Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury and martyr (d.1170).
The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. O come, let us worship. Alleluia
Thomas Becket 1120-1170 was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 until his murder in 1170. Here, Becket's assassination and funeral are depicted on a enamelled reliquary made by Master Alpais in Limoges c.1190. Musée de Cluny, Paris.
The point of telling infancy stories about the one who was to die bravely and mightily rise is to remind us that we are invited to a relationship with the divine that is never built on force. It is built on vulnerability, intimacy, and complete trust.
This is not to reduce the Christian religion to a club for innocuous ne'er-do-wells whose integrity is fulfilled only when they fail or someone uses them for a doormat. Intimacy, trust, and vulnerability take lots of work. Christians must engage what is amiss in our culture, and do so nonviolently. Vulnerability requires courage. The starving and undereducated children of the world need our constant care.
The news at Christmas is that in vulnerability there can be community. In trust can be found the power of God. In simple honesty with ourselves about ourselves, grace can ﬂourish. In swallowing pride and accepting forgiveness from God or one another, a new creation can take place. What God wants from us before all else is love. The rest will follow.
Almighty God and Father of light,
Tomas Luis de Victoria (1548-1611). Quem vidistis pastores. Continuum, dir. Adrian Peacock.
May the Lord, who has called out of darkness into his marvellous light, bless us and fill us with peace. Amen.