‘And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.’ (John 1.14)
This verse from John’s gospel, which we often hear during Advent, is a reminder of God’s desire, through Jesus, to be incarnational, to live alongside us, to share in our hopes and dreams as well as our struggles and disappointments.
Interestingly, it’s the Greek word ‘eskenosen’ (literally: tabernacled) which forms the basis for the translation ‘lived among us’ but which is actually closer in meaning to ‘pitched his tent among us’. Therefore, as Christians we can wholeheartedly affirm that God, in Jesus, pitched a tent alongside us. Not six feet above contradiction, but down on the ground, sleeves rolled up, amid the highs and lows of humanity. So as Jesus’ followers, how can we do the same? How can we be incarnational? How can we pitch our tents alongside others and share something of God’s desire for relationship with all?
Well, a number of people from our church, along with folks from Wesley Methodist Church, did just that on the Saturday
before Pentecost. As part of Thy Kingdom Come we pitched a tent in the Outer Close of the Cathedral alongside the tents of other churches and Christians. The sole aim was to be present as God’s people amongst the bustle of everyday life, and to celebrate God’s goodness with all.
The weather was perfect, the atmosphere was buzzing, and the setting was sublime. And people came – lots of people! Whether drawn by energetic music, a welcoming and inclusive vibe or the promise of a nice cold smoothie on a hot day … they came. The United and Wesley tent had a bicycle powered smoothie maker, a Fairtrade chocolate fondue, an area for prayer inspired by God’s love for all creation, an Eco Church video presentation, and a graffiti wall where people could share what delights them.
Were we there to recruit, or to compete, or to proselytise? No. We were there simply to be present, as Jesus was present, to be incarnational, to pitch a tent alongside others and to let the Spirit move. ‘… and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.’ Amen.
A massive thank you to everyone who helped plan and support the event – you were awesome!