Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Haiku 2012

beneath the wrappings,
tinsel, and a turkey bone
Christ can still be found

... and for the younger generation ...

beneath the wrappings,
tinsel, and a turkey bone
Christ can still be phoned

There is a certain phonetic similarity in the endings.
Christmas Greetings to All ... Enjoy special time with family and friends.

Richard Scutter Christmas 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nativity - James McAuley

The thin distraction of a spider's web
collects the clear cold drops of night.
Seeds falling on the water spread
a rippling target for the light.

The rumour in the ear now murmurs less,
the snail draws in its tender horn,
the heart becomes a bare attentiveness,
and in that bareness light is born.

James McAuley
A spider's web is thin and it does distract ... usually distracting insects rather than water ... but at night time in the dark it picks up droplets of moisture ... and of course these are most attractive when sunlight falls on them in the early morning ... but it is night time so we can not see the web as it picks up the drops ... just as we can not see any seeds that happen to fall on any water that is around ... they are a target for the light when it comes ... a moving target, especially if the water is a fast flowing stream ... but these are all the happenings in the night unseen.

Why the choice of seeds instead of say leaves?

The ear takes precedent at night for sight is meaningless ... the sounds that signify the coming dawn are indications of the end of night ... these sounds diminish - murmur less ... and any snails that happen to be sliding around now must draw in their horns ... and then there is that instant of attentiveness by the heart ... perhaps the heart of life in nature ... expectant, waiting for the first rays of light to break ... and light is born

... but why is the birth of light ... which happens on a daily basis ... equated to nativity - the royal birth of Christ which happened many years ago?

Well it is up to you to explore this connection and give your thoughts. Christ and light an interesting subject for discussion.

Incidently, all objects contain light on the electromagnetic spectrum (I think this is right, depending on temperature) ... and infra-red cameras are used to take images at nightime of otherwise unseen matter.

James McAuley was a stong catholic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas and the virgin birth

Christmas is fast approaching. Of course it is a time for family, giving, and celebration but perhaps for some too it is also a time to reflect on the incarnation and the implications of this one fact on mankind. It raises the question of a virgin birth - its importance in the way we view the universe - and fundamentally whether we believe it as a concrete fact in the history of procreation.

… but first a light-hearted poem on that apple issue and what it was really like before children arrived ...

A Mother-In-Law Problem

it is not a well-known fact
that Eve won the Miss Universe Contest
three years running!

it was planned out from the beginning
the whole thing ribbed from above
stage-managed to perfection

nobody said she was one in a million
so she always took top honours
the decision a one-off personal affair
how could Adam vote for another
for he had magnetic affinity for dark hair
and he couldn't vote for an unseen blonde

but the fourth year Adam simply had to abstain
it was all Eve's doing in the cookery department
an unwise decision to make apple pie
for how could she emulate her Mother-in-law
when the recipe wasn't God-given,
perhaps she just thought she could do better!

a bit unfair on poor old Adam though -
for he never ever looked at another woman
and always treated her as his very own body

so now we're all eating Eve's humble pie
and whether we realize we're married or not
we can blame the Mother-in-law for dictating our lot

Richard Scutter 7 May 2010
Original sin – perhaps just a simple mother-in-law problem!
On the virgin birth

Evolution theory and the work of Darwin have given an acceptable understanding on the origin and development of species. There would be few today that would believe in a God that acts in such a dramatic obvious way as to remove a rib overnight and startle you with a new partner for your bed, and to boot one without clothes!
So how does a virgin birth measure up in the eyes of the thinking person? Well it wouldn’t happen again without making the news!

Consider the implications on Christian thought if it is discovered that Jesus in fact had normal origins. Would God be a lesser God in not understanding life from the perspective of human existence? Would our own personal relationship with God be any different? Would God still exist as that on-going power to perfect life?

There are many in the world with no understanding or acceptance of the virgin birth - is God a lesser influence in their lives?

It is worth noting that such thoughts were far from the mind of the early Christian thinkers. Their interest in Christ’s person was not philosophical and speculative, but religious and evangelical. They speak of Christ, not as a metaphysical problem, but as a divine Saviour; and all they say about His person is prompted by their desire to glorify him through exhibiting his work and vindicating His centrality in the redemptive purpose of God. They never attempt to dissect the mystery of his person; it is enough for them to proclaim the incarnation as a fact, one of the sequences of mighty works where God has wrought salvation.
The exclusiveness of this evangelical interest throws light on the otherwise puzzling fact that the New Testament nowhere reflects on the virgin birth as witnessed to the conjunction of deity and manhood in His person - a line of thought much canvassed in later theology. This silence need not mean that any of the New Testament writers were ignorant of the virgin birth, as some have supposed. It is sufficiently explained by the fact that the New Testament interest is focused elsewhere, upon His relation to the saving purposes of God (see the footnote below for reference to this text.)
So as Christmas approaches perhaps there is time to think on implications of this one fact on the human condition - and on our own life.


The New Bible Dictionary (Incarnation: Standpoint of the New Testament Writers) Inter-Varsity Press ISBN 0 85110 608 0

My God is too small not to believe in this one great all defining miracle.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent Calendar - Rowan Williams

 Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like the frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

Rowan Williams

My interpretation ...

The title ... ADVENT CALENDAR ... the reader may at first think this is to do with Christmas and the Christian Calendar ... but what is the most important event in Christianity ... the most important event for one like Rowan Williams who reveres the Christian philosophy and Christianity with such passion? ...... this must be the second coming of Christ.

What will this second coming be like in comparison with the sorry state of the world?

The first 3 Stanzas ...

consider the attributes of a second coming in relation to the normal calendar which we take as inevitable ... i.e. that winter follows Autumn ...

look at the first lines of each of these stanzas ... gently like a fall of a leaf like a deep frost ... at the end of the day like night ... and this will be unexpected

the beautiful wording and metaphors in each of these stanzas mirror against the state of the corrupt and fallen world so absolutely alien to Christ ... how can words be used to compare the fallen world experiencing perfection and beauty ... Rowan finds some magic words ... for example soft shroud's folding / sword-set beauty / star-snowed fields of sky

He will come when he is needed ... when the world hungers and thirsts for his very presence ...

The last stanza brings a dramatic conclusion ...

... he will come ... he will come ... he will come ... this is inevitable just as one day follows the next ... he will come in pain and crying out ... like a pregnancy ... Christ will return (be born) ... like a new born baby ... and the world will breathe delight from the heavens ... the joy of mother and baby (something only a mother can know) ... and again Christmas approaches.

Thought ... perhaps he comes with every child birth.
Footnote ... Rowan Williams ends his term as archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Anointing Ann Anonymous

Anointing Ann Anonymous

when she was a child
and she was quite sure
that no one was looking
she picked up a stick
to scratch in concrete
                                 ‘I was here’

each day
as she walked to school
she would see her work
and laugh to herself
no one would know it was her

in her teenager years
she had that teenage crush
and melting against his name
cleared the dust on his car
with words that only she could write
      ‘I love you’

She thought he really knew
but she would never tell,
in later years
when thinking about him
she would laugh inside
with a little embarrassment

she had a long and ordinary life
a husband, children
and memories to drown
and if she could paint the sky
these would be her words
     ‘life is beautiful’
before she died
and with a knowing smile
she left these words
especially for you …

     ‘I was here
      I love you
      life is beautiful’
© Ann Anonymous

Richard Scutter 7 May 2011

The following poem was included in the Yass Valley Writers anthology ... Voices From the Valley.