I sat on the steps of the sanctuary with some children and revealed the apple star (cut an apple across the core) which reminds us of Christmas each day we eat an apple.
Then to a church full of families gathered together reminded them of the way the readings lead us to Good Friday and Easter.
We cannot tarry at the manger.
There is always more to proclaim from the story of Mary and Elizabeth. For a time I would hesitate as I wrestled with the notion that preaching somehow had to come out of your own experience and one couldn’t speak of that which one wasn’t part of e.g. being a single oppressed pregnant woman. So it is becoming with some writing schools so that the first question an interviewer puts to a writer is “So which parts are really autobiographical?” That puts a block on human imagination and the landscape of the soul. I now see it in these terms – if a story touches my soul – especially a “gospel” story then there is something to be proclaimed, and it is my calling as Proclaimer to do that.
Joy that is Just comes from the depths of our experience not just from those moments of euphoric bliss or emotional froth.
As we understand God’s action in the world there is also an ethical dimension which John the Baptiser points us to.
Why else would the compliers of the lectionary and the liturgists have made the 3rd Sunday of Advent the place to acknowledge Joy in the world alongside the proclamation of the Baptiser?
I’m a driver and a rider. I love driving on our roads, exploring new routes, and wish I could do the same on a motorbike, but for now those days are behind me.
Watching the network of roads around Hamilton develop has been interesting. When we arrived 17 years ago much of it was only pipe dream stuff but now it is becoming a reality, and watching the city grow.
I’m also conscious of how that spread is using up good pastureland and that fits in with the Christian World Service Christmas Appeal theme of “My place to till and keep” reflecting on land grabbing policies that are affecting the lives of people that partner agencies work for and on behalf of. We blithely see land as a commodity and I think we as urban dwellers don’t really appreciate the link between people and their land.
Part of my Advent approach is to find ways to support the work of Christian World Service and its partners through the Christmas Appeal. You can find links to their work through cws.org.nz , christmasappeal.org.nz. If you want to give alternative gifts this year try gift.org.nz !