Monday 20 December 2021

First anniversary of Deborah's death

The banner was launched today at Trapezium Arts, 58 Kirkgate, Bradford BD1 1QT; it was a pleasure to go over there for this.  She would have so liked the whole project.  It will be on display in the window there during its Christmas / New Year break until towards the end of January.

Friday 17 December 2021

I am the Alpha, Omicron and Omega

On a recent All Age Worship Sunday, children decorated a priest’s stole for use at Christmas. The Bible reading (from the beginning of Revelation) had identified Jesus as ‘the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end’, which is what I explored and what they then picked up. It has provided me with the theme for public messages at Christmas, first the 300 words I’m only very occasionally asked to supply for the Keighley News, which yesterday published: 

Our word ‘alphabet’ comes from the opening letters of the Greek alphabet, Alpha and Beta. Who would have thought that the names of so many of the letters of that alphabet would be in such common use through 2021? 

Each time scientists identify a new version of the Covid virus, it is given the name of one of them. Early on, the most feared variant was the one given their letter Delta. In the last few weeks the variant making us take such care is the one given their letter Omicron. 

Now, it is strange that the Greek alphabet actually has two letters O. There is one which they called the tiny-O or the micro-O. This is Omicron. It comes in their alphabet just where we’d expect to find our O. The other they called the huge-O or the mega-O. This is Omega. They made it the very last letter of their alphabet. 

The readers of the last book of the Christian Bible knew this. They read ‘Jesus is the Alpha and Omega’, the writer picking up the first and last letters of the alphabet. Jesus, he says, is at the beginning and end of all things. 

Before the universe began, God already was. After the universe has ended, God will still be. Before we were born, God knew us. After we die, God will still find us. Before anything threatens us, God was with us. After we have gone through the worst, God will still be alongside us. 

As this Christmas comes, I am suddenly glad to know about these letters and how they are being used. Jesus comes among as the eternal Alpha and Omega. He places himself vulnerable as a human being to every variation of human trouble. He will be with us through Omicron and beyond.

I’m considering venturing something similar at one of our Midnight Communion services, which may come out a bit like: 

There is no variant of the joys and sorrows we face which God does not already enfold; there is nothing we can spell out about any of these which God does not already speak.