In a recent political debate a potential American presidential candidate has suggested that all Muslims should be denied entry to the country. These are comments that have rightly been condemned by those across the political spectrum as both offensive and incomprehensible. American Muslim citizens, are as committed to the common good as are British Muslim citizens. Acts of terror areno preserve of any one race or religion.
It is of course absolutely right that our governments act to ensure our protection from those who would, for whatever reason, turn to acts of terror but as has countless of citizens have demonstrated over recent weeks it is right that we too should play our part and live not in fear but in loving and in welcoming. It is this that will drive out darkness, and it is this that we see in ‘The Word becoming flesh’ and making His home among us in the babe of Bethlehem.
Edmund Banyard has expressed this in his poem of this title. May God break down barriers in us as we celebrate this Christmas
a frail human baby born in a cattle shed –
in such a manner
God made his home among us
that we might be drawn to him
through his very defencelessness.
There were none to deny entry
to that Bethlehem stable;
no security locks,
no barriers of any kind;
indeed, no Christ,
God came to break all barriers down.
To respond to that love
which risks all in reaching out to us
we surely must also take risks
in reaching out to others.
Risk being misunderstood;
risk having our overtures rejected
risk becoming vulnerable, defenceless.
can the true Christmas message
can the word of peace
the word of reconciliation,
By the Archdeacon of Cheltenham, Robert Springett