[NOTE TO REGULAR READERS: Next post here is slated for after the Christmas/New Year/Kiwi Holiday Season, 14 January 2013.]
Oh dear. Taken aback as I am by the habit of a certain Primate not mentioning the name of Jesus - and it is a habit (see now a report of her trip to Jerusalem this Christmas)** - I am undelighted to note that one of our own Primates (we have three, with commendable analogy to The Three!!) has produced the Christmas message for our church which mentions 'Christ' precisely ONCE. As in the greeting, "My dear brothers and sisters in Christ," (full text here at Taonga).
Now there is an element of explanation in that ++Winston Halapua, our Suva based Primate is writing from Apia, Samoa, in the aftermath of the terrible storm which has blown through Samoa and Fiji wreaking havoc and devastation. Most of the message recounts the situation those islands face. Yet there is an ability in the message to pause and recall the feats of the Samoan rugby team, so maybe there could have be a pause to recall a little more of the reason for the season.
By contrast, I think ++Fred Hiltz of Canada gets it mostly right. Although a commenter here draws attention to his using the phrase 'the Christ child' and not the name of Jesus, I think in the context of such public statements 'Christ' or 'Jesus' is naming our Saviour. Even better, his message takes us to Jesus/the Christ child in the stable and lingers there with him in reflection and worship. Something the other primatial messages I am drawing attention to do not.
Anyway, this is my final post for 2012 and I am going to try very hard to have a decent blogging holiday and thus predict the next post will be around 14 January 2013. Memo to Anglican land: no crises for three+ weeks.
Thank you for reading here, for commenting here, and for being part of an endeavour to work out what it means to be the Anglican church in the world today.
The other day I heard a lovely definition of the church: an ongoing argument about how we should follow Jesus.*
That is what happens here: an ongoing argument about how Anglicans should follow Jesus!
As I write we have another wonderful summer's day here in Christchurch. If the sun shines before Christmas in NZ - it does not always do so - then we are in for a long, hot summer.
My very best wishes to you all as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and welcome in a new year, counted from the coming of Jesus into our world. May Jesus be the Name we adore!
*This is my colleague, Rev. Spanky (Joshua) Moore's pithy version of Healy, 'The church can be understood within a theodramatic horizon as the locus and embodiment of a set of ongoing argyments about how to best witness to Jesus Christ and to follow him in true discipleship', cited in Moynagh, Church for Every Context, SCM, 2012, p. 440. (original from Healy, Nicholas M., Church, World and Christian Life. Practical-Prophetic Ecclesiology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 74).
**[UPDATED UPDATE] I gladly acknowledge, courtesy of a commenter below [two posts below this post], that the published sermon of ++Jefferts Schori (in Jerusalem, Christmas Eve, 2012) is a much, much better example of how one readily uses the name of Jesus, acknowledges the God we meet in Jesus Christ, and the work of God made manifest through the birth and life of Jesus. Must have been reading here ... :)