Moderator’s Christmas message for the church
On behalf of the Uniting Church in New South Wales and the ACT, I bring you prayers and best wishes for Christmas.
The Christmas story is full of messages about the common good — both in its fulfilment and its denial.
Local shepherds rub shoulders with an undisclosed number of wise men from the east. A pregnant peasant girl is denied a bed in the local hotel, which operates on a “first come first served” basis.
There’s no triage system here to determine who is in the greatest need. It is, after all, a business. Animals help to earth the experience for the newborn child while heaven displays the affirmation of unusual starlight and a celestial choir.
This child is for everyone and for the good of all. It is predictable, then, that threatened powers try to rub him out; never mind the collateral damage! Herod obviously thinks it’s worth it.
Egypt receives the asylum-seeking family. There is enough room for them there, if not in their homeland.
This is a story of joyful, inclusive celebration and high, destructive stress. Small wonder that it intersects with our own story as a church and our individual experiences of Christmas.
There is no doubt that there is stress in the Uniting Church community as we struggle with changes that seem to threaten those parts of our life we hold dear. Collateral damage is a real risk when we forget that we are in this for the common good and not just to defend our own “patch”.
At the same time, there is so much to celebrate, such as the recent 12 confirmations (their second group for the year) at Blacktown Uniting Church, a truly vibrant multicultural congregation.
There are signs of newness and hope everywhere, especially when we hold true to our ethos of serving Christ by promoting the common good and to the conviction that Christ is for everyone.
May our Christmas celebrations truly be about new things that are born among us, especially about lives renewed in Christ.
And may our New Year be one where we strive to encourage our community and our nation to be more inclusive, more compassionate and more generous of Spirit; to challenge “business as usual” and work for the common good.
The Rev. Dr Brian Brown
Synod of New South Wales and the ACT
Uniting Church in Australia
Moderator seeks change from ‘business as usual’ to serving the common good
The story of Christ’s birth is a story of promise, hope and revolutionary love.
In a Christmas message released to the media (pdf), the Rev. Dr Brian Brown argues that the miraculous advent of a saviour in a humble stable compels us to stop doing business as usual and to commit ourselves to something bigger than any of us.
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