Please ignore the title. It will prove fairly relevant hopefully. Stay with me. The photo is of me. We found it clearing out Aged Parent’s flat. I am approximately six years old and am being forced to go on Whit Walks against my will. Whit Walks. for those of a tender age or from faraway lands was – indeed probably still is – a parade of Sunday School Scholars in Manchester held very Whit Sunday. I was being forced to wear a headdress with tight elastic and I wasn’t happy. This lack of interest in putting in any effort when it comes to my looks is lasting well into my dotage. I don’t remember much about the walks. There was always an older girl with a really long train with fabric handles in it. All the younger children then took a handle and walked behind her in a parade while our mothers ran alongside shouting things like “Keep your head up!” and “For goodness sake straighten your face!” I remember it being quite competitive between the churches and I also remember really good brass bands and rain. What it had to do with the Feast Of Pentecost, I have no idea.
The expression on my face is an accurate reflection of my mood at the moment (the election, AP’s flat move, Manchester United, how rubbish the new series of The Crown has become etc. etc). Also, as part of an Advent Pause I am here to complain about The Nativity. Not the original one which is beyond reproach. I am talking about some of the modern ones.
A school in Chingford has just decided to take all references to Jesus being King out of their Nativity to prevent it being too exclusive. So “Jesus the Saviour” in one Carol has been replaced with “Jesus the Baby” and “New King born today.” has been replaced with “A baby born today”. (On top of everything else, these are rubbish lines that could be part of the theme tune to “One Born Every Minute, they are so naff). Apparently, it was all done after consultation with local church where someone needs to be re-thinking their life choices. I mean I am quite happy to spread my wings with a Nativity. I have seen them with astronauts, steel bands and once with Puff the Magic Dragon. (We all felt that teacher maybe needed to look at what Puff the Magic Dragon actually was and then ask herself if a song extolling soft drugs is quite the thing for five year olds to be singing)
But – it it what it is. And if it’s not about Jesus being King/Lord/Saviour, then it’s not a Nativity and you need to be telling another story. I saw one about flowers once – it was rubbish and a little red headed girl sustained a nasty plastic daffodil injury – but at least it was honest. You can’t pick the bits of the story that you like and ignore the rest. CS Lewis, in this famous paragraph, puts it much better than me (Obviously)
‘ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
See? Title? Got there in the end. Phew!
And, if churches aren’t prepared to stand up for this and lily-livered, half baked Christians like me are the last line of defence for the Gospel, then goodness knows where this is going to end.
Here ends A Rant in Advent. Be Blessed.
Before I go – I am not sure that I will blog this week. It’s Aged Parent’s move week as you know and there is a lot going on. I may or may not emerge intact. She is excited though and I leave you with our exchange about how up for it she is. I tell you no secrets – there were five people in the room.
Me HOH has been up to the flat and the decorating is great and the carpets are all cleaned. It looks fab.
AP Oooh. Don’t get me all excited. I have lots of wind in my belly and I don’t know what might happen.
Have a good week.