A Reflection on the Assassination of John Kennedy, November 22, 1963
On that fateful Friday all my plans for Sunday morning were fixed. The Orders of Service with hymns and readings were printed, but the event was so explosive I knew it had to be addressed. I also knew it was delicate and dangerous territory. My congregation was not used to anything that strayed from the Bible. Politics, radio and television were hardly Sunday material. I drafted my reflection and was sufficiently sensitive (and perhaps uncertain) to do what I have never done on any other occasion. I tried it on a colleague whose judgement I respected, who I felt might be sympathetic but who would tell me if he thought I was wrong. He gave me the green light I wanted and needed. I knew I had to have a text so I went for the obvious one. ‘. . . it was expedient that one man should die for the people’. (John 18:14).
How an event which had within it all the seeds of universalism became exclusive, and a faith that was built on the notion of a God who belonged to everybody was claimed as the God of a chosen few, when an annual Roman Festival on the 25th December was hijacked by the Church and even then it was a further 200 years before there was any mention of Christmas (Christ’s Mass) when Christians claimed December 25 as their day.