Annunciation

Today we have a guest post from Rev. Elizabeth Myer Boulton. She is, among other things, creative director of the SALT Project, “a not-for-profit project dedicated to reclaiming and sharing the beauty of Christian life through film, photography, music, poetry, and ideas.”   And y’all…this little “Hamlet” video is the cutest ever. But it’s not JUST cute. It is a powerful witness to the beauty of the gospel through the eyes (and voice!) of a child. Take a minute to watch, and then share around. But first, here’s why it came to pass…

I once heard Marcus Borg, one of the most influential voices in progressive Christianity, say something amazing while giving a lecture.  He was in a classroom setting, standing in front of white board, lecturing on the Annunciation and Mary’s subsequent flight to visit her cousin Elizabeth.

Seemingly unaware of a pregnant woman’s need to confide and conference with other pregnant women– and completely oblivious to the physical mysteries of carrying another human being in your body– Borg dismissively retold the story of Mary going with haste to visit her cousin and confidant.  He made the whole story seem so sophomoric, so juvenile, so devoid of any mystery, whimsy, or poetry.

Then, he got to that beautiful part when Mary enters Elizabeth and Zechariah’s house and, as the cousins greet, John the Baptist leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.  This is when he said one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard: “Of course,” said Borg, “we know, from our modern, scientific perspective, that babies don’t ‘leap for joy’ in the womb.”

Really? We “know” that?

In one fell swoop, all the poetry, beauty, and literary awesomeness of the text had fallen to the ground like a loose button and rolled under the bed.

In response, SALT created a new short film, where a little pig named Hamlet tells the whimsical and mysterious story of Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary about Jesus’ birth.

Filled with tutu’s and bluebirds, sound effects and knock-knock jokes, our little pre-critical family of four banded together to create this stop-motion animation film that we hope will please everyone, from two to ninety two!  We love the way in which this goofy, ukulele-playing pig takes this old, old story and makes it shiny and new (and, if truth be told, we wonder what Marcus Borg would think!)

So, during this soft and mysterious season of Advent, bring on the poetry; bring on the gender-bending angels; bring on the blazing star with GPS precision; bring on all the pre-critical naivete you can muster up and hear again the good news of the Gospel: nothing will be impossible with God!

Hamlet: The Annunciation from SALT Project on Vimeo.

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About Erin Wathen

Rev. Erin Wathen is the Senior Pastor of Saint Andrew Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Olathe, KS (www.sacchome.org). She's a Kentucky native, a long-time desert dweller, and she writes about the sacred thread that runs through pretty much everything. For more info, click the 'about' tab above...

  • James M Gawne Sr

    Marcus Borg is occasionally the biggest idiot on the planet.

    • Erin Smallwood Wathen

      I don’t think he’s an idiot. I love “Reading the Bible Again…” and I think it opened up a whole new realm of biblical scholarship. However, he does occasionally miss the beauty of the larger narrative, in search of smaller truths. That’s why we’ve got poets, artists and story tellers among us!


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