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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Girardian medition on the Nine Lessons

Freshly written and, therefore, too late for this year's Carol Services, here is a poetic meditation which draws on the thinking of RenĂ© Girard in interpreting the Bible readings traditionally used in services of Nine Lessons and Carols:

Nine Lessons

Genesis 3: 8–19

Hard labour in birth and work, sweat on our brow,
dirt on our hands. Thorns and thistles to prick and sting,
like death from a serpent's tongue,
till we return to the ground,
ashes to dust and dust to ashes.

Genesis 22: 15–18

A sense of sacrifice required;
the death of children appeasing the divine.
An alternative is found - ram caught in thicket,
wool held by thorns. Animals become
the scapegoats for our sins.

Isaiah 9: 2; 6–7

Light in darkness promised
through the hard labour of the birth of a child.
A child bearing peace and goodwill,
bringing justice and righteousness
without end and without measure.

Isaiah 11: 1–3a; 4a; 6–9

A little child leading us to reconciliation.
From nature red in tooth and claw -
survival of the fittest - to peaceful co-existence.
Carnivores to herbivores, the drawing of the sting
from the serpent's tongue.

Luke 1: 26–35; 38

Highly favoured as the Spirit overshadows.
A virgin birth - subverting patriarchy -
of a son who will not marry or have blood offspring.
The saying of 'yes' to God opening
the way of the family of God to one and all.

Luke 2: 1; 3–7

No room for the Lord of life, Prince of peace.
Space shared with animals kept for sustenance;
the sacrifices of existence and forgiveness.
Born into poverty; the struggle for survival
that this child will one day redeem.

Luke 2: 8–16

Angelic announcement of peace and goodwill
come in the form of the child found
by night workers, swaddled and lying in a manger.
His mother ponders these things -
annunciation, nativity, incarnation - in her heart.

Matthew 2: 1–12

Star following Magi look for the Prince of Peace
in the heart of power and opulence
only to find him in obscurity and humility.
Gifts given prefigure his divinity and sacrifice, the servant King
who, in birth and death, gives his life for others.

John 1: 1–14

Creative word now created, enfleshed, incarnated.
Divine life flowing in and through this child.
Light in darkness, revealing our passion
for power, position and personal gain.
In poverty, a counterpoint is born - compassion.


Boris Ord - Adam Lay Ybounden.

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