2018 Theme

Theme for 2018: Field of Dreams

by Revd Chris Moody, Vicar of St. Alfege Church, Greenwich

On a visit to Jerusalem five years ago, I took a local bus from the Damascus Gate through the frontier wall between Israel and the Palestinian authority to Bethlehem. I remember going to the Shepherd’s Field Chapel, set in beautiful grounds on the outskirts of the town on the slope of a hill. Looking across to the other side of a small ravine, I could also see the white ramparts of one of the latest Israeli settlements rising on the hill opposite- so close physically and yet so distant in every other way. It made me think again about the shepherds dreaming on the hill, 2,000 years ago, marginalized within their own society, but the only people awake to receive the amazing news of the birth of the Christ-child. The fact that the angel came first to them is immensely significant and sets the tone for the whole of Christ’s ministry. It is a reminder that how ever dark and frustrating things seem to be, one should never give up hope.

But ‘Field of Dreams’ is also the title for a Hollywood film from 1989 that you may remember. A farmer is moved to build a baseball field on his land, in spite of being on the verge of bankruptcy, because he hears a voice telling him ‘If you build it, he will come’. The farmer builds the field and encounters his deceased father as he was as a young baseball star. His father was involved in baseball scandal decades before, which he never told his son about, but the shame of the scandal embittered his life and affected all his relationships afterwards. The film ends as they play together in the field the farmer has created against the odds and against all advice. I found it unbearably moving. It is a reminder that redemption throws its light on the past as well as the future. We can all have hope for the past by taking a different attitude to it, as well as hope for the future. So hold on to your dreams!

Wishing you hope in Advent and joy at Christmas.

Rev Chris Moody



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