So many people have an affirmation for a place that they feel part of without having any real history or contact with it. For example I feel a close attraction to Wales, it may be because of my surname (Pugh) or the fact that many of my father’s wider family have similar feelings. My Great Aunt Doris for example married a man who all and sundry knew as Jeff Jones however his baptismal name was Emiah. So many relatives on my Father’s side had surnames of Welsh origin – colloquially they were known in that part of Staffordshire as the Tafia. In case you’re wondering Pugh comes from the Welsh Ap Hugh (Son of Hugh) which changed over the centuries.
It can cause confusion – at one point I was stationed to Cwmbran in South Wales for a short time in my ministry. Because of my name I was asked “Which valley are you from?” The valleys of South Wales lead to folk being very proud of their heritage, Cwmbran is located in the Eastern Valley. Their response was complete amazement “Where on earth is that” (or somewhat similar wording when I told them I was born in the Vale of York.
Even so I still have wonderful memories of Wales and spent numerous childhood holidays around various parts of North Wales. Whilst not speaking Welsh I learned to recognise several well known words, so I knew public footpaths, names in Welsh of local towns and villages, etc. I did ask quite soon after arriving for help in learning the words of the Welsh National Anthem, it was sung after every evening social activity. I didn’t want to end up like a well known Minister for Wales who was seen just opening and closing his mouth to the singing of the Anthem on TV. The people I asked said I needn’t worry about learning the words all I needed to know was “My hen laid an egg at the top of a tree”. Maybe they didn’t want an Englishman to learn the language of the angels! The ironic thing is my son Gareth became top of his year in Welsh at the local Senior school (Croesyceiliog).
Wherever we have our hearts, wherever we think of as home – heaven is the place we would be. The Kingdom of God is the ultimate destination. The entrance there has been paid for each of us by Jesus. We do not deserve that place of peace and rest through anything we have done except by accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour. I have no idea what it will be like there but I do know that’s where I want to be and where I want you to be also. There is a place for you if you want it
John Pugh (Rev) Wymeswold Methodist