Day 3

15 Dec

Today’s reflection comes from Andy Potter

“Are we human or are we dancer?”

“Are we human or are we dancer?” Brandon Flowers asks.  Whatever he means by
this question; I hear this song as a cry for redemption (“I’m down on my
knees looking for an answer”) from all that strips us of our dignity and
robs us of our humanity and from all that reduces us and diminishes our

Reflecting on this song during the Advent season, it has struck me that
Christ’s life is both a protest against and a divine response to all that
makes us less human – whether it be my sin, warped priorities and distorted
attitudes and values; the sin and selfishness of others that affects me; or
the wider societal environment within which we live – war, violence,
materialism, oppression, the celebrity culture, advertising, league tables,
and so on and so on.  There is so much that seeks to rob us of our humanity
and diminish us.

At Christmas we celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ has taken on our
humanity, that the Word has become flesh, that the Son of God has put on the
human dress and that he lived a human life, a fully human life.  And in
Christ our humanity is both affirmed, but also redeemed and restored and
transformed.  Christ came that we might live more fully human lives and in
doing so we might be the means by which others are enabled and set free to
be more fully human themselves.

I love the way that Rowan Williams captures this dynamic with reference to
the Ascension (and thereby reminds us that the birth, life, death,
resurrection and ascension of Jesus cannot be fully understood on their own
but as part of the bigger story).

“… the Ascension is a celebration of the glory of humanity, the unlikely
possibilities of people like you and me, the eternal potential locked up in
our muddled struggling lives.   And a celebration too of God’s capacity,
through his Holy Spirit, to reach into those parts of humanity that are so
far from glorious, that are rebellious and troubled and broken, to breathe
through them, to take them home, to drop them into that fire and melt them
and recast them.  The promise of the Father is that we as Christians will
receive that level and dimension of divine life that we call ‘Holy Spirit’,
so that, like Jesus, we will find that nothing human is alien to us. And the
promise of the Father is that by the love of Christ spreading through us and
in us, the world may be brought home to Christ, who brings it home to his

(Rowan Williams, Ascension Day 2009.  Full sermon text here:


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