the nativity – scouse style

I eschewed church tonight for a night with my feet up hoping to enjoy some Top Gear, and was intrigued to see ‘Liverpool Nativity‘ on BBC3 – described as ‘the Christmas story live in Liverpool as you’ve never seen it before’. It was a powerful performance – imagining the nativity – so sanitised and well known in modern Liverpool. The Salvation Army band marching past playing Christmas carols as Mary and Joseph are abused, issues of asylum, national security, state control reminding us not of the lovely nativity, but of a couple who were outcasts, sleeping rough, baby in a shopping trolley. They did a great job of breathing life back into the nativity, reminding me of the shock and scandal of the coming of Jesus into the world. With the lovely nativity scenes (and even nativity snow globes on offer), we forget about the genocide, the killing of the innocents perpetuated by the ruler of the state, the scandal of a pregnant unmarried couple, their welcome by the outcast unreliable shepherds, by the foreign wise men, and the smell and shit in the animal pen. Into this God came.

Tonight reminded me how the nativity story speaks powerfully into today, how it challenges us on how we treat the outsider, the immigrant, the asylum seeker, the people society despise (the ones God chose to announce then coming of hope and light and life to). The ending was powerful with the city invited to hide the holy family from Herodias and welcome Jesus into their embrace...

[Wasn’t so sure about the use of Imagine by John Lennon that the ‘shepherds’ were singing before the angels came. Although maybe a depressing hopeless song interrupted by the coming of hope makes sense…]

Tonight a holy moment took root again.
I was also reminded again of this great poem from Stocki.

The Eternal focused on a moment
The Voice becomes a listener
The Word becoming flesh and bone
Close enough to whisper
The beyond the world’s comprehension
Moves right into the midst of her
Heaven stoops to touch the earth
Close enough to whisper
Close enough to touch her
Close enough to kiss her
Close enough to be broken
Close enough to whisper
For God so loved the world
He emptied Himself to visit her
Came down to walk beside her
Close enough to whisper
The Eternal focused on a moment
The Voice becomes a listener
The Word becoming flesh and bone
Close enough to whisper.

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2 thoughts on “the nativity – scouse style”

  1. I watched to, from the point of view of an overly critical Drama teacher, and perhaps of an Agnostic sometimes wanting to become a believer.

    I got more from your Blog than I did the programme.

    I love the Beatles but thought the placing of the music bordered on the twee. I thought that the placing of the Political message had enormous potential but their interpretation of Herod became a pantomime Villain rather than a potential political reality. The politics was heavy handed and the potential unfulfilled.

    I loved the idea and was so disappointed by the execution of it…but your blog brought enlightenment to my disappointment.

    Happy Christmas Soapbox

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