December 2019

I bring you good news of great joy

My dear friends,

We are living in an increasingly divided world – one where the old certainties of societal life seem to be breaking down. When you receive your magazine, we will still be some days away from a General Election, and it promises to be one where the language used by many politicians will be uncompromisingly divisive and possibly ugly.

Much of this owes its genesis to the rise of social media, where things may be commented upon immediately without moderation, or the benefit of delay or hindsight. However, another underlying problem seems to me to be the disconnect in many aspects of the way we interact with others.

The great message of Christmas is about connection – the sense that our humanity, and indeed the whole of creation, is as one through the indwelling of God’s Love. Into the fractured world and society of Roman controlled Palestine two thousand years ago, God’s Love was revealed within our humanity in the face of a baby. Born in the lowest of circumstances, Jesus Christ then spent his whole adult ministry teaching and revealing the availability of God’s Love within every human situation. He then gave himself for us to draw us to new life. No one is beyond the pale, because, through Jesus, ‘nothing can separate us from God’s Love’ (Romans 8: 38-39).

The greatest gift we can give to heal the fractures within our society is to remember our connection with each other – to love our neighbour as our self (Mark 12: 30-31). In doing so, we are able (in the words of Aelred of Rievaulx) ‘to join the company of angels, with pure heart and good conscience singing to the Lord in all that we do throughout our lives: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to all people of good will’.

A very happy and blessed Christmas and a good New Year,

Michael