Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Hosea 11:1-11 and Psalm 107:1-9, 43, Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23, Psalm 49:1-12, Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21
The recent past people around the world have become fearful and uncertain wondering who and which country or community will be next? To say the least it is depressing to watch the news and talk shows. After long months focusing on the COVID19 global pandemic the media and social networks shifted their daily focus to the tragic war in Ukraine; two different ugly “attacks” taking countless innocent lives in swift and cruel ways. Not forgetting, the coup in Myanmar and far too many public shootings in schools, shops and church even. “Lord Have Mercy” are constant words in my heart.
July, the month designated for this contribution, holds several significant dates for me; it is the month the Presbyterian Church of Wales (PCW) commissioned me as its missionary partner in preparation to serve the Lord in Taiwan! Reflecting on the assigned scriptures and trying to make sense of all the current global turmoil my mind shifted to other important family dates. My father Cyril Humphreys, was born in July and as it happened also died in July. Dad was born in 1918 the year World War I ended! A war referred to as “the war to end all wars” (H. G. Wells) because of the great slaughter and destruction it caused. Ironically on his coming of age in 1939, dad’s 21st birthday “gift” was call-up for military service just as WWII was declared; he immediately handed back the house key to his parents and did not return home until the war was over and so-called victory declared. “V” for Victory such a strange word – all I see is “V” for Victims there is no celebration in war.
Between the pandemic and tragic war in Ukraine and especially the growing concern could this escalate to WWIII? Several times I found myself uttering a prayer of gratitude my parents, have not had to witness these current events of sorrow and pain. They, Cyril and Nancy grew up in the aftermath of one war, thankfully survived WWII, met and married, struggled to raise a family on a working man’s weekly wage and their entire married life lived in rented council (social) housing. Like others of their generation, they sacrificed much for freedom, peace and a better world – they hoped for a happier life for my four siblings and me, and later their five grandchildren. Certainly they did not want us to face the horrors of war nor encounter lean years as they had. If still with us, it would pain them to think world war three was even a possibility and they would be following the news intently and keeping a watchful eye on Asia.
When my dad passed and later my mother, there was no material inheritance to distribute, basically all they owned were few humble personal belongings and household furniture.
Instead of earthly possessions they left us far richer inheritance in terms of Christian, human values, security, love, dignity, respect of life, and opportunity to decide our faith journey. As Luke reminds us “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions”. My father did arrange one special bequest – upon his passing we were entrusted the task of donating his brain for an Alzheimer’s research programme he had been randomly chosen to be part of. His remains were duly cremated but minus his brain – his precious inheritance continued its journey to contribute if only in small way towards providing quality of life for others.
July is also the month their first grandchild Emma, was born, my favourite niece! Nearly eight years ago our family was deeply humbled and immensely proud of her as she made a selfless decision to be a living donor to her then fiancé Pete, who was dealing with critical kidney issues. Amazingly they were a match and the transplant operation a success. They are now happily married and healthy having exchanged not only vows but also a kidney! I have never asked if her grandfather’s bequest influenced her or not but her values are certainly similar – respect and dignity of human life. In such bleak times it is a joy to witness both my parents’ characteristics and attributes, the most precious family inheritances, being passed on through the next generation and restoring hope in the future – I am most grateful.
–Carys Humphreys, Presbyterian Church of Wales
LORD HAVE MERCY
CHRIST HAVE MERCY
LORD HAVE MERCY
We live in confusing and cruel times, hiding from sight your light, hope, and love. Yet Lord, despite the darkness by your grace I somehow manage to cling to the truths I was taught and chose to embrace, the spiritual inheritance and human values passed down through generations. Lord thank you for those who nurtured me and taught that people matter more than possessions, that peace is more precious than gold, humility and servanthood more valuable than power and vain glory.
Lord thank you for each individual that touches my life showing through their example dignity and respect towards not only human life but also stewardship of creation and all created things.
Lord in your mercy, help me fulfill your will that I too may pass on the precious inheritance entrusted to me so others may live. Amen
Image: Emma and Pete Humphreys Jones wedding day, reproduced with permission