A George Frederick Handel and Shane MacGowan Christmas Wish: A better time when all of our dreams come true and the mighty are cast down from their thrones
One of our Occupiers, Joyce, is non-religious, but she made a couple of signs to attract Christians: “WWJD: Occupy” and “WWJD: Not Foreclose.” She didn’t know it, but she was thinking on the same lines as the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams when he stated that, if he were here, Jesus would occupy http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/rowan-williams-jesus-occupy_n_1132724.html). Jesus is in my heart, and he is occupying.
I am one of the members of OM who attends church regularly, and, much to everyone’s amusement, I used to be an Episcopal nun. My theology is a mixture of influences from the 19th century Oxford Movement, Liberation Theology, and Catholic Worker, in case anyone is interested.
Frankly, the consumerism that has attached itself to the Holy Day of Jesus’ birth angers me to no end. I find it ironic and a twisted play laid on us by capitalism that consumerism and buying is used to commemorate the birth of the one who began his ministry by boldly refusing the materialism of “the tempter” in Saint Matthew’s gospel. And, today, when most clothing which the 99% can afford is made in a sweatshop, it would be a good idea to “consider the lily of the fields” instead of what we are going to wear – or buy—this holiday.
I am all about the traditions of the holidays, and, one of the traditions in America is the singing of Handel’s The Messiah. The Messiah actually debuted during Lent, in of all places, Dublin http://www.cantate-choir.info/ProgrammeNotes/0903HandelsMessaiah.php) So, in British-occupied Ireland, during the season when every Tory and supporter of British imperialism should have done (and still should do) severe penance for their utter greed and cruelty, The Messiah debuted and all of Handel’s proceeds released 142 Irish men from debtors’ prison. A small sum, this 142, when we consider the tyranny, and oppression of British colonialism, but, large when we consider the lives of these men and their families. Their debts, caused by oppression, were “forgiven” by their oppressors – yet, sung that night were the words of The Messiah which contain the promise that God will “scatter the proud in their conceit,” “cast down the mighty from their thrones” and “lift up the lowly.”
If I did not believe that this is going to happen, I would lack what Vincent de Paul would call “holy trust” –and I wouldn’t want that. So watch out, banksters and oppressors – your hubris has been noted.
I actually listen to The Messiah on Easter Sunday (along with Patty Smith’s Easter album), but, this year, I must say that it is a part of my Christmas because I think of those 142 men released from debtors prison so long ago. I wish for the people of today who are overcome by debt to have their debts forgiven and for those who are held wrongly in prison to be released, particularly those without trial.
Even though it begins in jail – the drunk tank, to be exact- for my friends in Occupy, I think this year of my very, very favorite Christmas song, “Fairytale of New York” by the Pogues because “I’ve got a feeling /that this year is for me and you.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv0hlbWpa1w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9jbdgZidu8&feature=fvsr
May the blessed bless you this holiday season, Love, Nicole