.
It was here that all our deepest longings and needs were met, the place we belonged, where we were known and loved, and able to be ourselves.
It was our true home.
SEPARATED BY OUR ANCESTORS
And yet far back in our distant past, our earliest ancestors did not want this, and tragically threw it all away as they stepped out of that glorious purpose for which they had been made and fell down, plunging themselves and all of their descendants after them, down into darkness, despair and death, setting the world itself spinning out of orbit and far from home.
Now that home, that family, is all far way, and much further than we could ever imagine, and no amount of effort on our part could ever be enough to get us back to what has been lost.
This was our own far away country, and our true home.
It is for this lost world, which the Welsh have mourned and grieved the loss of for so long, the reason that the Welsh and the world, feel this home sickness for a home to which we cannot return, a home which maybe never was, the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of our past, our deep past.
We have felt its haunting and lingering memories, calling us through our own families, homes and the land of our fathers, which we could not go back to, because we are on the wrong side of things, with the door to our true home firmly closed against us; far away, in the far country, exiled and lost.
We are far from home, separated by time and space, distanced on the outside physically and geographically, just as we are on the inside in our hearts, which are far from Him.
The world wants to go home, but cannot get home, and is still away from this home, the home for which we were made.
Do you not know and feel that you were made with the highest origins and the greatest destiny, with dignity and wonder, to be caught up into the life of the eternal God. You were made to be royal and to reign forever.
Could we ever know if that lost world, that home for which we were made in overwhelming love and kindness by the real God, forfeited and lost in the deep past is actually real?
We could if there was a way back, to that place that we feel homesickness for all our lives, which we feel nostalgia for and grieve the loss of and yearn for, to that home which maybe was, after all.
What if there is a way home?