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  • Born Among Us - Day 9

    This colourful Ethiopian image depicts the Flight into Egypt.  Here, the Holy Family is accompanied by Salome, Mary's cousin, who has acted as her midwife.  The arrow heads sticking upwards represent obstacles put in the way of Mary who according to Ethiopian tradition was deemed a sorceress because of the virgin birth.

    Our prayer came from Egypt, and reflected some of the painful tensions faced by Egyptian Christians, whose homeland is so readily associated with the slavery of the ancient Hebrew people. Here is part of it...

    My Egyptian heart longs, O my God, for the redemption of my people.  It has been our shame that the oppression of the pharaohs drove the children of Israel to the sea.  But you, my God, who free us from our sins, you who make all things news, chose this same country as a shelter for the holy family, and a home for that one who was persecuted and oppressed that we might have life, and have it abundantly...

    ... I praise you, my saviour and my redeemer, who takes us out of darkness into your own marvellous light.

  • Jesse Tree looking good... imo

    Nine days into the December Advent countdown (the full one is a little longer as it began on 28 November) and the Jesse tree is starting to take shape.

    Some curious characters with intriguing stories that reveal their frailty and fallibility.

    If you were choosing 24 Bible characters/stories to make a tree, I wonder who you might include?  I think NT people should be permitted in this too.

  • Born Among Us - Day 8

    This oil painting by Palestinian Christian artist Zaki Baboun was painted in 2001 soon after his family home in Bethlehem had been hit by a missile, and there were injured children on the streets.  It is a depiction of the Massacre of the Innocents.  The accompanying notes in the resource note the absence of Jesus from the picture, and pose the question, where is Christ (God) to be found in such circumstances.

    We used this poem by Madeleine L'Engle as a prayer...

    This is no time for a child to be born,
    With the earth betrayed by war & hate
    And a comet slashing the sky to warn
    That time runs out & the sun burns late.

    That was no time for a child to be born,
    In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
    Honor & truth were trampled to scorn—
    Yet here did the Savior make His home.

    When is the time for love to be born?
    The inn is full on the planet earth,
    And by a comet the sky is torn—
    Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.

  • Born Among Us - Day 7

    Another Mogul painting, this time Hindu inspired, with Mary portrayed as a high caste woman.

    Many Hindus consider Jesus to be important, as a saint, as a prophet or even as an avatar - an incarnation of the divine.  Many gospel stories are part of traditional Hindu (Indian) lore, and of course there are Christians in India who trace their origins to the apostle Thomas.

    How does it feel when other faiths share a love of Jesus?

  • 24 / 18

    It's 24 years today since I heard, with a clarity I had never heard before, and have rarely heard since, the voice of God calling me to ordained ministry.

    Yesterday it was 18 years since I made my ordination vows.

    Over those years the world has changed, and I have changed, but the call hasn't and the sincerity and seriousness of the vows hasn't.

    No cakes, no parties, no gifts or cards, it's not that kind of a birth-day.  But lots of food for thought, and lots to be thankful for.

    Today I was reading yesterday's portion of 'Honest Advent' which focussed on Mary's morning sickness, and the strange mix of nausea and joy that comes with pregnancy - something that serves as a metaphor for the outworking of a 'yes' to God's call on our own lives.

    Turning 18 yesterday does, I guess, mean I am now a proper grown up minister type person - it's been an adventure this far, and that much isn't likely to change any time soon.