2015 in Jerusalem

I’ve appreciated your feedback on Jesus the Child We Worship; some people have told me of their overall experiences of using the readings day by day, others have highlighted an insight from one day or another that has set them thinking in a fresh way.

I hope your experience of my 2014 Advent book was worthwhile.

I had a double experience in 2014. I read Jesus the Child We Worship each morning during Advent with my wife Rae and responded to the Let us Play sessions together. It was good to experience the book as a reader rather than its author!

In addition, I read ahead to the readings for Advent 2015 and wrote reflections for each morning — the beginnings of another book. The focus for the readings is emerging as the judgement of Jerusalem. An early idea for a title is The End of the Party City.

I would find it a great help if you could let me know whether you would be interested in the idea of another book for Advent this year. Your comments below will be a guide.

Getting ready for the Advent journey – getting the book!

Next Sunday, the Advent journey begins.

If you’re well prepared and read ahead, there are some things in Jesus the Child We Worship to ponder when you come to Church on Advent Sunday. There’s also a reflection for St Andrew’s Day, which happens to fall on Sunday as well (although our lectionary gives you the option to transfer St Andrew to Monday December 1). You may like to read the first few pages this week, so that you won’t be swamped come Sunday.

Or, you may just like to take the readings as they come. The book will work that way too.

I have only a few print copies left. Click on BUYING THE BOOK (https://adventbook.wordpress.com/buying-the-book/) to access the internet order form.

Likewise, St John’s Books (http://www.stjohnsbooks.com.au/ or phone 08 9335 1982) have nearly exhausted their supply too.

Click on http://www.stjohnsbooks.com.au/product_info.php?products_id=6173 to go direct to the book.

Call into the shop in Highgate Court, Queen Street, Fremantle, to collect them in person.

Otherwise buy the E-BOOK in the version that suits your device. Click on https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/453685. The e-book costs $US 3.99, and I’ve tried it both on the Kindle and the i-Pad. It works well for daily reading and looks good in both formats. Email me (adventbook2014@gmail.com) for an email version if you really don’t want to use the Smashwords site.

Kindle screen shot

Kindle screen shot

Healing Childhood Wounds and Finding the Christ-Child

Archbp launchesLaunch of Jesus the Child We Worship

by The Most Reverend Roger Herft AM, Archbishop of Perth

at the St John of God Retreat Centre, Safety Bay

Saturday 11 October 2014

It is a particular honour to be invited to launch this Advent meditation, Jesus the Child We Worship, complied prayerfully, experientially and with scholarly devotion by The Reverend Ted Witham.

It is indeed providential that on the day we launch this Advent series the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to two individuals who have made the life of children their life’s work.

Malala Yousafzai, the young girl who while travelling to school in a bus in rural Pakistan defying a Taliban order was shot in the head. Close to death she survived. Her courageous young life is devoted to the education of children, particularly girls.

Kailash Satyarthi, the peaceful protester in India, has stood out against the exploitation of children in slave labour, child prostitution, child marriage and the sexual, economic and social violence against children.

A Muslim and a Hindu, Pakistani and Indian, worlds apart even though they are neighbours. United – brought together in the quest for peace, for the wellbeing of children around the world. It is not surprising that Ted has a section on the courage of Malala.

Ted Witham’s meditations recognise what Rowan Williams observes: “The cry to God as father in the New Testament is not a calm acknowledgement of a universal truth about God’s abstract ‘fatherhood’; it is the child’s cry out of a nightmare”.

Ted invites us through the readings in Advent to discover the wounded child in each of us. The wounds, the hurt, the losses, the grief that if unresolved cause us as adolescents and adults to wound others.

Ted invites us to enter into the wounded lives of children in our world through the Scriptures.

Advent is usually associated with the four last things – heaven, hell, death and the Last Judgement. The truth of our mortality.

Ted reminds us that the Season of Advent, the beginning of the church’s year, is the God who comes from the future reshaping our past, renewing our present. Focus on ‘natality’ – new beginnings.

This birthing is described by Meister Eckhart: “In this birth we will discover all blessing, but neglect this birth and you neglect all blessing. Tend only to this birth in you and you will find, all goodness, consolation, all delight, all being and all truth.”

The glory of the Child of Bethlehem is the power of wonder, of imagination, of repentance.

Ted calls us to become like children, to enter into the excitement of drawing, of crayons and clay, of playfulness and pantomime, of dressing up and dressing down – the deductive and the inductive form of learning.

Some years ago at the midnight service at St George’s Cathedral as the procession approached the Buy this bookSanctuary – incense billowing, Holy water ready to be sprinkled, the words for the blessing of the crib printed to be pronounced – it was discovered that the vergers had forgotten to put the crib into place. The place set aside under the altar was empty. One deacon whispered “Bless it Archbishop, no-one will notice that the baby is missing.” “Yes,” whispered the other, “it does not matter if the child is missing.”

One thing is sure, Ted Witham’s Advent meditations remind us that we miss the child to our peril. Come let us take the journey to worship Jesus the child.

Photos: Courtesy The Rev’d Sally Buckley tssf

Be Born in Us, We Pray

Archbishop Roger Herft launches "Jesus the Child We Worship".

Archbishop Roger Herft AM launched Jesus the Child We Worship at an informal function during the Franciscan Convocation at the St John of God Retreat Centre in Shoalwater on October 11.

In introducing Jesus the Child We Worship to a small crowd of Third Order members and other friends, Archbishop Roger was generous in his description of the meditations. He said that rather than focus on the theme of mortality, the meditations use the four last things (heaven, hell, death and judgement) to focus on new life; on the ways in which God’s life comes from the future to be born in us in the present. The Archbishop described this emphasis as natality.

Earlier in Convocation, Tertiaries had floated the possibility of staging a nativity crèche with a live baby, and clergy present traded many anecdotes about nativity scenes with missing babies, or such tiny dolls for babies that they were invisible. Using the readings in Jesus the Child We Worship will help readers find the Christ-Child! Kath David Ken_sml

By the end of the launch, all copies of the meditations that had been brought to the day had been sold — but more are available here.

A Little Gem

Cover ebookJesus the Child We Worship

Review by The Rev’d Chris Albany

in The Anglican Messenger, October 2014

This book is a little gem that while designed for individual devotions could easily be adapted by those with children as the basis for family Advent devotions. In these meditations Ted Witham tssf creatively links the daily lectionary readings with ordinary events of daily life and also some of the major issues that confront us in the 21st Century world.

We benefit from Ted’s Biblical scholarship as he provides historical and cultural insights into the daily readings and helps us make connections with our own experience. The linking of the readings with the nitty gritty of our lives is incarnational theology at its best. Just as significant, perhaps even more so, is the way that Ted encourages us to use a variety of media: music, art, clay, writing, play, to get in touch with our inner child with all of our senses.  “With all of me,” as Anna of Mister God, This is Anna would say. Ted speaks not only yo our own inner child but also to the inner Christ-child, the Christ within.

Through the daily invitation in response to the meditations, “Let us play”, the author invites us to allow this unique Child to lead us out of ourselves into a larger reality. The wisdom and creativity of this little book reflect the author’s ministerial experience in Christian Education, nurture and formation over many years.

Jesus the Child we Worship will help those who use it to arrive at Christmas ready to celebrate with faith and hope and love enhanced. I commend it warmly.

Available through St John’s Books, Fremantle and from the author.

Chris Albany, Parish Priest.