The Holy Family - 27th December 2009 - Fr Ken Targett
Gospel Reading: Luke 2 v 1-10.
It was whilst sitting up in bed drinking a cup of tea last Monday morning that I heard on 'thought for the day' a voice from my past. I first met the owner of this voice at a service to begin the Labour Party Conference in 1970 in a Blackpool Methodist Church. It was the Rev Colin Morris. He had been a minister in Africa and appalled at the poverty and hunger had written a little book entitled "Include me out". He has spent the rest of his life working to relieve poverty and hunger
Now when invited by Fr Paul to preach I usually read and think and pray about the readings for the Sunday for several days...one of the benefits of being very part-time as an Honorary Assistant Curate So I had a rough sketch in mind what I thought God was saying in the readings.
Now this is where Colin Morris, quite unknown to himself, came to Join Ruth and me in our early cup of tea. He used his "thought for the day" slot to say very much the same things I amd going to preach about now!
You see the Holy Family are a splendid example of cooperation. They had done what most Jews did, especially when they had a son who was twelve years old, since Jewish boys became men at that age, they attended the Passover at the Temple. On the long trip back to Nazareth and their carpenter's business Jesus spent more time listening and asking questions.When they found him he went home with them them and was normally obedient to the Jewish family tradition.
There was this Jewish boy becoming aware that God was his father rather than Joseph but family unity needed cooperation even as he increasingly knew who he really was; the Holy one of God, the Messiah or expected one. The son of Mary who said "be it unto me according to thy word".
It should not surprise us that the Church recognised the Holy Trinity....the three in one, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit as showling the world plainly that cooperation lay at the very deepest heart of God and his creation. God the Holy Trinity can never be divided he has been called the Holy Society. Constantly cooperative, never competing, the very epitomy of that love, translated from AGAPE which means "the seeking of another's best interests.
Yet and yet and yet look about you and see we live in a world mostly far divorced from that Unselfish love where competition, we are told is the only way forward, the only route of progress. Taking care of number one in our personal lives and in our national aspirations is frequently seen as the primary virtue. Bonusses go to the competitive rich and powerful in so many personal, national and international areas of human activity.
It is an international disgrace that the recent conference on climate should have shown so much self interested twaddle rather than the sort of God given cooperation required to serve future generations. Competition in financial affairs has caused many honest working people hardship , while the bonusses go on in the name of international competition.
Is it God given progress to spend vast sums of money on nuclear weapons and other arms rather than seek other nations best interests by sharing financial and other recources of the earth? I think not.
Christians have a primary responsibility to know and live their lives by the very essence of what God in his Creation and Incarnation
has revealed to us. Cooperation, even if difficult, and open to abuse, is God's way.
We should be reflecting that Holy Family's values and know that deep in the heart of God lies a wish for His international family of all mankind to love and care for each other rather than compete and grab and kill.
Let us then use the Holy Family as a guide and inspiration in our own families and a deep insight into the nature of God and His creation.