On Wednesday I was privileged to attend a Voting Day breakfast at Parliament for the electronic launch of the 125 update of ‘Women Together’, edited by Anne Else. To get to the new edition, try https://nzhistory.govt.nz/women-together. I helped with the religion chapter. It was quite special to be there on that day when I knew my two great grandmothers and a great-great aunt who had signed the petition, had presumably voted on that very day 125 years ago, for the first time. I looked them up to celebrate the connection and found they have been credited with the wrong country district on the database! (I alerted the National Library – no wonder we hadn’t been able to find them).
Going to the other end of the family, we just heard this week that my one and only great niece, Noa, (named for a young girl in the First Testament – no, there is not an ‘h’ missing from her name!) is making her first trip to Paris. She is no more than 4 months old! Roger commented that no doubt, knowing the family to which she belongs, she will collect stamps on her passport like others used to collect postage stamps. (Though these days you don’t always get a stamp on your passport anymore either!)
It’s a contrast between that journey from Brooklyn N.Y. to Paris, and the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. One on a plane, one on a donkey; one with a passport, one without, though both would be provided with adequate nourishment en route!
Noa, it seems to me, (her cautious baby boomer great aunt), is so new in this world that travelling that far is a big ask. Malcolm Guite’s poem ‘Kenosis’ is about the newness of the baby we await each Advent.
In sleep his infant mouth works in and out.
He is so new, his silk skin has not yet
been roughed by plane and wooden beam
nor, so far, has he had to deal with human doubt.
He is in a dream of nipple found,
of blue-white milk, of curving skin
and, pulsing in his ear, the inner throb
of a warm heart’s repeated sound.
His only memories float from fluid space.
So new he has not pounded nails, hung a door
broken bread, felt rebuff, bent to the lash,
wept for the sad heart of the human race.
We can lapse into the sentimentality of the birth of a newborn and forget this newborn is the man who challenges us to live aright in a world gone mad. This Advent, let’s hold the creative tension between those two opposites. Remember the comment Kate Sheppard made – that each single vote is like a single drop of rain, each is needed. What each of us do individual is needed for the whole.
Sunday we are doing everything – the rainbow room play, ordaining and commissioning, conversing and communing. It will be good to see you there.
To view the full e-news click here : https://mailchi.mp/3ace233b2ad6/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-1437429