Faith at Work LXV

December 2009

Last week, I had a chat with someone operating a bushing machine; this week, I discovered him in another building doing something else. He was spot-welding side-rail assemblies with the help of a robotic process. Asked how he had found the transition, he replied that he was happy to have the work and to learn a new skill. It seemed to me that this is a sign of the times we are in; we need to be flexible and open to all our possibilities. Things are changing at an unprecedented rate and we have to be clear about out response. It is often said that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, but this is not helpful when the new tricks are required to survive.

Towards the end of this month we remember a new baby who was born to a young girl 2000 years ago. The conditions were not ideal. She and the man who was with her had come to register in his hometown; the place was crowded and there was nowhere to stay until a kindly innkeeper let them use his stable. This experience was changing her life. When she had been asked by the angel to bear a child, her first response was to question, but she was persuaded that nothing is impossible with God and said: “let it be according to your word.” So it was that, nine months later, she delivered her baby with the animals looking on.

That baby grew up in the Jewish tradition (see Luke chapter 2). He was circumcised at eight days and presented in the Temple a month later. He came of age at 12 when he came back with his family for the Passover festival at Jerusalem; there, he was drawn to exploring his faith at the feet of the teachers. At 30, he read from the prophet Isaiah in the synagogue; that was when his life work changed dramatically. Fully trained as a carpenter in Nazareth, he was to change into an itinerant teacher and healer – he was to bring new insights that were to cause his demise; the elders found they couldn’t change quite so radically.

On the night before he died, Jesus was again in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover feast, this time with his disciples. He declared to them that if he did not leave them, they would never have the chance to receive the spirit that fired him (John 16:7). They were being challenged to be open to that change, as we all are. Darwin, who was born 200 years ago, once said: “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” His daring to challenge what they believed about the created order outraged the religious authorities. We are challenged today to change our lifestyles in order to save the climate, so let us pray, with Reinhold Niebuhr:

God, grant me
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2009-11-04

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