Birth Pains: The Vulnerable Child and the Fragile Web of Life, part 2 in The Waiting Earth Series (online)
December 6, 2021
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Nativity scenes depict an astonishing theological paradox: God, the all-powerful, becomes absolutely vulnerable as a child. This second session of our eco-spiritual Advent series will bring the traditional genre of Nativity art together with insights from contemporary psychology to reflect on the manger as a “holding environment” that teaches us deep truths about our interconnectedness to one another and the importance of attuned relationship. We will explore how this oneness even extends to the animal kingdom and to the cosmos, elements that are equally present in the Nativity imagery of the Gospels. Finally, at a time when many of us are afraid for the fate of our children on a rapidly warming planet, we will consider the child Jesus as a model for a new way of imagining what vulnerability and childbirth can look like in this altered world.
The Waiting Earth Series
This year’s observation of Advent comes at a time unlike any other in history: we are reckoning not only with the legacy of a traumatic global pandemic but with a climate crisis that is calling into question the future of the planet and its fragile web of life. Yet Madeleine L’Engle suggests, in a poem, that “it was a time like this” that Jesus was born, a time of the uncanny and the uncertain. What wisdom might we gain for our contemporary existence by meditating on this ancient Christian story? This four-part series will explore connections between traditional Advent themes and eco-spiritual concepts, through which this seemingly idle season of winter cold and spiritual waiting can become the nourishing ground for a greater reverence for, and connectedness to, the earth and the Incarnate One.
- November 29 – Deep Time: Cosmic History and Advent Waiting
- December 6 – Birth Pains: The Vulnerable Child and the Fragile Web of Life
- December 13 – And Ransom Captive Israel: Active Hope and Eco-Justice
- December 20 – The Cosmic Christ: Seeing Creation, Seeing God
Each session stands independently, so come to as few or as many sessions as you wish.
Nicholas Collura is a board-certified chaplain and Director of Pastoral Care at Holy Redeemer Health System. He earned a Master of Divinity and trained as a spiritual director at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and he serves as a visiting retreat director at St. Raphaela Center in Haverford, PA. A former Jesuit,…
Learn more about Nicholas Collura