Dear Friends,

This coming weekend sees the beginning of the season of Advent which in four weeks’ time will culminate in the celebration of Christmas itself. Traditionally it is a time for waiting and watching, for watching and waiting. These twin themes are taken up in Samuel Beckett’s almost impenetrable drama, ‘Waiting for Godot’. It is a work that defies any definitive interpretation. Even though Beckett was not an avowedly religious person, nevertheless the text is riddled with allusions to the Biblical text, and as the conversation between the two main characters – Vladimir and Estragon – unfolds, one can discern a number of themes central to a Christian understanding of the interplay between God, humanity and the world. One writer, attempting to sum up Beckett’s motivation in writing the play has said this…

‘…The hypothesised God who emerges from Beckett’s texts is one who is both cursed for his perverse absence and cursed for his surveillant presence. He is by turns dismissed, satirised or ignored, but he, and his tortured son, are never definitively discarded…’ (Bryden, M., Samuel Beckett and the Idea of God:).

…When we come to contemplate the Incarnation, to think again concerning the ongoing significance of the birth, life, death & resurrection of Jesus, we find ourselves confronted by an understanding of the ongoing nature & purpose of God which causes us to have to deconstruct the god whom we have albeit unconsciously ‘created in our own image’ – whether ‘perversely’ absent, or ’surveillantly’ present – in order that we might find room within ourselves to be ‘remade’ in the image of Christ. During Advent we wait and we watch, we watch and we wait. He is coming. For too many of us, our preconceptions about God will cause us to fail to acknowledge Him. We too will dismiss, satirise and/or ignore Him. He will be in the world, but/and the world will not recognise Him. But then, the season of Advent is meant to encourage us to ‘locate’ the birth of Jesus within the wider purpose of God. It invites us to appreciate that our waiting and watching, our watching and waiting needs must take on an altogether higher, deeper, longer, wider perspective. Summed up for us in terms of the 2nd Advent, the 2nd Coming, the return of Christ. For many, Christians included, a suggestion seemingly too fantastic to ever be true as described. Anyway, we find ourselves somewhere between the 1st Coming, and the 2nd Coming. The real question for us is this. In the meantime, what are we to do? Well, Beckett hits the nail squarely on the head…

‘…Let us not waste our time in idle discourse! Let us do something, while we have the chance! It is not every day that we are needed…To all mankind they were addressed, those cries for help still ringing in our ears! But at this place, at this moment of time, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late…’ (Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot)


Waiting for Godot