The latest monthly letter from our Minister, Revd David Hookins.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
At the heart of Christmas is a little baby. For us this baby is the Incarnation, this means that God became human in the babyJesus. As Charles Wesley put it ‘Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man’ (Singing the Faith 208). In this act God affirms the material world by entering into it.
Of course the creation stories in Genesis tell us that all we have originates in God. The continued presence of God within the universe is alluded to in the stories of Genesis, for we are told thatGod walkedin the garden. Also,‘…the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being’ (Genesis 2.7 NRSV). Later in the same chapter the man is encouraged to name the animals, to share in the process of creation and to define what is created.
Unlike Zen Buddhists who seek detachment, following God in Christ we seek profound engagement with the world.The Incarnation leads us to be deeply concerned over environmental matters such as Climate Change. It leads us to be committed to changing our own lives through buying ethically, recycling, lowering our carbon footprint, and using the Earth’s resources wisely. It leads us to raise awareness of environmental and justice issues. It leads us to campaign for a cleaner and fairer world.
In our Covenant Service we reassert our commitment to follow the ways of God in Christ, to reinvigorate our commitment to action in our lives and with others to create that cleaner and fairer world. I wonder what that might mean for us? Many share their cars to come to church, others walk, cycle or take the bus. Increasingly people are having meat free days. Others commit to buy fairly traded products, both foods and clothes.Still others seek to reduce the amount of plastic they use. Some are trying to do many of these things. What will you choose to do to respect the creation we have inherited and honour our commitment to the love of God for all revealed in the Incarnation of God in the baby Jesus?
At the heart of Christmas is a little baby but the implications of that little baby are immense. St Paul asserts that, ‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.’ (Romans 8.22-23 NRSV).
This redemption, this making right, is found in Christ, who died for the whole creation. St Francis of Assisi reawakened the Church to the significance of Christmas because he realized that without the Incarnation there could be no Crucifixion or Resurrection, no Redemption or Salvation. A babe in a manger, yes, but as his followers we cannot rest at the manger, we must follow where he leads.
Helen and I hope you have a very happy Christmas.
Your brother in Christ,