A glance at the latest news headlines is hardly encouraging: another cease fire in Gaza ends with the firing of more missiles, refugees killed in the Ukraine, another found dead in a container at an Essex port, and in Iraq thousands forced from their homes fleeing for their lives because of their faith. How, we may well ask, can they keep faith in the face of such danger and hostility, how indeed we may ask ourselves, can we keep faith in the face of such a world as ours, how can we talk of a loving God.
Let us not have the audacity to pretend it is easy, there are no simplistic answers or trite phrases that will somehow make everything better. What we see laid bare before us are scenes of inhumanity and evil, and must be named as such and indeed, being named, must be confronted.
Unusually perhaps it has been the church and its bishops who have in recent days been leading the challenge to our politicians to respond, to go to the aid of the refugee and to confront the aggressor, and there may be some ready to remind the church and its bishops to keep out.
But God did not ‘keep out’- indeed quite the reverse, the God we believe in got involved, stuck into the mess and the darkness of our world in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. In Jesus God was born among us as a refugee, lived in exile, faced injustice and torture and held fast to light in the face of the greatest darkness on the cross and through that brought new life and hope.
The life death and resurrection of Jesus convinces us that though the darkness may be great it will never ultimately win, for he has shown us that love will triumph.
May we never give up, and may that love be shown in us, our lives, our words, our deeds that even in the face of such headlines the world may still have hope for the future.
The Venerable Robert Springett, Archdeacon of Cheltenham