Revd Mark’s Christmas message

Dear friends

It seems that we might be living in the era of the strong man. Putin in Russia. Assad in Syria. Mugabe (still) in Zimbabwe. And now Trump in America. In a time when everything seems uncertain and insecure, it is very tempting to try to go back to a time when we imagined things were different and our family, our tribe, our nation, was strong: make America great again. This is not America, of course, but that tendency lurks in our own culture and politics too.

What does this strength look like? So often, it is reflected in a sort of machismo, an unshakeable self-belief, a demolition of opponents and an aggression towards outsiders.  ‘Power‘  is so often associated with this sort of strength that I personally don’t like to use the word. Can there be any sort of power that isn’t about muscling your way to the top?

I think there is. The Bible talks about the power of the Holy Spirit. It always struck me as odd to talk about power when thinking of the person of the Holy Spirit that the Bible portrays as a dove, but the original word ‘dunamis; is much more about dynamism and energy than the sort of power exercised by supposedly strong men. This is the energising power of love, of strength displayed in love and gentleness. Above all, this is the power of God – the creative energy behind the Universe – being revealed in an infant in a manger. Let us be inspired this Christmas and beyond, in our work, in our play, in our families, in our friendships to make this sort of power the principle that shapes our actions and our relationships. Let us risk weakness in order to experience the power of love. In the end, it is this power, the power of love, not the aggressive strength of powerful men, that will help us navigate through these changing times.

Peace, Mark