Queen's counsel XVI

December 2002

We are engaging more in our second year at Queen's College with practical matters. One of the modules that we are following at the moment is called "Exploring and Celebrating Difference" and calls us to consider all sorts of other approaches than the one that we find most familiar. Issues of gender, skin colour, ethnic and cultural differences, even of other faiths come into this and raise questions of identity and purpose. This can easily be illustrated for us as we consider again the birth of Jesus this Christmas.

Who was Jesus? He was born to a young, unmarried, Jewish mother in an occupied country from which she and her son had to flee from Herod's slaughter of the innocent children (Matthew 2:13-18). This may remind us of situations in the world today where people are persecuted and driven out as refugees, no home to go to, not wanted, outcasts of the world; it may remind us of situations close to home. Where are and who are today's angels, encouraging Joseph to stay with Mary (Matthew 2:18-21), taking her as his wife and protecting her and her son from harm in a foreign land?

Who is Jesus? Matthew's Gospel continues with his baptism and his recognition (3:16-17) that the Holy Spirit was calling him to communion with his heavenly Father through his life on earth. Jesus was tempted (4:1-11), as we all are, by the world's priorities as he prepared for ministry. He challenged the church and their cautious, often inward-looking, ways as he taught and healed, inspired through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit but he also showed God's love in action so that we may discern his way for us now.

Who will Jesus become? Jesus succumbed only to an undeserved and lonely death on the cross. After his resurrection, the angels invited his friends to follow Him to Galilee (Matthew 28: 7,19), returning to the world to make disciples of all nations. And so we too are drawn to Him and to the task of exploring and celebrating our differences. The world is full of other approaches and traditions where God may be found - our course at Queen's is encouraging us to seek, to recognize and to value them all but we can all join in this great pilgrimage as we journey towards His heavenly throne.

So let us pray as we sing this Christmas time, remembering that we are all children of the same heavenly Father:

"Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask Thee to stay
close by me for ever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there."



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This page was last updated on 2002-10-15


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