It’s Father Dave back with you, and I won’t keep you for long tonight.
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than spend your time reading a blog post from me. You might likewise be wondering why I’m spending my New Year’s Eve blogging when I should be out drinking and carousing (in a clerically-appropriate way, of course).
Well … I’m struggling with a stupid eye infection at the moment and I spent half the night at the hospital, so there’s no drinking or carousing on the agenda for me tonight. You’ll have to do my share for me!
It’s an odd time to get sick, of course, but I find it always happens when I slow down. My dad used to call it ‘pilot’s brain syndrome’.
According to my dad, during World War I there was a well-known phenomenon where fighter pilots would sometimes taxi in on the landing strip after a dog-fight, turn off their engines, and then die! When the support crew got to them they’d find that the pilot only had half a brain left. The rest had been destroyed in the dog-fight! Even so, the pilot had managed to complete his mission! He’d landed the plane, taxied in and shut off his engine before giving himself permission to shed his mortal coil!
Dad figured that a lot of us experience a parallel phenomenon where we push through the chaos of particularly busy periods and then we give ourselves permission to die once the pressure comes off. That certainly rings true for me. Anyway … I sincerely hope that you are in better health at the moment.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
If you missed my family-video-Christmas-greeting it is here. And don’t forget to grab some of the virtual presents from under the tree (yes, there really is a tree and there really are presents)!
I was quite pleased with my Christmas Day sermon this year.
I normally bang together a Christmas Day sermon late on Christmas Eve. This year I’d been ruminating on my Christmas message for about six months!
I’m always conscious of the fact that the church lectionary provides us with a series of alternative readings to use on Christmas Day. All of them tell the good ole’ Christmas story of Mary and Joseph and the manger and the shepherds, etc. – all except one!
Every year, alongside the depictions of the happy Nativity scene are these verses from John Chapter 1.
In the beginning was the Word.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
Through him all things were made, and apart from him was not anything made that was made.
In him was life, and that life brought light to humanity.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it!
From a preacher’s point of view, it always seemed to me a lot more straightforward and a lot more downright Christmassy to preach on the birth of Jesus, but about six months ago I got it into my head that this year I’d go with John and let people know that Christmas is about more than babies and presents!
Did I do Christmas justice? You can be the judge of that. Enjoy the video!
(and if you can’t view the above video, click here)
Well … I can hear fireworks going off outside now. The rest of the family has gone to an appropriate location to watch them all and I might try to catch an explosion or two myself from the balcony if I can, but not until I’ve share with you a little about my own hopes for the New Year.
I have two great hopes for 2013:
- To launch a series of successful Fighting Fathers Warrior Weekend boot camps
- To see peace in Israel/Palestine
I don’t expect you’ve ever seen those two on the same list before, but those are quite honestly my two greatest hopes for the coming year.
I don’t pretend that I’m going to have a great deal of input into the second of these hopes (apart from prayer) but I’ll certainly be pouring my blood, sweat and tears into the boot-camps.
My vision is to bring together some of this country’s greatest boxers and have them share a weekend in the bush with a variety of young people – some promising young pugilists and others who are homeless or in recovery. Together we share a weekend of hard training and gentle spiritual reflection, with the older men and women playing a mentoring role to the younger ones.
That’s the vision, and these are the dates we have set thus far:
- March 22-24
- May 10-12
If you’d like to be part of one or both of these weekends, we’ll be charging $220 per person for the weekend for those who can afford to pay. That will include accommodation, food and training fees.
I hope to have between 20 and 30 paying people on each camp so that we can then invite up to a dozen people who can’t afford to pay. The professional boxers and the admin team will all be donating their time, so we should be able to cover our costs. That’s the hope anyway.
The camps will each be held at our beloved Binacrombi Bush Camp. If you’d like me to book you a place now, just let me know.
Give Peace a Chance
And as for peace in the Israel/Palestine, things are certainly coming to a head.
I don’t know if you read the article I penned on this a week or so ago. I am convinced that this year will be a critical year for Israel/Palestine, and I do believe that if a true and lasting peace can be achieved there, it will have profound reverberations across the globe!
As my friend Bishop Riah (former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem) always says, “the peace of the world runs through Jerusalem”. I believe this is true. If we can help make it happen there, it can happen anywhere and everywhere!
Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my RSS feed on israelandpalestine.org if you want my daily updates on the Israel/Palestine situation. It is something that lies heavy on my heart and I will be continuing to write and pray and do whatever I can in this coming year to give peace a chance in that part of the world.
That’s enough from me for today. I’m sure you’ve got some champagne to consume.
Happy New Year, Fighter!
May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S. As I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!