Wednesday, 24 June 2009

St John's Day - reflections from the South

At morning prayer this morning we listened to readings for St John's Day. Hearing again the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah.
Traditionally today fires would be lit and you would try to jump over them - a bit of northern hemisphere midsummer madness. But as we prayed for Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay we were reminded that even if the churches there also follow the western calender it is now midwinter in that part of the world. Today would be Christmas Eve if the southern church followed the seasonal rather than the imported cultural calender from the north.
As we enjoyed the summer evening with two people from New Zealand in Geneva for just 48 hours, I thought about this and about the cultural imperialism that has too often accompanied the exporting of Christianity.
Then I thought back to the birth of John the Baptist, to his patient feisty mother bearing him into the world full of hope in her middle age. Decades later this uncomforatble prophet of hope would have his head displayed on a platter to serve the whim of a despotic ruler.