Tuesday, December 23, 2008

expecting, terrified, hurried, search(ing)

On Sunday morning John Bunyan had their carol service with christmas story. As we listened to the story we were encouraged, lectio divina-style, to listen for a word that struck us and ponder on it ... here are my four words ...

Lk 2.1-7 - expecting
what are we expecting? I start advent with high expectations, but the closer I get to Christmas, it as if my expectations get lower ... the tension of early advent, seems to get resolved, as christmas encroaches evermore into advent ... December becomes one long christmas season, which is over by 3pm christmas day ... what should we be expecting? ... the theme of second advent often gets lost it seems these days ... looking back is easier than looking forward ...

Lk 2.8-14 - terrified
what are we terrified about? any terror in the story is removed ... it is a disney-verison of the christmas story ... I must confess I'm ambivalent about angels ... why in children nativity plays are they always girls ... but in scripture, they always seem to be male (or in the film dogma asexual) ... I'm not sure I'm terrified about the economic crisis or the threat of terrorism ... do we need a healthy sense of fear, fear of the Lord - is that why the shepherds were terrified?

Lk 2.15-20 - hurried
where am I hurrying to this christmas? I always have this sense when I hear the story that Mary's labour must have been quick and easy ... but I wonder in the shepherds hurrying they arrived to early and they weren't exactly welcome by Mary ... did Jesus hurry in his coming into the world ... or was it a long and agonising coming? Like the shepherds we seem to do a lot of hurrying, but where they were hurrying to see the birth of a long-expected messiah, we hurry for other reasons ...

Matt 2.1-12 - search
The magi and Herod are searching for a child. Jesus is not easy to find, you have to go looking for him ... perhaps ever so more true today ... what are we searching for this year? is there any mystery left? where is God hidden? Recently in a sermon class I heard Will Willimon preach a sermon (from the Great Preachers video series) on Gen 29.16-30 ... one sentence that has stayed with me was the idea of God whispering/lurking in the shadows of this family ... God is in the background, hidden from centre view, in the shadow of Jeruslaem in Bethlehem, not in the palace but in the stable ... it may not be that God feels that present around the table on Thursday lunchtime, or in front of the television, or as you explain how to play that game to hard of hearing granny for the tenth time, but if you search just a little, you will find he is Immanuel, God with us.

1 comment:

Catriona said...

Thanks Andy, that's a great set of words - and 'hurry' really struck me as I rush around tying up loose ends for our last few services.

Been a great series again; I love the diversity and unity it brings, so thank you for organising, cajoling and imagining it all.