Saturday, 26 November 2011

Grassroots God

I started thinking about Christmas in July this year, so a bit of a head start there! The above video (ht Blue Eyed Ennis) speaks to me about a grassroots God, one who chose to come not to the rich and powerful but to the poorest and most marginalised  and who starts in our hearts and works outwards to transform our lives.  John  1: 14 can apparently be translated as "The Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us." The wonderful, almost casual image of "pitching a tent" speaks to me  of a God who is resourceful, in our midst, on the move, dynamic and not static.The idea of God with us, and the way that God dwells with us and in us, is one of the key message of Advent and one that takes some time to ponder.


  1. Really like how you've put this - we have a dynamic God who pitches His tent with us and moves in our lives. Thanks.

  2. probably we shall ponder this for a lifetime as did Mary.

    Literally it is 'tabernacled' among us and the allusion is to the tent of the presence, in the midst of the camp of Israel in the wilderness. Later this became the temple but that was pinning God down - so he came afresh amongst us in a new un-pin-downable form :)

    Jesus in a tent - love it! Thank you

  3. Thanks Eric, I hadn't quite picked up that, but it is (of course) a deliberate allusion to the tent of the presence. That does underpin the interpretation of it as a dynamic, hands on, grassroots God, doesn't it. The temple represents the unmoveable (and perhaps organisation and hierarchy) while Christ as tabernacle is dynamic, on the move. The New Testament writers seem to play around with this theme in a variety of ways, not only in the incarnation, but also in the resurrection - Christ saying he will tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days surely continues this theme? Also the early church saw itself (I think) as more "tabernacle" than temple, it was a grassroots church, on the move. Its lack of rigidity also meant it could move out to the Gentiles. God's presence can also be defined as more "dynamic", so the Holy Spirit setting up a temple within us.
    So, incarnation, resurrection, a new type of Church, mission to all, and inclusion of the gentiles, a new way of relating to God, a new Covenant; all linked the the idea of a tent:)