Wednesday 16 December 2009

On the threshold of Christmas: a bridge over troubled waters

humber bridge close up of south tower and deck at dusk do not be afraid

The bridging event of the incarnation declares that God is with us. Always with us. The gift of Christmas is personalised to each one of us: wrapped around in an assurance that we need not be afraid, God’s love is purposeful and has ‘saving’ intent. The nature of this will be different in each case, but the essence is of a gift which will build bridges over troubled waters. This task of healing, reconciliation and justice is by its very nature communal, collective and collaborative because we are each called to be gift for one another. The presence God gives to individuals is an essential single component of grace in the global engineering of God’s bridge-building kingdom: it is the way in which it fits in context with other pieces which gives meaning and strength to the whole.

Reading the Christmas story one conclusion is distinctive and unavoidable: God is insistent that bridges be built over the troubled waters of injustice, greed and exclusion which keep us apart from each other. A divided society and a divided world is not the last word; it never is. That distinction is always left to God’s gift word in the Christ-event. And, as the Bible makes clear, this creative word always starts construction amongst the neediest people.

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