>The Innocents

>Well – I’m not sure it worked! The Liverpool Nativity was obviously very ambitious but probably fell between the two stools of celebrating Liverpool life and the telling of the Nativity. It was good to see a city celebrating itself (though what say did the citizens have in that?) and the ideal to be “hospitable” was good to highlight. But the plot was naffly political although feasible and lost credibility in trying to be politically relevant. Joseph is an asylum seeker from the beginning, rather than becoming an asylum seeker after Jesus’s birth, and asylum seekers become the target of strong government as opposed to boys under the age of two. I got the feeling that the story was being (ab)used for publicising the Year of Culture. There will be better attempts at retelling the Christmas story in our schools and churches over the next week – including “Come to a Party” – the nativity at Tarvin with so many children enjoying being part of the telling story.

What did come across was the power of government and the vulnerability of the holy family/migrant worker. In today’s Guardian Madeleine Bunting refers to R I Moore’s book on medieval history called “The Formation of a Persecuting Society” suggesting that today’s society is just as likely to be a persecuting society as any. She paralells today’s society with medieval society. One comment (from PetraMB) to her article puts the blame on “the church” but rimbaudbob points out that scapegoating has always been part of human nature, and that Jesus on the cross was scapegoat. Rimbaudbob is saddened that the work of Rene Girard has been ignored on this subject.

The Birth Story Christians treasure is a challenge to how church politics are conducted and how the power should be lived. Only saintly and exceptionally has the challenge been met – but I guess that is also the point of the Christmas story – that we should be so surprised to be so highly favoured, and that God so loves the world that he gives us his life. Why?

I wonder whether persecution is part of wanting to be powerful and whether it’s better to conclude that power is something we can’t really be trusted with. One of the hymns of the early Church praises Jesus for resisting it (Philippians 2:6).

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