The ‘little things’ matter, Saint David of Wales

St. David of WalesLike many other Christian traditions, the Episcopal Church has a custom of remembering “the saints.” And by saints, we simply mean those Christians throughout history whose lives continue to inspire and encourage us. Now, we are a little less likely than other traditions to venerate those saints, but we still believe it is very important to remember our history. And, personally, I’m particularly partial to the saint David of Wales.

David (known in Welsh as Dewi) is the patron saint of Wales. He is not the King David of the Old Testament, but rather a bishop who lived in Wales in the 6th century CE. He founded many monasteries, which was one of the primary ways the Gospel was spread in the Middle Ages in England. As Patrick is to Ireland, David is regarded as the man who brought the Christian Gospel to Wales.

Like other abbots of his day, David set a strict “Rule of Life” for his monks. In other words, he set a simple but rigorous schedule for his monks to live by.

They ate simple meals, plowed the land, studied Scripture and prayed. They were not permitted to own possessions and also maintained silence most of the time. David also became known as Aquaticus because he and his monks drank only water, rather than ale.

David was also renowned as a preacher. As such, the most famous legend that grew about him is this. One day, while David was preaching outside, a huge crowd gathered. The crowd was so large that many could not hear him. But, at this point, the flat ground underneath his feet began to rise so that he was lifted up like he was on a hill. With this miracle, all could hear David. (Perhaps David should be the patron saint of sound systems).

However, the following legend is my personal favorite. Once, David was in Ireland and needed to return to Wales swiftly. So, a sea monster emerged from the deep, and David rode on the head of the monster back to Wales.

But, while David was traveling, some treacherous monks devised a scheme to murder the goodly old monk. Those monks poisoned David’s bread!

However, when David returned, he blessed the bread before eating it and the poison was completely neutralized. (It seems to me that David could get a really good job with the CDC).

On his deathbed on March 1, 587 CE, David is reported to have said these last words to his monks: “Be joyful, brothers and sisters. Keep your faith, and do the little things that you have seen and heard with me.”

“Do the little things” is the deep wisdom that David reminds us of. For people of faith, every moment is an opportunity to serve God and to meet God. Whether our “little things” happen in kitchens, cubicles or classrooms, every instant of our lives is an opportunity to be drawn closer to the God who loves us so deeply.

And the more we know this and experience it, the more we can give up our petty claims and desires. I don’t need to have things my way when I know God will be there no matter what. It’s my prayer for myself and for all of us that we will learn to see God in the little things.

Source: The Herald News

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  2. [...] Acknowledgements: Text adapted from James Kiefer and Wikipedia Image from Medieval Archives [...]