“Oh, that you would tear the heavens open & come down.. at your presence the mountains would melt” ..& the virus would disappear.. the people of the Old Testament pleading for an absent distant God to return, & to put right the results, the diseases, of the chosen people’s quest to be in ultimate control.. to be not just like God, but to be God.. to be in control of their own, our own, destiny.. you have only to look at extraordinary events of last 9 months to realise what self-destruction we can find ourselves in when we misuse the gift of free will.. choice ..to live comfortably & self-sufficiently as we have in this Parish for some years.. or to risk following your conscience, to smell the sheep, & discover a disused old stable at back of a farm beyond Hawnby.. ..choice is yours this Advent.. continue in the spiritual lockdown you’ve settled into for many a year, or to risk following a star & finding yourself “with child” you have until dusk 4.30pm tonight to decide.. to stay safe or to lift the self-imposed restrictions..
“why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways?” ..into spiritual lockdown ; Lord have mercy “tear the heavens open & come down” ..come down here before dusk ; Christ have mercy “no one invoked your name, or roused himself to catch hold of you” ..come Lord Jesus wake us unmask us.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“..& yet Lord, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter..” ..yet yet, in spite of our poor choices, economic & social.. health-care & job retention.. our compromises on lockdown & social distancing “we had long been rebels against you; our sins blew us away like the wind” 54,000 of us so far..& yet in spite of it all, of catalogue of bad decision & indecision.. statistics.. excess deaths spikes R numbers & govt decisions & govt & Church leaders low on integrity & self-honesty.. ”yet Lord, you are our Father, we the clay, you the potter.” In 2005 Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge had 3 Chinese Quing dynasty vases on display in a wide window cill on staircase; priceless irreplaceable works of art.. a visitor tripped on the stairs, fell into window opening, shattering vases into hundreds of pieces. ..staircase immediately closed & so began forensic search for every piece of vase.. it took hours. Conservation experts assessed possibilities & decided to risk restoration. Months of painstaking work, every piece/sliver of ceramic logged recorded & repositioned ; one last task to carefully repaint each vase to their original condition..& the Curators refused ..to cover the reality would compromise the authenticity; there would be insincerity in works of art &, as importantly, in their story; they are now on view again, with their story of brokenness & restoration; visitors now arrive at the Museum & ask specifically to see the jewels in crown, the 3 broken vases.. the Fitzwilliam story is our story.. we are the clay & Our Lord the potter.. each & every one of us imagined dreamed of, carefully lovingly crafted.. unique.. no one else like you in all the universe.. 7.8 billion..UK small fish 68m now thankfully losing our arrogance.. each of us 7.8billion blessed into being.. treasured watched enjoyed by our divine potter..& then an accident; a stumble by each of us in a moment of foolishness, our precious self & image shattered broken humiliated ashamed through lack of due care & attention. Instead of an angry dismissive judgemental potter, the divine master craftsman picks us up, painfully, painstakingly, every last piece of our sinfulness & self destruction, & patiently lovingly restores us to full health; physical emotional relational spiritual..& the unbelievable final touch in the lifetime of restoration is that he loves us all the more because of our fallenness, our imperfections..& realise that it is when a curator really gets to work at what he is best at, what he was schooled in & entrusted with.. not to sit 24x7 watching tourists dote over precious objects.. opening & closing Church every Sat evening & Sun morning to share an hour with loyal dutiful fee-paying spectators at Mass.. they, the priest’s, the faith-curator’s bread & butter, yet.. yet.. his real apostolate is to lovingly & patiently restore lost innocence lost confidence; months/years caringly carefully healing brokenness.. in shepherds innkeepers foreigners on camels from far east we dismiss as migrants.. “be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come” if he/she comes unexpectedly with a story, a bag full & a broken heart full of a life story shattered to smithereens..”they..Fr Bede.. must not find you asleep”.. you might call it confession or a conversation.. come as you are, when you feel you want to end your lockdown & your spiritual self-isolation.. evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn”.. please never ever hesitate to be in touch with me.. ..as Pope Francs reminds, young & old, on our journey in faith towards the manger “yet.. yet, it is precisely through our problems, frailties & flaws that he wants us to write this love story. He embraced the prodigal son, embraced Peter after his denials, & he always always always embraces us after every fall, helping us to rise & get back on our feet. Because the worst fall, & pay attention to this, the worst fall, the one that can ruin our lives, is when we stay down & do not allow ourselves to be helped up.” Christmas happened because all those weeks beforehand, a weakened dismayed & dismissed Mary allowed herself to be helped up onto the back of a humble donkey to begin her Advent. [1stSun Advent Yr B ; Mk 13;33-37]