I see that an unofficial teaser trailer for the new James Bond movie has appeared, No Time to Die. 57 years on and the superspy is still grabbing our attention, leaping in and out of danger, cars, suave suits and exploding buildings, attempting to keep his cool whilst scuppering the despicable plans of the world’s worst baddies.
They say that a lot of guys would like to be Bond. I’d like to think I am a little like him… but the truth is am a lot more like Johnny English.
Bumbling and muddling come a lot more natural to me than suave and sophisticated. Though thankfully I haven’t lately shot any secretaries with a lethal ball-point-pistol. When I speak I sometimes tell folks about the time I dropped the handle of a loo flush into the toilet bowl, and needed up with my hand down the lav minutes before I was due to lead a church service. Ho hum… One of the things I am so grateful for is that God is well-used to helping, using and caring for the muddlers in life. The Bible is full of them. Whether it’s Peter putting his foot in his mouth, Samson throwing a strop because he couldn’t get his own way, or Jonah sulking in the belly of a whale with gut rot. (I think they both had a good old belly ache down there.) You don’t have to be debonair to be a friend of God. In fact sometimes knowing we are a shambles can help. We are all stuck in the human condition, hero-ing one moment, hiccupping the next. Strong and weak. Sensible and silly. And one of the great messages of Christmas is that God has wrapped himself in skin, put his feet in our shoes and walked the muddled paths of this life. He understands. He’s well used to working with folks like us. The first people to come and see him were a bunch of dung-spattered shepherds. Folks on the edge, probably tripping over their toes as they knelt in the dust and cobwebs to gaze wide-eyed and wild-eyed at this tiny new gurgling king. Not a bad place for all of us to begin. Meeting God in life’s muddle and mess. Able to come just as we are, and bring all that we are, and find there is a welcome and room for us in his life.