Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Advent in Tamil Nadu" by Rosie Morton

is part of the wonderful Wildgoose collection, Candles and Conifers, which makes life so much easier in this time of desperate creativity as hassled clergy across the world try to proclaim afresh the wonder of the season. I'd forgotten it till leafing feverishly through the book earlier in the week...and was so excited, because, you see, I was there, only 4 weeks ago! I'd had breakfast and supper at the Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary in Madurai where Rosie had stayed when writing. Indeed, Indian friends suggested that I might do a short course there some time in the future, as a good pretext for a return to the country. So, in my current, "ever- so- slightly -homesick-for-India" state, finding these words was a real gift. The pictures were taken in the grounds of TTS, which provided a welcome haven during the Journey from Hell to Kanyakumari. As Rosie points out "Come, come" - or, in my experience, "Please come" is probably the phrase that visitors to S. India hear most.

The air is pregnant with joy
and excited anticipation.
Storm clouds gather;
monsoon rain gushes and splutters,
but spirits cannot, will not be dampened.

Come, come
for this is the time
to celebrate Advent.

Handmade lanterns glow with the message
"Towards the fulness of life".
There is a multi-coloured fish,
a yellow globe surrounded by men and women holding hands,
a broken terracotta pot containing the word Justice.

Come, come
for this is the time
to celebrate Advent.

Tamil songs
Leave lingering messages on the night air;
Amidst suffering
there is hope -
we are waiting
for Jesus to be born.
Come, come
for this is the time
to celebrate Advent.

This is some Advent
Waiting for what?
For all to have clean drinking water.

Waiting for what?
For all to have food.

Waiting for what?
For women to be treated equally to men.

Waiting for what?
For workers to receive a fair wage.

Waiting for what?
For the rich to share their wealth.

Waiting for what?
For the caste system to end.

Waiting for what?
For baby Jesus to be born.

This is some Advent.

Waiting for rather alot
it seems...

There's more of Rosie Morton's sequence and a wealth of other wonderful stuff in the book...Buy it now (and its companion, Hay and Stardust) so they are sitting on your shelf before next year's Advent panic begins.

Edit: Additional thanks to Rosie, since blogging this provided a much-needed kick start for the sermon for Evensong tomorrow...Unsurprisingly, it's all about waiting with hope. I've put it here


RAMANEAN said...

Very nice photos showing our culture

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PPB said...

very nice addition!

Songbird said...

Wonderful words and pictures.