You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
Yesterday was the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Christ the King, and the end of the Church year.
When anything comes to an end it is natural for fear to creep in, to be concerned as to what will happen next. In this country we are in the process of severing our relationship with Europe, our largest trading partner. What will happen now? In America our cousins have voted for a new President; one who after his election called for the American people to unite. Given the unprecedented level of vitriol and outright hatred many observed during the election campaign and the appointments he has made to high office so far, that call seems a little hollow to me. So what now? Fear is everywhere; a fear of the dark, a fear of the unknown, a fear of things to come. The Disciples were not immune to fear. They feared the storm on the lake. When they woke Jesus to seek His help His response was “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Mark 5:40. God never forgets us; He is always with us, even in the darkest hours of the night. Psalm 30:5 tells us: “Weeping may last through the night but joy comes with morning.” The dark night will not last forever.
We are now in the season of Advent; a time to look forward to the birth of a new King. Not a mighty warrior clad in fine robes with vast armies set to conquer the world by force, but a servant King who came to save the world with His life. The Bible is not just a nice old story which has no relevance to today’s fears and worries. It tells us that God lives now in each and every one of us! As His disciples we are called to follow Him, to walk with Him, to do His work in this world by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and standing up for those who have no voice – God’s fearful, anxious people. As my friend Tom said the other day: ‘It's time to take a stand, not only because it is the right thing to do; not only that, but because it is Christ's way of life and love for all God's people. He chooses not to save himself, but to love you and me and save all people from our fears, our suspicions, our hate, and ourselves.’
It is not enough just to say we love one another; we must witness to that love in our lives. God is greater than all the fear and hatred of the world. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of justice, of love and peace. By the coming of the Christ child we can overcome fear and look forward with hope to a brighter future in the knowledge and love of God. Thanks be to God!
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years