The Anglican Church of Bermuda is as much a part of our Bermudian culture as the beat of the snare drum from the neighborhood Gombey troupe; or the refreshing taste of a sweet loquat in season. In fact, the Anglican Church has been a part of the Bermudian way of life from the very beginning. Aboard the Sea Venture on that fateful journey in June 1609, was a Priest of the Church of England, Rev’d Richard Bucke. Thus the ties between Bermuda and the Anglican Communion have a long, rich history.
As the national religious body for the beautiful island of Bermuda, the Anglican Church hopes to offer the same tranquility, serenity and peace that can be found in the scent of salt water, the view of the sunset and the sweet singing of the bluebird. We welcome you into a safe and Godly environment, where a love for Jesus Christ is supreme and service to others in the power of the Holy Spirit is paramount.
This is now my third year of having the opportunity to wish you and your families a wonderful and peaceful Christmas. But it seems like the whole notion of a peaceful Christmas in this very un-peaceful world is almost a contradiction in terms. 2015 began, as it seems fated to end, with ISIS on the rampage in Paris, mirroring other atrocities in Syria, joined by Boko Haram in Nigeria and other groups in Mali and Tunisia. It was the worst year for violence throughout the Middle East all of this causing one of the largest Immigration problems since the Second World War with the Migrant crisis seeing displaced people streaming both around and across the Mediterranean with pictures of women and children pressed against chain link fences drowning on beaches.
Here in Bermuda – our stories are less dramatic but for many just as painful – the trickle down of the slow movement towards growth in the economy has yet to be felt by all. Too many death on the road or by misadventure. And where is God in all of this? Some of you watching may be thinking ‘God is dead’.
Many people living in the 1st Century Judea were asking those questions. But the real story of Christmas reminds us that into a world of exploitation, greed, Imperialism, racism and militarism – which was the world at the time of Caesar Augustus - God chose to come in person.
In the world of politics and spin they say ‘optics’ count for so much. When we look at the optics of God’s coming into the world it is an amazing picture. He comes as a King, but what kind of king? Where? How? Unlike the birth of the 4th in line to the British throne this year – when Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was born in an exclusive Private Hospital in London, God chose a Middle Eastern, subjugated country;e chose a poor Carpenter and his barely adovlscent fiancé to be the mother and famil an insignificant backwater town; a poor labourer and his adolescent fiancé and asks them to bear and care for his own son. At the time of Jesus’ birth they were far from home and far from comfort. Not long after the birth they had to flee as refugees to Egypt as the despotic local ruler, Herod the Great, in a pique of paranoid mania sought to kill any potential threat to his power.
The optics are that God came then and there, entering the world as one of the least of us but with the aim of saving the least to the greatest through his death and resurrection - infusing hope, faith and new birth into a situation that appeared bleak and hopeless and shrouded by death.
At the time of his birth there was no ‘Hello Magazine’ to record the pictures – but there was a myriad of angels – the heavenly host who proclaimed those promised-filled words ‘Glory to God in the Highest and on earth - peace, good will amongst people!’ And the first people to hear were again a pretty ordinary and, arguably, Godless bunch of hardened shepherds – but in awe of what they saw that night they became worshipers whose hearts were filled with an almost supernatural joy as they found this child who would be King.
None of the things that make life so tough are bar to joy and peace to those who put their faith and trust in Jesus. So this is a time for us to pause and give thanks to God and to call out to him for us and for our families and society.
When we look at our own children, they come into the world so frail, and yet so beautiful, so weak and yet so full of potential. But we do not know what is going to happen to them and in this world it is hard to protect them. For Mary and Joseph, they too could not protect their son, Jesus. But they entrusted their child to the Lord who had brought them together and entrusted them with His greatest gift. Their faith shines today and this holy family become the template and blue print of what a family should be. It wasn’t that they were perfect, however, it was that their child being both human and divine was perfect and perfects all those who would later come to him. To know peace in our families and our society we need once more to put this Jesus back at the heart and to say – in God we trust.
Well, may you too be able to sing with the angels, Glory to God in the highest- peace and good will to his people on earth. And may the blessing of God rest upon you and upon your families now and always.
*Ordinand - someone who is training for Ordained ministry as a deacon or priest.
Copyright (©) 2013