Whilst, in the days after Christmas, many clergy are taking a break the Church rolls on with feast days. On 26th December we remember St Stephen, the first martyr. On the 27th we celebrate St. John the Evangelist and on the 28th we remember the Holy Innocents – all those children killed in Bethlehem as King Herod raged at a possible threat to his power.
If nothing else, this is a good reminder that, even when we stop, the Church does not. There is that wonderful hymn which says, “we thank thee that thy Church un-sleeping, while Earth rolls onward, into light, through all the world her watch is keeping, and rests not now by day nor night”. Even as we rest and sleep, others take up the voice of praise.
These stories also remind us that the coming of the Christ has consequences. Consequences of witness and the danger of being a disciple and the consequence of an angry and despotic monarch being riled by the threat of Messiah. This Church which never sleeps, also bears a weighty story upon her shoulders, one which changes lives and demands a new way of thinking.