Thoughts Christmas 2004

Thoughts for the Month

The Jesus I know is no cold, hard Iron-Christ; nor does Jesus deserve to be reduced to smug, glib and uncompassionate irrelevancies when the real meaning of His love is what people need so desperately.

“Who is Worthy?” Ted Kennedy
To the millions who have to go without two meals a day the only
acceptable form in which God dares appear is in food.

Mahatma Gandhi

Christmas is the fulfilment of Advent – Love/God breaks into our world – “The Word becomes Flesh” Our hope becomes reality. Tonight we focus on the words of the angels, “Peace on Earth and good will to all”

Peace is about the future and the future is in the children of the world who need respect,
understanding and love. “The Word becomes Flesh” Knowing that there is no Peace without Justice we pray that the dreams and visions we have for Justice will take flesh in our world and become a reality too.

A Christmas Story

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly eating and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, “Huwwoo.” He pounded his fat baby hands on the highchair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wiggled and giggled with merriment. I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy, with a zipper at half-mast, and his toes poked out of would –be-shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map.

We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists. “ Hi there, baby. Hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster.” The man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, “What do we do?”Erik continued to laugh and answer. “Huwwoo..huwwoo…” Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began talking louder, “Do you patty cake? Do you peek-a-boo?…Hey, look, he knows how to peek-a-boo.” Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed. We ate in silence; all except Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skidrow tramp, who in turn, reciprocated with his comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the bill and told me to meet him in the carpark. The old man sat poised between me and the door.

“Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,” I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching out with both arms in a baby’s pick-me-up position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man’s…

Suddenly a very old, smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love relationship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labour, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his firm arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, “You take care of this baby.” Somehow I managed, “I will,” from a throat that contained a stone. He pried Erik from his chest unwillingly, longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, “God bless you, ma’am, you’ve just given me my Christmas gift.” I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, “My God, My God, forgive me.”

I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment, a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes, … I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not. I felt it was God, asking, “Are you willing to share your son for a moment?” when God shared a Son for all eternity.

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, “To enter the Kingdom of God, we must become as little children.”

Supplied by Ken Schofield to the CCJP Newsletter.

A Journey to Birth

by Helen Regan

In the next few weeks we follow Mary’s journey of pregnant with Jesus. In the first stage the foetus, being small, experiences no boundaries of space or time. It might be described as bliss, the mother and baby being one.

This image reminds me of the indigenous people of this land. They had the experience of being a free people in their land before the invasion; they were at one with Mother Earth and certainly their human mother. Sadly, we are reminded of the stolen children and the damaged environment.

Today we leave this place, praying in hope that there will be a turn around of hearts in this country as the invasion still continues – and, also that our world will turn away from the destruction of war in any shape or size as we hope in the Spirit of Life, deep within, growing to freedom.

We are following Mary’s pregnancy in this time before Christmas. Last week we acknowledged the bliss of the foetus in first stage of pregnancy.

This wee the bliss has changed as the foetus grows. There is less room as the walls of the uterus confine the small baby who then experiences the subsequent pressure and so does the mother. These images can be applied to the social situation in our country at this moment and worldwide. We are reminded of the pressure, sometimes humanly unbearable, from the systems that take more power than is theirs – the political, religious, cultural and corporate world.

We especially think of the poor, Aboriginal people, women and children, Iraq and its neighbouring lands; those suffering through the ‘so called’ war on terror.
In the gospel we are given a sign of hope from the preaching of John the Baptist and we look forward to this new life in Jesus as the pressure moves us to search and, at the same time to wait with trust, knowing the truth in this promise of life.

As we continue to follow Mary’s pregnancy with the baby Jesus we are nearing the end of the journey. Towards the end of a woman’s pregnancy, the pressure increases for the baby, a crushing suffocating feeling and so we think of those experiencing unimaginable suffering.

At the start of pregnancy the mother may have had thoughts of hopes, dreams, wonder and beauty. Now she might find herself tiring more easily; any activity becomes a much greater effort; she may have a sore back and feet.

