The events over the past weeks have shown how much we need God, I appreciate a lot of people have been ‘been put off God’ by the very people who are there to promote faith, I know that the events of the past few weeks can be seen as proof that there is no God by a lot of people (why would God let this happen?) and I know the Church is broken, but still I maintain we need God.
Watching an interview by John Barrowman the other Night (at 4am I had decided that I was not getting any sleep and turned on the iPad) I was impressed how nice this guy is and how strongly he holds to his faith, though technically he has none. Talking about his coming out experience he said – emphatically – that no-one had the right tell anyone that being gay is wrong, or that they are evil, or that they were not mean’t to be this way, no-one had the right. If I needed more affirmation about my sexuality then that was it. The Church of England is all over the place on Gay Marriage, like a bumbling Uncle it tries, and fails, to do what is right – I can actually respect that.
God is so much bigger than the Church, and listening to John Barrowman I see God, I see a righteous, angry God, saying we shouldn’t be judging each other, I see Teachers laying down their lives for the children, not even their own, in face of a gunman in America, I see a Nurse so vulnerable by the pressure of her responsibility that she can’t face it anymore, and I see people who played a harmless trick grief-stricken, visibly shaken by the power of their words and deeds – in short I see God at work, I see people sacrificing themselves for what is good and what is right, just as Jesus Christ did.
The Church is broken, and so are we, and doesn’t Christmas give us a time see our wounds and ask for forgiveness, to start a healing progress, not in isolation, but as a community, as a whole. We should expect better of the Church, but it is fallable, all too fallable but it is only wrong if we stay there, and do not try to move on.
Christmas means so much to everyone, but what I see is an innocent child, born of a single parent, in reduced circumstances, at the mercy of the bureaucracy and I see the Christ child innocently changing events, Wise Men, Shepherds, and Priests’ lives converging on Bethlehem. I see the innocence of a baby changing people’s lives by just being there, no engaging in action, but by being there. Events fold round a small town in Israel.
Let us remember, perhaps as an allegory of our world, Bethlehem, a virtual prision camp where its citizens are checked going in and going out, where food is rationed and the town occupied by troops with a constant threat of violence. I don’t know if God does irony, but it is either ironic Jesus was born in such a place, or highly symbolic that God ‘gets his hand dirty’ and that no matter how low you are you are not beyond God.
We all try to shape events, but perhaps it is time for us, for me, to accept the events and see what God – or fate, or whatever we believe in – wants us to do. How does this situation change me? We need to act when we see need, not hope someone else will sort it out, but more than anything we need to engage.
Where was God when a lone gunman walked into a school and shot 20 children and 8 adults, he was there; he was the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher who’s concern was what the noise was and went to investigate, he was the Teacher who ‘took the bullet’ for one of her pupils, he was there as Teacher became parents and had to be ‘strong’ even though terrified, and he is there in every tear shed at the thought of the tragedy.
There is an awful lot of badness out there, but there is an awful lot of good. This year someone wrote on Anders Brevik
“If one man can show so much hate, just think how much love we all can create together.”