I have been asked to write a 200-word 'Pause for Thought' for the local weekly newspaper that serves our town. Or rather, 'The Minister' of the church has been asked to write the article; it just happens that 'The Minister' is me!
Any comments would be greatly appreciated - although I'm near deadline now. I'll take the criticism that I'm not trying to be evangelistic - I'm not. I'm trying to appeal to people of all faiths and people of no faith.
As Christmas approaches, the Christian Church awaits the birth of Jesus Christ, whom Scripture also calls ‘The Prince of Peace’.
Our world today is in desperate need of peace. Fortunately, the values of peace and tolerance are shared by people of all major faiths as well as by people of no faith.
In recent years, our society has grown fearful of the unfamiliar. Jesus had a solution to this fear. He visited the people who his society feared, he ate with them and got to know them personally. Jesus followed the central precept of Judaism: ‘Love God and love your neighbour’. His love was not sentimental; rather it was expressed in his fundamental respect for the personhood of each individual.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and Saviour of the world. But whoever you are and whatever you believe, each of us can participate in the work of the Prince of Peace by respecting people of all backgrounds and faiths, by promoting tolerance in public life and by seeking justice for all people.
May our town, our nation and our world be blessed with true peace this Christmas season.