One for the drips

One for the drips


Early December is very definitely Christingle time.  So far I’m 2 down with one still to go.  Before long we’ll be into Carol Services, then Crib Services, Midnight mass and then finally Christmas Day.  In all of these services candles play quite a major part.


At Scholes’ Christingle Andrew Saxton talked about the silver foil between the candle and the orange and how we as Christians are like the silver foil.  Firstly we reflect the light shining from the candle (the light of Christ), secondly we ‘catch the drips’.  The molten candle bits that drip down the side, don’t give light and make a mess on the carpet are like the failures of life.  The ones who mess up and feel like they’re useless and rubbish.


The church has a word for the drips like that; sinners.


Andrew’s message at the Christingle was that Church is there for the drips.  Church is for the ones who mess up, who recognise that they make mistakes and hurt themselves and others.  Church is there for the sinners of the world.


A while ago a man was brave enough to tell me that he was a recovering alcoholic and a couple of months before that a woman spoke through tears about the failure of her marriage and the thought that she was unworthy to be a mother.  The bravery to recognise that we can’t do it on our own is the first step to redemption.  A second step is to see God for who he is.


God is not an angry vengeful ogre, but a loving mother who desires to sweep the messed-up child and comfort it in her arms.  In the words of Julian of Norwich who speaks of God as both father and mother:


My kind mother, my gracious mother, my beloved mother, have mercy on me.  I have made myself filthy and unlike you, and I may not and cannot make it right without your grace and help.


All of us are wounded healers, best able to heal others when we first come to terms with our own wounds.  At that point the grace of God is able to break into our lives and transform the ugliest of scenes into a place of delight and union.


Just today I had an email from a couple of divorcees, both in their 60s, wanting to get married in Church.  My response to their tentative enquiries was a resounding ‘Yes’.  Church is a place for redemption and transformation so where better for a couple of hurt and hurting people to publicly display their love?


This one’s for you.  May you know that you are a drip and find grace in God.