Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.
Readings (Click the links to see the readings)
Nativity thought, 1995
Mary, for example, knew. She wrinkled
Joseph also knew. He shifted with mock
Even the holy infant knew,
Taking advantage of his useless,
The Christian Century, 113.37, 18-25 Dec. 1996, p. 1254
Gracious God, you have done so much for us
Les anges dans nos campagnes. Les Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois at Sejong Art Center, Korea, 9 December 2011.
Everyone seems to be amazed that the Pope is tweeting—and there was a news story the other day about bishops in England using Twitter for their Christmas messages. The surprise reminds me of the way people pretend to be astonished when clergy admit to having heard the occasional rude word (never mind clergy actually using them…) or having watched a soap. It's taken for granted that we're far too unworldly for all this.
Even speaking as someone who struggles with any kind of technology, I don't think it should be assumed that all my fellow clergy are or ought to be as dim as I am in this area. And I don't buy into the panic that sometimes gets stirred up about social media and electronic communication. OK, we all know it can be poisonous and destructive at times. But there's another side to it.
In the aftermath of the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, one student, Sam Johnson, put out a call through Twitter for help in clearing up after the earthquake and doing some basic rescue work. Thousands of students from all the way across New Zealand turned up and spent weeks and months in Christchurch doing essential work and getting a community on its feet again.
When I visited Christchurch a few weeks ago, I met Sam and some of the others involved—and actually got to speak at a rock concert that had been laid on free of charge to celebrate all this achievement. Rock concerts and archbishops are at least as unlikely a combination as Twitter and the Pope, I realise. But what an occasion—a real witness to what small initiatives can turn into.
Well, Christmas is God's small initiative—a single baby, whose destiny is to change the entire world. If we find that hard to believe, I wonder if it makes it a bit easier when we think of what small initiative like Sam's can do?