In times of pressure we need to draw from that wild streak we are all born with and when it has been crushed we can help each other find it again.

Wild Mary

Whatever happened to Wild Mary, to that spirited village woman,
full of life, expectancy,
who broke the chains and shattered the moulds
that tried to tame and angel her?
Vibrant young woman,
life taught her a thing or two. So much like her mother and grandmother.
Strong breed! Loved storytellers of family epics and the everyday.

Well known at the markets and about town for their warmth, shrewd business sense and strong family ties. Always there when needed, thrusters, unflinching when what was needed came clear.

O how she laughed at the crazy things that happened about the house.
Made time for quiet in her full days. Talked long with Joseph about their lives, the budget,
their hopes, concerns, dreams for their son
and how he was growing up so fast.

Petrified she was of snakes and heights and got so angry when she saw justice denied
or her fellow folk put down as second rate. Hated olives, lambs liver and being ripped off.
Loved char-grilled fish fresh from Galilee.

Jesus her son no doubt. That same wild streak ran through him.
Liz’s son the same. Real passion for what they were on about.
Nothing dilute in their veins. Too strong for the establishment of the day.

Yes her spirit lives on among us, bold, breaking out, overflowing,
too at one with Life to die – her heart with the hurting and being with the afraid;
by the cross of those being crucified and cradling those in pain;
standing her ground amid the violence of evil’s disarray;
taking full on those who dare try keep her in her place; unflinching in her bold defiance
of those who conspire to perpetrate submission or threaten love’s advance.

We need but call out confidently – Mary! Mary! for her spirit to empower ours.
Oh Yes! It’s a passionate spirit, the spirit of Mary
that breaks the chains and shatters the moulds
that try to stifle the full reality of her humanity!

by Noel Davis (with permission)

This week we come to last stage of Mary’s pregnancy. Some years ago the concept of waiting came to me. The belief in our society sometimes is that waiting is an emptiness – nothingness – a waste of time. I felt strongly about this and it wouldn’t leave me alone till I put them on to paper which developed into something more. I likened the concept of waiting to an ocean wave, giving these words the title “The Wave” The wave is also about arrival, rightful place and ownership – reminding me of Aboriginal Australia and community groups such as our own here in Redfern and the truth. It is about cycles and returning.

The Wave

And the wave rolled so slowly; to go with the waiting
But not just the waiting or the empty waiting but a full waiting.
A waiting, full of potential – a power surging underneath; a feeling of expectation, of knowing and of Greatness; a surge forcing its way over the ocean with strength, beyond comprehension but with such smoothness; and the tension rises; pulse pounding; the power nearing its explosion and finally with a great crash; the waiting arrives….
To a full on celebration.
As the Knowing becomes a reality.
The wave hits the sand hard
And is a wave no more
But water, splashing and throwing itself onto its beach,
Its rightful owner
With 100% certainty of its right to this place
And its right to spread itself recklessly how it pleases.
With absolutely no doubt.
So no-one could ever question this right And then just as gently moves over the yellow fine sand.
Feeling its home every moment of the way .
“ Oh how beautiful to be alive”
And then it creeps at first; to be drawn and pulled back from whence it came.
To be taken back like being hauled. Just as surely as it arrived it enters into its return fully
With out hesitation.
Falling back into the depths of the ocean where it regains, renews and will be reborn
Where it will enter into the roots of the power and begin its surge once more.

Helen Regan

Christmas Night

She heaves
She groans… She pushes on and on
He is squeezed and pushed… there is incredible pressure and… New Life bursts forward
There is relief
Spirit has become Flesh
Entering Mother Earth… From dreams to dream… from love to love
To Live!!

Joy to the World

 

As for joy to the world the Rabbis had it right when they said “We will have to give account on the judgement day of every good thing which we refused to enjoy when we might have done so

Daniel Maguire
Quoted from Mercy Foundation.
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