Superintendents Letter - 23rd December 2020
A Christmas message from our Superintendents as we enter this ever changing festive period.
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Birmingham Methodist Circuit
This baby, needy and naked,
born into poverty and exile,
is our salvation.
These three simple lines say so much about the about the powerful message of Christmas, that God was born among us, incarnate as one of us. One of the most remarkable portrayals of incarnation can be seen in the film ‘Children of Men’. Based on a novel by P. D. James, the story is set in 2027, when two decades of human infertility have left all societies on the brink of collapse, and people seeking asylum in Britain are subjected to detention in brutal refugee camps. The main character, Theo, is living a hopeless existence until he is given the task of protecting a young refugee, Kee, who is pregnant. After fleeing from the authorities, Kee’s miracle baby is born in one of the brutal camps, surrounded by utter despair and violent conflict. But, at the merest glimpse of the child, wonder and hope unite all witnesses to the truth. The child is the cause of solidarity.
During this terrible and trying year of pain, fear, and uncertainty, to witness acts of solidarity has offered hope at the bleakest of times. On those occasions when there was an appreciation of key workers, or the recognition of the vulnerability of marginalised communities, or the realisation of our interdependence as human beings within Creation, we were seeing acts of solidarity. We must savour those insights because their truths can help us build a better world together. Such a world will reflect God’s Kingdom, or God’s New World, once we acknowledge that in Jesus, we are witnessing an act of Divine solidarity. God is incarnate as one of us, offering hope, joy, and peace because we are united in love.
The Methodist Church’s Christmas campaign for 2020 #GodIsWithUs seeks to share the good news of the Incarnation through the stories of Christians who reflect upon what hope has meant this year and how they have experienced God in solidarity with them. One of the campaign’s posters reads: ‘It’s been a tough year, but God is with you at Christmas and always – God is with you, me, us’. This faith in the Incarnate God who stands with us and unites us as one body in Jesus Christ is not simply a slogan for a Christmas campaign, it must be the foundation of our personal and shared Christian lives. The powerful Christmas message of incarnational solidarity is proclaimed when we demonstrate that equality, diversity, and inclusion are the basis of God’s rule of life for all of us.
This Christmas celebration may not be what we hoped for - but keep the faith! With Jesus we find God in solidarity with us, ‘through hell and highwater’. In the name of the baby “needy and naked, born into poverty and exile” let us commit ourselves to one another, for then we can all be set free.
May you know joy this Christmas.
Alison, Nick & Neil
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