Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Emmanuel

Two rather unpleasant fluey days have passed in rest and quietness, with only small improvement to show for it. I've to cancel my plans to take communion out to Hilda, Angela and Peggy tomorrow, also the early evening Eucharist at school. I've also postponed a wedding rehearsal until Sunday, leaving me with just three big services to survive. That will be possible because of the help and support of regular ministry team members. The individual communion are less easy to arrange cover for at short notice, but at least I can get messages to the people concerned. It just remains to be seen how much voice I have tomorrow - all the more reason to be sure to pick up re-chargeable batteries and get them 'cooked' in good time.

Today's news reports that reported incidences of 'flu are up 75% on last year, first jump in 8 years. Not epidemic, but the pundits say we're overdue for a pandemic, and that global warming is one of the cocktail of factors that will make this inevitable. With more than half the world's population living in crowded urban conditions, poor and rich alike will be caught up in a pandemic almost as quick as the news spreads around the world - because of our high speed mass mobility. How much we all love our jaunts by 'plane to far-off places. Yet, this adds to global warming as it does to disease transmission. It's like we're sleepwalking to our doom.

Aleem Maqbool has been spending the past ten days walking from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the steps of Mary and Joseph, with a succession of donkeys - it's recommended reading on Palestine and Israel from the inside by an outsider documented on the BBC website. Aleem is a Brit. Muslim? Not sure. He hasn't really declared himself, which is probably just as well, as his blog, pictures and video footage are there for every nutter or both sides to view. So far the Israeli security forces have looked after him, albeit with a degree of curiosity about his mission, and he is telling stories from every angle, either side of the security divide. It's been a journey through lonely difficult places with encounters on the way, before arriving at the commercialised heart of it all. Where's Emmannuel now? We may well wonder. Still in the quiet and lonely places, still ready to welcome those whose hearts are open, and ready to receive power to become God's children, born of the Spirit. Everything else changes, but this much doesn't.

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