Friday, December 17, 2010

Thought for the Day
Good Morning Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland
Friday, December 17th

I went to a Nativity Play this week at our local Primary School in Penicuik. The annual school or church Nativity wouldn’t be possible without tea towels and cut up curtains and square paste-on beards made of construction paper.

And don’t forget the angels. When extra children show up in church who haven’t been given a part, they can always be draped in a disused choir gown and have a crown of tinsel placed on their heads. Voila – an instant angel- sent up to the front holding on to an older cousin’s hand apprehensively.

Much of the story involves human beings listening to angels - ordinary human beings caught up in trying circumstances or just minding their own business out in the pastureland but then tumbled into some sort of shape and woven into a story by a voice which comes from up in the sky or wells up from within in a dream.

It’s wrapped up with idea of inspiration, revelation and vocation: three words which have their roots in a religious tradition but which now are used in a wider sense- inspiring political speeches, revelations in a gossip column, the vocation we might have for a particular job or livelihood.

But it is the original, ghostly, version of these words which draw us to the story and give it its power. These Nativities are not only intended to enrich the small participants but the grownup watchers as well - we who have seen too much, or compromised too much of our potential or forgotten to look beyond our duties and our obligations.

What the children are telling us, through this story, is that we can change our ways. And, in the midst of our ordinary human lives and communities, such dreams and revelations, such promises of novelty and rebirth, still have currency in the human heart.

An audio link is available for a limited time HERE. TFTD begins at 1:25.13 - about halfway along the audio bar.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Will this wind...?

Here we go.

We haven't had as specific a date for the Rapture and the end of the world for a rather a long time. This time we have both. According to Harold Camping and Family Radio, it's May 21st, 2011 for the Rapture (where the blessed are removed bodily into heaven) and the beginning of the Day of Judgement (presumably for the rest of us).

It's October 21st for the end of the world. I think. That's it. All cheques cashed before then.

The campaign has generated a certain number of billboards and a bit of mirth in the U.S. Though I suppose the riposte would be that they laughed at Noah as well.

My wife's biggest concern is that our boy's bedroom is tidy on the day. His room is generally in such a state that you'd be uncertain as to whether he'd been raptured or whether he was just lost in some untidy corner playing with his Gameboy.

If you'd like to do the math yourself it's all HERE and it's about as convoluted as you might expect.

Another take on John the Baptist

In the early 1960's, schoolteacher Peig Cunningham brought a tape recorder into a Dublin classroom and asked the wee kiddies to tell her stories from the Bible in their own words. These recordings were rediscovered much later and some clever clogs has added some animation along with some dramatic topping and tailing - none of which detracts from the effect of the individual child telling her story.

There are, as well, a few bits and pieces from this morning's Gospel reading done better than I could have possibly preached them.