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Inner-city live Nativity

ULTIMO: It is now an eagerly anticipated tradition. The hot December Friday evening in which the usually tranquil Quarry Green in inner-city Ultimo takes on the air of a festival – a festival of remembering. The MustardSeed Ultimo Uniting Church, along with a collection of locals – plus camels, sheep and a donkey – retell the story of the Nativity.

Photo: David Gore Caption: Magi bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh
Photo: David Gore Caption: Magi bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh

In many places the story is told in schmaltzy tones with an almost Disney feel. At the Quarry Green Live Nativity the emphasis is on the down-to-earth realities of this story. Words are kept to a minimum – just enough to set context, explain the action and provoke thinking.

The Pyrmont Sings choir ably leads the assembled masses in selected (well-known) carols as the brief story unfolds with the appearance of Joseph and a pregnant Mary with their donkey.

A gaggle of local angels gathers around the makeshift stables as the baby Jesus is placed in the crib. There is no need to rehearse. The young angels are genuinely fascinated by the real live baby gurgling in the crib. Pretty soon the shepherds arrive with their sheep in tow – or with the sheep pulling the shepherds along! The stage is then set for the most unlikely scene of all …

Three camels ridden by three exotically clad magi (we have had three wise women the past few years). They arrive, dismount and offer their gifts to the infant in the stable – much to the delight of the watching crowd.

In the midst of all this, we ponder. How did a story like this come to represent the arrival of divine presence among humankind? There is a powerful mystery at work. The inherent vulnerability of this infant, whose legitimacy is clouded with uncertainty, upturns assumptions regarding truth and where real love and life might be found.

The Rev. Bill Crews of the Exodus Foundation shares a contemporary story related to the work he does at Ashfield Uniting Church. We can detect hints of some of the ways the presence of God might be encountered in our local neighbourhoods in this day.

The evening ends with the arrival of Santa escorted by the local firefighters in their blaring red fire truck. The kids get a small treat. Rotary have the sausages sizzling and the gelato flowing.

It’s a great family evening out and the main presentation is all done between 7 and 8pm. Everyone is warmly invited to join in the remembering and retelling of the story. There is always something new to discover therein.

Quarry Green Live Nativity

Friday December 14, 2018

It’s a great family evening out and the main presentation is all done between 7 and 8pm. Everyone is warmly invited to join in the remembering and retelling of the story. There is always something new to discover therein.

 

Quarry Green Live Nativity

Friday December 14, 2018

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