Well, after five months of preparation, the big day is almost upon us. Friday we’ll set up gazebos, staging, get out the chairs and tables, test equipment and everything else needed to have the Cathedral ready for the festival. And then on Saturday it happens. The forecast couldn’t be better. All the charities will be present and we’ve promoted the day the best we can. So, everything’s in place. There’s no good reason why the day shouldn’t be a blast.
But will it be a success? On one level, I’m confident it will be. The guided walk up the Crug will be a delight. I know enough about the author Nick Hunt to know that his talk will be engaging. Hatful of Rain sound great and as Carolina barbecue is next to God…well, no worries there. And if the forecast holds and the Almighty ships in some Carolina sunshine to boot then for what more can one ask? We’re gonna have fun!
But that’s not why we’re doing it. The day will only really be a success if it’s the start of something. All the work will only have been worthwhile if our tagline, Living well with God, creation, and others captures people’s imaginations. It’ll only be a success if the charities involved connect with people.
The world is groaning (to borrow the language of St Paul) and it’s groaning loudly. In the face of all the tragedy–social, political, and ecological–that we and our way of life are producing, a spot of fun on a sunny day is as nothing. It might even be offensive to those in the midst of all that tragedy.
Only if Saturday can begin to evoke a vision of a new world, of how we collectively can do things differently–living convivially with all that’s good, true, and beautiful–will we have achieved our goals.
But that’s going to take a lot. It’ll require people to think about God differently. It’ll definitely demand that a lot of people think about the Church differently (including most of us in the Church!). It’ll mean thinking about ourselves and our neighbours differently. And it’ll require us to relate to the natural world differently. That won’t happen overnight or even at a fun festival on a sunny day.
But who knows? Stranger things have happened than for a small Cathedral in a rural town in mid-Wales to be the start of something new. Perhaps in years to come, we’ll look back on 23 June as the start of a revival of conviviality.
In the 17th-century, we Anglicans were dismissed by other Christians as being too ‘subject to the vice of good fellowship.” Well, I can think of little that our world needs more right now than a bit of “good fellowship.”
Good fellowship with God, creation, and our neighbours: what’s that but mere Christianity?
The Convivium Festival is just the beginning. With good will and God’s blessing, who knows what we might achieve in the coming years. All I do know, is that I’m excited.
So, if you live locally, come along to the Cathedral this Saturday. If you live too far away to join us, then do please offer up a prayer for us.
We’re all in this together.
Pre-booking is still available here.