Over the Chritmas period I have been reflecting on what it means for us to be like Mary, giving birth to the Christ again and again in our own lives. What point was the birth of Jesus over 2000 years ago if we do not continue to birth the love, joy and peace that Jesus brought in our own lives today? After all, isn't the emphasis in Christianity about new life and transformation?
If our calling as Christians is to continually give birth to Christ, then we are also called to be midwives. We live in community and our role as companions on the journey is to assist each other in giving birth. Often, however, I don't think the church gets this. Last night, one of my favourite movies was on television - The Truman Show. I can't say it is the clever camera work, the music or the exceptional acting that put this movie on my top ten list, but more the close parallels I have drawn with the church and the world of Truman.
Truman was born, grew up and now lives inside a TV show that airs 24 hours a day. He is the main character, oblivious to the fact that the whole world is watching his every move. All of the people in his life are actors, creating and manipulating his life around him. The movie shows Truman's struggle with gradually coming to the realization that he is trapped. He wants to break free, find more to life than his existence and explore the world.
I find the themes and the yearning ofTruman very powerful. I have known some of his struggle growing up in the church. There are boundaries, lines that cannot be crossed and places that are filled with fear where one must not go. Yes, there is a place for protection and keeping people safe, but when this is done creating a relationship with God out of fear it is stifling to the birthing process.
My experience of midwives is that they allay the fears of the unknown, gently encourage us to have hope in the future and walk with us through the pain and struggle. They stand by you until the birth is complete. In the church we need to do the same. Instead of cutting people loose when they dare to tread outside the boundaries, we need to journey with them in search of their birthing place.
My opinion is that many of us are afraid of giving birth in the spiritual sense. It is a place of vulnerability and fragility. Many people have never experienced the birthing process themselves and are quite content to remain in the protection of their safe, little church world. But, where is the growth? Where is the adventure? Where is the life in that? The egg must crack open if new life is to emerge. As we await the coming of the new year in a few days let us commit ourselves to giving birth once again to the Christ in our lives and being midwives in the birthing process of others.