St Bride's: Sermons

The Safety of the World

nativity_sm.jpg"I saw a stable low and very bare,
A little child in a manger
The oxen knew him, had him in their care.
To men he was a stranger,
The safety of the world was lying there
And the world's danger."

Mary Coleridge (1861-1907)

British troops in IraqThe world isn't a safe place this Christmas. There are wars and conflicts in many areas of the globe, and many families will be grieving for the loss of loved ones rather than celebrating the season. Many will be struggling to survive, made homeless by human as well as natural disaster. Spare a thought too for those in the armed forces who will be spending Christmas, far away from their loved ones, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and wondering whether they will be the next victim of a roadside bomb or a sniper's bullet.

It is in the context of this unstable and troubled world that we celebrate the birth of a baby who was the focus of God's care and concern for his creation. Mary Coleridge describes this child as both the safety and the danger of the world. What might she mean by that? Perhaps she means that this child Jesus represents the concentrated power of love which both affirms us and challenges us. If we dare to live out that kind of revolutionary love in our lives, it is both fulfilling and immensely risky. It took Jesus to the cross and it could take us there too. But the world desperately needs that kind of open-ended loving if humans are to flourish.

As you celebrate the possibility of that kind of love this Christmas, represented by the child in the manger, think of those who need it most, the sick, the lonely, the homeless, the bereaved, the unemployed and those traumatised by war. And then pray and act to make that dangerous love a reality for someone this Christmas, that they may experience the safety and experience of being valued for themselves through the life-transforming power of love which is both human and divine.

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