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  • If a picture paints a thousand words...

    Cross-posting from social media....

    ... someone was asking about favourite images of Jesus, and I shared this one, which I often turn to at this time of year. It is a sculpture at St Martin's in the Fields, London, and was done for the millenium. The person I shared it with said it brought to mind the images of refugee children washed up on beaches... and I can see that.

    Whatever belief system (or none) we follow, this is a striking image... the hope that is born in every child and that, with the right conditions, will bring joy and love to this world.

    For me, the idea of a divinity who would do something so utterly ridiculous as to become a human infant, entering the messyness of human sin and finitude is a incredibly powerful. Historical fact, myth or mystery, frankly I'm not bothered too much - the truth of hope revealed in vulnerability, risking everything in the cause of love... that is worth telling again and again.

    Lots of sadness, anger, bewilderment and more being expressed on social media... and also lots of love, kindness, courage and hope. Advent is a complex and often misunderstood liturgical season but at it's heart is the refusal to give up hope, to trust that one day, one day, the waiting will be over and peace and love will fill a renewed creation.

  • A Pause before Advent

    It has become something of a personal tradition to take as one my leave Sundays the final one before Advent.  Sometimes I have taken the opportunity to go on retreat, sometimes I have done some reading, sometimes I've just taken a break to relax.  This year it will involve lots of sitting on coaches as I travel to visit my mother for a couple of days.

    Unusually, I have done the majority of my Christmas shopping, have ordered or bought most of my cards - and yesterday even received the first of the season!  Advent is a busy kind of waiting and, in the northern, hemisphere at a dark, damp and weary time of the year.

    My first Advent sermon (yet to be pondered let alone written) has the working title 'Waiting, waiting, waiting...' and will, I hope, enable me explore some of the tensions that this season, and indeed any experience of waiting, can hold for us.

    But first - a pause, a few days of deliberate blog-silence, and a few with zero internet connecting simply to be.