Mind your head!

The entrance door to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was among the very many things that touched me deeply when I first visited the Holy Land twenty-one years ago. Why this particular door? Because it’s tiny. Most adults are required to stoop to half-height to gain access and many are the cries of “mind your head” – though the entrance itself seems to suggest precisely the opposite.

The door seemed to be saying “Come down from your lofty heights! Worthy Magi, wisdom-seekers all, get down from your camels. Come, by all means, whoever you are and from wherever you’ve travelled, offer your gifts gladly and quietly. But pay less mind to what goes on in that head of yours! This place is about wisdom of the heart, known only by persons willing to bend the knee, to stoop, to enter in to the cradle of a quite different and very particular kind of “nativity”, an epiphany Now: veritable adoration, wondrous contemplation, most glorious meditation, healing and restoration, Otherness-in-ordinariness.

Some Carol words come to mind: “Do you hear what I hear?”

This nativity is about a baby, and about all babies, about the baby – the promise and potential – at the heart and in the soul of everyone, everywhere, and so about you and me. This is Emmanuel-revelation, a manifestation: something in littleness that all of us need to see, and to be … “Till we cast our crowns before thee, lost [and thereby found] in wonder, love and praise” *

* from Charles Wesley’s hymn: Love divine, all loves excelling

Throwing dust

Writing the poem gave the inner world
where I was focused a stronger sense of
reality, the way throwing dust on the
Invisible Man reveals his presence.

Glo Lamson

Since the business of the poet is that of “making something” it has long been natural for me to think of God as the Divine Poet, the underlying source and life in all things, seen and unseen. Poets bring the invisible before our eyes. Glo Lamson has drawn my eye in a vivid poetic way to incarnation, to both the reason and the way life is revealed – in us and in all the physical world.

We humans often speak of our need to see God, or art, or love, or one another – we believe in anything, in part, when it is rendered visible to us, even whilst understanding “blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed” – John 20.29 KJV. But the Divine Artist is a generous poet, a beneficent maker of works of art, to appeal and to reveal to all created senses. So reality becomes focused, as Glo Lamson has it, “the way throwing dust on the Invisible Man reveals his presence.”

The otherwise invisible Life is rendered visible, incarnated, in ‘adamah – divinely shaped earth: care-fully placed vivified dust.