Rector's Reflections - 28 November

Rector’s Reflections  Tuesday 28th November 2023

Preparing for Advent

Christmas is all about God’s love, and yesterday I shared some thoughts on this topic from the 1st Letter of John : “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him”. .

This brings to mind the words of a poem written by the 19th Century poet, Christina Georgina Rossetti. Christina was a committed Christian, and she was also associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Perhaps you know the poem; it has been set to music, and is sometimes sung as a hymn or carol at this time of year.  These are the words:

       Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love divine;

       Love was born at Christmas, star and angels gave the sign.

       Worship we the Godhead, Love incarnate, Love divine;

       Worship we our Jesus : but wherewith for sacred sign?

       Love shall be our token, love be yours and love be mine,

       Love to God and all men, love for plea and gift and sign.

I am struck by the profound simplicity of the last line of this poem, especially the short phrase: ”love for plea”.  When we are worried about what God might think of us, or whether we have done enough with the gifts and opportunities which God has given us,  let us remember that we have a defence – a defence in which we can place our hope and confidence.  What is our defence? What is our “plea” before the seat of judgement? It is one word – “love”.

Have we tried our best to love God and to love one another? It is inevitable that we could always have done more; and it is equally inevitable that we will have made mistakes, and that our efforts have not always born fruit. But our failings do not matter. What matters is this : have we at least tried to love God and our neighbour?

And if we feel that we have even failed in this, not to worry.  Ultimately, our “plea” before God is not based on anything we may or may not have done. Our “plea” is based on what Jesus has said and done for us, and so the love we offer for our plea is the divine love which took human flesh in Jesus Christ.  We will look at this in more detail in tomorrow’s reflections.

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