Transforming Worship

Christ is born amongst us

Uniting Church young people lead UCA marchers at the Climate Strike in Sydney

By Rev. Alex Sangster, Transforming Worship Advocate

incarnation (n.)c. 1300, “embodiment of God in the person of Christ,” from Old French incarnacion “the Incarnation” (12c.), from Late Latin incarnationem (nominative incarnatio), “act of being made flesh” (used by Church writers especially in reference to God in Christ; source also of Spanish encarnacion, Italian incarnazione), noun of action from past participle stem of Late Latin incarnari “be made flesh,” from in- “in” (from PIE root *en “in”) + caro (genitive carnis) “flesh” (originally “a piece of flesh,” from PIE root *sker- (1) “to cut. As “person or thing that is the embodiment” (of some quality, deity, etc.) from 1742.

I write this to you as a dog snores by my side and my daughter’s two rabbits hop around in the backyard, under the grey Melbourne sky…
It is Advent, the time of the dark before dawn, the apocalyptic readings and the command from Christ and John to make straight our crooked paths.
It is also the time of preparation and I am attempting to prepare my Christmas day reflection…!

I think back over this year that has passed.
When and where have we experienced incarnation in 2019?
When and where has God become flesh and dwelt amongst us?
When and where is there new life shining like light in the ever looming dark?
And I remember…

I remember the creation of a liturgy that the Transforming Worship Circle helped birth. The liturgy for the anniversary of the National Apology to survivors of institutional childhood sexual abuse.
I remember the words written, of how:

Sometimes there is an invisible raven
That will fly low to pierce the shell of trust
When it strikes, it breaks
the faith
of the child and all those who love her
mere chaos is loosed upon the world and black ash dries in the mouths of the holy….

and I think
here is a moment of incarnation,
a moment of truth telling and Spirit filling our hearts
and leading us into new life.

And I remember too the massacre in New Zealand and the many moments of the Haka…all the Haka’s that were danced out across the land after the horrific attack. I think of all the school children and of the All Blacks and of the Bikey gangs who stomped their feet and beat their chests in solidarity and grief and love.

And I remembered the story of one Muslim mourner who was
speaking at the prayer service a week after the massacre and who gestured
at the thousands of New Zealanders who had gathered at Hagley Park in solidarity with the slain and who said:

“We had no idea it would be like this, we had no idea you would all come”…

This moment, all these moments: Incarnation.

And of course I remember the students, taking to the streets over and over with their passion and their rage united in their fight against apathy and a Government blind to the climate pain of its land and her peoples.

I remember all these things.
The dog continues to snore
My heart is full to breaking…surely the Christ is born amongst us, this day and all days
and Merry Christmas to you all.