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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, December 22, 2002
    Punk nativity
    Excellent! Unwittingly, I created the opportunity today to turn the annual church nativity PUNK! The idea was around a meditation on the baby Jesus' nappy and the phrase, "where are you pinning your hopes this Christmas?" On Wayne Rooney to score the winner at Anfiled this afternoon (which, in retrospect, he very very nearly did)? On Stephen Gerrard (who ought to have been sent off for violent conduct)? On winning the lottery? Or, like Mary after she'd thought about the angel's words awhile, on Jesus?

    To provide the congregation the opportunity to demonstrate that they had chosen to pin their hopes on Jesus, I sent out two baskets, lined with nappy linen and full of safety pins, inviting each person to take a pin if that was indeed their intention.

    Ade, he of the spiked-up, bleached hair, who doesn't come to church that often, sat in the middle of the congregation thinking about this, and when the pins reached him he took one, and promptly pinned it THROUGH HIS EAR. Ladies around him had to be rescued from fainting. Tonight, I'm told by those close to him, he's still walking around proudly wearing it.

    The really impressive thing about Ade's gesture was that he'd done some theology around it. He'd reasoned that as we're created flesh and blood in God's image and Jesus was flesh and blood it would be most appropriate to attach the pin through flesh rather than leave it loosely hanging from a lapel. He may only be an occasional churchgoer but he'd taken it seriously and worked damn hard at it today. Wonderful.