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the world itself begins to turn into renewal

The Archbishop of Canterbury's Christmas sermon caught my attention this year.
Many parishes struggle with where to give their attention. We try to manage our fears and our passions. Parish sub-groups press their interest upon the whole wanting more people to attend their programs and more money to use. The budget is made by now, or not. The liturgies of Christmas Eve and Day were graceful and beautiful or tense and disappointing. 


Rowan Williams suggests that we -- "look at Jesus, who asks of us initially just to stop and reflect, to stay for a moment in the light" ... "That’s where faith begins, beyond the answers of a system, or the disciplines of a ritual, or the requirements of a moral code."  He affirms that all that has a place and they will all be worked out. But his starting place is the need for us to become more reflective. To gaze at the child.

Jesus does not come just to answer the questions we think important. (One of the great features of all the gospels, specially St John’s, is how often Jesus refuses to answer the question put to him and asks a question in reply.) He does not come to give us a set of techniques for keeping God happy; and he certainly doesn’t come to create a harmlessly eccentric hobby for speculative minds. He comes to make humanity itself new, to create fresh possibilities for being at peace with God and each other; and he does this by summoning us to be with him. ... Yet if – if we can let go of our conviction that our questions, our priorities and worries, achievements and failures aren’t after all the most important thing in the universe; if we find the freedom to stop and turn aside, then the world itself begins to turn into renewal. ‘O come, let us adore him’, says the carol. That adoration, that wondering gaze at the child in the manger, is where faith is born; and where faith is born, so is the new world of Jesus and his Spirit.


The full text is at -


It might be an interesting and rewarding piece of strategic work to help our parishes become just a bit more reflective in the coming year. To shape a critical mass more familiar with the ways of stillness and silence, listening and conversation.
Blessed Christmas