Posted by: owizblog | December 12, 2017

There Are No Insular Islands Any More… Thought for the Day, BBC Radio Scotland,

Every year I get it. “This’ll be your busy time, Minister.” I’m tempted to grump “Yes, the rest of the year I lounge in a deckchair in the Manse, under a sunlamp, sipping Pina Coladas…” But they mean well. Everybody’s frantically busy at Christmas. It’s empathy. So I rein in my grumpiness, and smile.

And anyway, shouldn’t what makes Ministers grumpy at Christmas be the mad consumption, the way we’re all turned into consumers?

Yet Jesus spotlights not consumption, but production – not what we take in, but what we put out. “Nothing outside us can defile us by going into us. It’s what comes out of us that defiles…” says Jesus.

This year saw major reports about how we are polluting the earth, and especially the oceans. Plastic in the ocean lasts for hundreds of years, slowly ground down by wave action and ultraviolet light to form tiny particles which, ingested, poison fish and marine mammals. Bigger items, eaten as food, can choke and kill. And we eat the fish, and nobody knows what plastic’s long-term effects might be on us.

Tiny Henderson Island, in the South Pacific, five thousand miles from the nearest city; it sounds like a remote idyll, but the South Pacific Gyre, a huge, circling current, draws in millions of discarded plastic items, and dumps them on its beaches – four and a half thousand pieces of plastic pollution per square metre. “No man is an island, entire of itself” said John Donne. Henderson Island reminds us that we are profoundly connected to each other, and to the world we share.

Christmas, for all of us, is about connection – our connection to each other, as friends, as families, as a global human family. From a Christian faith-perspective, it’s all about God’s healing connection with us, and with creation, in Christ – the restoring and mending of what was sullied and spoiled. But for all of us, Christmas, instead of endorsing relentless production for desperate consumption, unsustainable pollution and waste, can be a joyous protest against it.

Busy time? Pah! I love it!

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