brighter on the inside

22 12 2015

[a spoken word piece I wrote for our Carols by Candlelight service]

the light shines in the darkness, John tells us,
and the darkness cannot – cannot – overcome it
the light
the light
that stands beyond time
pierces through time
measures time

my son asked me other other day
daddy, what is a light year?
the gears in my brain creaked and rumbled and I said
i thought erm I should know hang what would granddad say
a light year is the distance it takes light to travel in a year
which brian cox would be proud of

and as I said it blew my mind that
a) light travels
b) my mind unravelled as i realised that
c) we measure distance by light

suddenly everything has got complicated
park that thought
we’re supposed to be talking about a god endangered
unstable in a stable cradle
truth mixed up with fable
and then we just go home, right?

It’s just… the light
light that measures time itself
unveiling the cosmos
spinning through the universe
in the beginning God created the world with a word
and the light was born
and shone
and shines
shines now brighter than ever before
the light is here appearing
embodied enfleshed he who controls space and time
is time
arrives just in time
to save the world
with his big heart – well actually hearts, he has two
hang on, I’m getting confused with Dr Who 40953683_tardis203

Who, who spins through time a small blue box
which is itself a timely paradox
because the one things we know about the Doctor’s TARDIS is
it’s bigger on the inside
it’s bigger than it looks

so bear with me here and indulge my crazy thought
because i don’t think we’re as far from the manger
as we ought
to be
the tiny baby the newborn son
all cute and screamy with a dirty bum
and a beautiful smile
so fragile
yet all eternity is held in that baby-soft skin

to look into his eyes is like opening the door of the tardis
you’d just be blown away

Mary did you know…?

He’s not a time lord
but he is the Lord of time
he is not light
but he is the Lord of light and all the distance it travels

and yet there’s a danger of being over-triumphant
coming out in an enthusiastic rant
because the reason the light shines so brightly is
the dark is so very, very dark
out there in time and space
the world the child embraced
as he embraced his mother
is so very very dark

Jesus born into an over-taxed authoritarian system
ruled by a king who collected up all the other babies in Bethlehem
and killed them
as Mary and Joseph with Jesus had to flee
to Egypt where they were middle-eastern refugees
which is another timely paradox
without a blue box
to protect it from reality

the world we live is a dark dark place at times
and at christmas we can pretend everything shimmers and shines
when it doesn’t, it really doesn’t
and the stupid irony is
that instead of the tinsel and glitz
the whole point of christmas is
the darkness of a world that needs saving
the emptiness of a world that is craving
Syria, Paris, the crisis of ISIS
can’t be solved by banter with Santa
and a comedy jumper
but only by the light
that looks so fragile like a tiny wick
that flickers
in the slightest wind

but look carefully closely deeply
open the door and look
it’s brighter on the inside
this light of the world
the wick that flickers
burns brighter than a million candles
more than we could handle

so we’ve travelled on a timeline
unravelled through space
following light from its source in the heavens
to a place in time
to a baby that cries and whines
and yet holds the divine timeline
in its eyes
it’s that baby again

a god endangered
unstable in a stable cradle
truth is born to turn the tables
on darkness
in a most unexpected way.

The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness cannot overcome it
because the same Jesus
was raised from the dead and won it

© 2015 Kevin Lewis



economical with prayer

25 09 2011

I believe in an interventionist God. Which means that I believe God interferes with the natural order of things every now and then. But in a unique and often misunderstood way.

Superheroes are interventionist. They drop in, tackle the bad guys and leave. Doctor Who is interventionist. He flies around messing with worlds and saving humanity and leaving. Mercenaries are interventionist. They will intervene wherever depending on the contract.

Image from ASBO Jesus

God is different. Because his intervention is relational. From Abraham to present day and most obviously in the person of Jesus, God prefers to be embedded, involved, entangled. Incarnate. So swooping in from the Bat Cave or the Tardis or wherever, intervening to knock a train back onto the rails or catch a falling piano before it crushes a child is not really his scene.

Though he breaks his own rules. So he does do that. Which makes him complicated.

Today I saw a headline stating the EU was “praying for a miracle”. This is the God many people would like God to be. Mostly silent and undemanding, but available to rescue us when we truly cock things up. The ultimate super-sub you hope you don’t need but keep on the bench just in case.

Will God provide a miracle to rescue the world economy? Will Greece suddenly discover on Monday morning they have enough money to cover their debts? Would that be a worthwhile intervention from God? After all, the poor who’s jobs and savings are most at risk will benefit.

Or maybe God has already intervened. When he gave us minds to think and hearts to feel. When he gave us consciences and ethics and the ability to think in community. That so many of us have chosen to ignore that and gamble our money or spend money we don’t have – personal or sovereign – and get into unmanageable debt does not put any obligation on God to “sort it out”. Does it?

I believe in an interventionist God. But not one that works to formulas or demands or contracts. One that is already intervening because he is here, embedded and incarnate. He lives in us who call ourselves church, and if we are his body we need to be doing what he would do. Putting ourselves in dangerous positions challenging the ruling elite, giving up our own wealth and time for people we don’t know who are being beaten up by the system we are a part of, loving God and our neighbour more than we love our own families and our security.

God has heard our very economical prayer. But he won’t sign a short-term contract. He’s in it for life. Are we?

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