Saturday, 11 December 2010

Reflective Blessing

Our forefathers chose to use this
cold and dark, inhospitable season,
to mark the hardness of the world
into which Jesus was born,
and into which many children are born each day,
in poverty, in conflict,
without a safe place to rest and live and thrive.

“Jesus” means God Saves.
And for many people today, as in Jesus' day,
salvation is a really physical, material thing:
safety from enemies, from abusers,
salvation from hunger and thirst,
from cold and disease.

And all of us, at some stage in our lives,
sense a need for salvation,
healing from sickness of body or soul,
freedom from oppression, bullying,
and the internal and external voices telling us:
"you’re not good enough"
"you can’t change the world"
"you can’t do things any better",
oppressing us with guilt

Into the remotest reaches
of the most marginalised people in the world
- and into the cold darkness of our hearts -
the Light of the World comes:
One, short Life,
lived in one small country,
yet transforming hundreds, thousands of lives
in his own day
The light was passed on,
other Hearts were warmed
till they too glowed with the love of God.

He died.
stripped and paraded before the people
hounded out of town.
This is how God chooses to be Immanuel
God with us.
God in Christ
doesn’t avoid the dirt or the darkness.
God in Christ
reconciles the whole world, through his death.

As wick touches wick,
we are united in the darkness of death;
but the Warmth of God in Christ
brings life that death cannot destroy.
Rekindled to a new life.
Everything is possible.
You don’t need to be good enough.
You don’t need to change the world.
You don’t need to do things better.
Christ, the Light, is in you,
and his Warmth is Bright enough for all to see.
In him all things are possible
all things are new
and the world will never be the same.

Light, in our darkness,
kindle a flame.
Let your warmth glow in
and through us.
Let us like Mary be willing
bearers of your light,
trusting you
for outcomes and consequences;
Let your Holy Spirit bring
the new life of the children of God
to dwell in us,
so that the whole world may have
light in place of darkness,
hope in place of despair.

In the Community of all your children,
May the cold be warmed,
May the homeless find refuge and rest;
May the hungry be fed,
May the thirsty be satisfied,
The sick healed
and prisoners find true freedom
May we be united in peace
as children of Light
This Christmas, and in eternity.

I wrote this for our Christmas Carol Service in the University of Ulster last Tuesday, to be co-read with my wonderful assistant chaplain, Katherine Rush.

The picture is my own. If you'd like to use it, please let me know.

1 comment:

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