Liverpool Nativity

Arrived home just in time for the Liverpool Nativity at 8pm last night on BBC3, (if you missed it it is on again next sunday on BBC1) Easter 2006 saw the Manchester Passion denounced as blasphemous, yet probably did more than any other easter story-telling to interest people in that story. So was the Liverpool Nativity the same? Well, no, although I didn’t think the Manchester Passion was blasphemous, so who am I to judge. It seems, (from a quick glance at papers) that the nativity of our Lord once again was one of humility and desperate poverty, marked only by the devastating honesty of the performance and singing crowds. It will be marked as one of the great moments of biblical story telling i’m sure, but no denouncing crowds, except for the usual suspects we come to expect from the secularists. Is the nativity one of those stories so deeply woven into our being that it marks us? Any re-telling of it leaving us nodding in agreement then getting on with life?

No doubt about it though, it was good, real and honestly portrayed, with quite a political edge which may, if it sinks in, rock the boats of those in power. One baby, one life and a whole new world!

Hands on the rail

Today was the first day of the new term. Along with the hour and a half Methodist covenant service which normally accompanies the beginning of the spring term, there was a really good insightful sermon by the newly licensed member of staff, ending with the words from the Iona community’s morning prayer:

‘We will not offer to god, offerings that cost us nothing.’

However, it was not that, that struck me the most today.

Whilst on the rural ministry project, one of the incumbents said that during the distribution of communion he rarely met peoples eyes, but looked at their hands. Far from the thoughts of not dropping the host, he was concerned with the story the hands of those at the communion rail told

I suspect ours today, mine included, would be a little too well manicured and clean to be at home in many churches he ministered to.

Perhaps though, it is the clean and well manicured hands that are the dirtiest of all.