* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Sermon on the Mount the Face

19 December 2002
Dan is probably making an important point about the arbitrary nature of mythology or something.

This is a time for children, and let me first say how glad I am that so many of you have managed to stay up so far past your bedtime to be with us tonight. For you, this is a magical time, of gifts and singing and infinite joy. But did you know that, when you or your parents mount the face on the most used part of the house, there is a lot more to it than making the place look nice? Many of you, whom I have the pleasure of recognizing from Sunday School, understand just what I mean. But you others are lucky enough still to be waiting for the truth to open up your souls.

You might already have mounted the face. Or your mummy and daddy may be putting it off until the last moment.

Maybe you'll mount the face on the mantelpiece, or the dining table. maybe the breakfast bar. Everybody mounts the face in a different way. Sometimes other people's face-mounting can seem very strange. In Canada they mountie the face. In Britain Peggy Mount's face is everywhere.

The pictures in our Parish art competition show some of these curious customs. You saw them when you came in, and saw what a lot of funny words and costumes people use to mount the face. But they all love our Saviour, and they all love to mount the face. That's why they get to live.

Do you remember the first time you mounted the face? I don't. Grown ups have done it so often that it becomes a blur. But I do remember when I truly understood the meaning behind the mounting.

It was a Christmas much like any other, before some of you were even born, and I was watching television with Jenny, my beautiful but willful daughter. Gremlins had just reached the scene where the lovely and talented Miss Phoebe Cates was explaining why the holidays made her sad to the one who might have been Matthew Broderick. Or the one who was the Famous Teddy Z.

My lovely daughter, who wasn't much older then than some of you are now, was sitting beside me, eyes shining with the excitement of the festive season, as Miss Cates told how her daddy had become trapped in the cellar with a sack of presents and starved to death. "He never even got to mount my face," she sobbed, and Jenny started to cry as if it were the most terrible thing in the world. And maybe, I suddenly thought, it was.

Then a little green bugger in a Malibu Ken leather jacket jumped on her back and steered her with her pigtails like a snowplough in drag.

We laughed, but we thought as well.

Jenny was taken away by social services years ago, but the message stayed with me.

When we mount the face, we don't just celebrate our Saviour. We celebrate togetherness and the family, and every good thing he or others have done for us.

Let us never forget, among our gifts and laughter, the humble shepherd whose face God mounted. And how the seed that our Lord placed in that shepherd's stomach grew into a miraculous baby, and how it came to pass that after nine months of agonising constipation and kicking sheep, he was delivered of the babe who would be our Saviour.

Just a humble man, and yet he lies at the very beginning of all that we believe. And our Saviour was raised in poverty, mocked for his unconventional family background and cruelly accused by the other boys of smelling of poo well into his teens. It's amazing our holy wars were as bloodless as they were, really. Who would have thought this deeply disturbed and unhappy young man, wandering without a role, should have realized that the flock he had tended when his father was too feeble to walk was a mere practice run for the tending of the entire civilised world? It seems like a fairy story, and yet we know in our hearts that it is true.

Of course, we no longer mount the face as our Lord did - that would be hubristic and blasphemous, not to mention deeply icky. But with every Mount the Face present we buy, every Mount the Face candle we light, we are glorifying, not just his name, nor the name of his child, our Saviour, but the confused, terrified shepherd who, faced with the terrifying majesty of godhead, said yes. Yes, I will bear this burden. Yes, I will bring the Peacebringer to the world. Yes, mount my face. Yes. Yes. Mount it. Not for gain or glory, not for riches or immortality, but because my God wills it and that makes it right. Mmmm...mmmm...mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm.

So it was written, and so it was.

So, tonight, when you go back to your homes and prepare for the celebrations of tomorrow, do make sure your face is mounted. And, as you check the mounting, think not just of our Saviour, whose glorious conception we celebrate, and think not only of his holy father, but also of his human father, the simple, fallible man who took on so great a burden with such uncomplicated faith.

The man shat a baby for us. That's quite a bullet to take.

And now, let us sing.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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