Advent: Play a new tune this Christmas
In their final Advent reflection, Brendan McManus SJ and Jim Deeds, authors of Finding God in the Mess, challenge us to 'tune' ourselves and live in harmony with our neighbours
ISN'T wood really lovely? In particular, tone wood; that is, wood that is believed to possess qualities that make it resonate in such a way that it produces beautiful sounds.
These woods are used in the production of musical instruments, such as guitars. Not only do these woods sound beautiful, they often look beautiful when treated well.
The beauty is in the uncovering of the grain within the wood, revealed when the outer covering is stripped away and when we see the heart of the wood for what it is, in all its splendour.
The tone of these woods is heard when the wood is made to vibrate in some way.
With guitars, this happens when you strike the string or strike the wood itself.
In one way, this is a kind of violent action. Even striking softly is striking.
What the wood does with this violence is to convert it into beauty. What a way to subvert and convert violence - to turn it into something beautiful.
Jesus was the ultimate example of the violence of the world being radically turned into beauty and peace - and redemption and salvation to boot
Jesus was the ultimate example of the violence of the world being radically turned into beauty and peace - and redemption and salvation to boot.
We've seen examples of this kind of subversion and conversion in humans too. Ghandi and Martin Luther King embodied a kind of radical pacifism. The former inspired by Hinduism, and the latter by Christianity; both inspired by the violent suffering of their people.
These, and others, have become beautiful 'tone wood' for the world to hear.
The tone of their words and wisdom resonates and resounds throughout history as a constant call to peaceful living, even or maybe particularly in the face of violence.
The tune they play can often strike an unharmonious chord with our own less-than-peaceful actions. At these times, we are challenged to tune ourselves again and to live in harmony with those around us.
We are often visited by violence in our lives. For some, this violence is on a small scale. For others among us, it is violence on a bigger scale.
We don't have to look too far to see this violence: Syria, Palestine, Ankara, Belgium, Paris, South Sudan and in our own cities.
1. How do I react to violence, can I subvert or transform it?
2. Where is there violence in my life or environment?
3. How do I choose to face it, who do I follow who inspires me?
- Finding God in the Mess - Meditations for Mindful Living by Jim Deeds and Brendan McManus SJ is published by Messenger Publications. For more information, or to order a copy, click here.