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Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Shipwrecked at the Stable Door

Celebrating Christmas as a regular event on the church's calendar, let alone getting swamped by the commercialised family fest has its downside. You can take it for granted and the sheer wonder of the contingency gets lost.

Bruce Cockburn, the Canadian singer, songwriter, poet continues to remind me of the sheer wonder and strangeness with some lines from a song on his 1989 album Big Circumstance, lines which connect the Christmas story with the radical claims of the Sermon on the Mount.

Big circumstance has brought me here wish it would send home
never was clear where home was but its nothing you can own
It can't be bought with cigarettes or nylons or perfume,
And all the highest bidder gets is a voucher for a tomb

Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek
for theirs shall be the Kingdom that the power mongers seek
And blessed are the dead for love and those who cry for peace
And those who love the gift of earth may their gene pool increase ...

Left like a shadow on the step where the body was before
Shipwrecked at the stable door
Bruce Cockburn "Shipwrecked at the Stable door")

This year as in many other Christmases past I find myself shipwrecked at the stable door - with nowhere else to go but step inside stunned at the sheer wonder of this strange disturbing event, this baby who was to radically disturb the peace of this world's rulers, and then to step back out and follow the shepherds back to the everyday life of herding sheep, shepherding ministerial correspondence and this strange counter-cultural call to love the gift of earth and cry for peace.

Left like a shadow on the step where the body was before
Shipwrecked at the stable door

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