Love Thy Neighbour

Entry by: percypop

22nd June 2016

Dafydd Rees was a forgiving man. He read the Bible and listened to the Sunday preacher from the front pew in the chapel.
When the Rev Pritchard told him; "To love thy neighbour as thyself."
he tried his hardest to think kindly of Jasper Meredith, but it was more than a man could do. For ten years that man had lived next door and made his life a misery.
"Your ivy is ruining my wall."
"Can't you keep them hens from making a dreadful noise?" as if Dafydd had control of nature. Still, he put up with it for the sake of Jesus and the Bible, until the day of the Great Harvest Festival.

Every Chapel in Gwynedd joined in the event, which this year took place in our village. The whole community came together for the occasion and each family made a contribution. Dai Jones, the bread, was in charge of the food and got promises of supplies from most of the housewives. Gareth Bowen took charge of the street decorations and stalls to be erected, while Blodwyn Pritchard marshalled the children into choirs to sing the old hymns which got the crowds crying into their handkerchiefs.

Only Jasper Meredith kept out of the way.

Dafydd noticed this as the big day approached.

"Is the Old Badger doing nothing?" Dafydd asked Bowen.

"Won't see him out all day," said Gareth, "Tight as a tick, is Jasper."

Dafydd pondered on this and carried on with his tasks. Come the day, the whole village was filled with eager folk. Choirs from as far as Cardigan and Newport arrived by charabanc, waving and singing as they trundled down the High Street.
The reverend Pritchard harangued the crowd with a sermon on brotherly love and the proviso that, if you didn't do so, then Hell Fire would consume your soul and probably your whole family. Maybe, it was the dismal sermon, but soon the men drifted down to the Red Dragon to cheer themselves up, despite the daunting looks of the women who deplored this debauchery.

Dafydd joined the men as they gathered in the snug of the public house. A germ of an idea grew as the drink began to warm their souls. In the street, the combined choirs of the Methodist and Baptist chapels were harmonising as part of the day's events.
He stepped outside.
"Breth'ren, what could be better on this wonderful day than to bring your joyful voices to a lonely old man?"

"Amen!" said a voice from the choir, "Joy it is to praise the Lord and bring pleasure to a poor soul!"

Dafydd's eyes glinted, "Follow me," and the combined might of Newport and Cardigan trooped up the pitch to Meredith’s house. The front of the house was directly on the street so that the crowd of singers were six abreast across the road and pressed up against the building by the number of caring sharing choristers.

"Let's begin with Bread of Heaven," said one of the choirmasters and he tapped a tuning fork on Meredith's door. At once, the massed voices of Gwynedd burst into song and the windows of the house rattled with the blast.

The door sprang open and the figure of a madman appeared, thrashing his arms in the air and bellowing. His voice was drowned by the volume of the singing, but even so, the front row began to retreat and soon the whole assembly was in confusion as front met back and all fell about in the street.

Only the choir master kept his cheery disposition. "God loves you!" he said and offered his hand to the frenzied figure in the doorway. With a howl, Jasper Meredith slammed the door shut.

Dafydd turned to the sea of puzzled faces.

"God bless you all! We must love out neighbour whoever he may be."

The crowd shuffled back down the street frowning and muttering about the wicked old man. Only Dafydd had the smile of a true Christian trying to bring love to his neighbour.