Rector's Reflections - 6 December

Rector’s Reflections 

Wednesday 6th December 2023

A Favourite Advent Hymn

In yesterday’s reflections, we looked at the first verse of the old Advent hymn which begins “Creator of the stars of night”. This verse proclaims that Jesus is our Creator, our everlasting light, and our Saviour.  The second verse develops our understanding of what it means to say that Jesus is our Saviour.

The second verse reads as follows:

“Thou, grieving at the bitter cry

Of all creation doomed to die,

Didst come to save a ruined race

With healing gifts of heavenly grace”.

This verse seeks to answer three questions about  Jesus as our Saviour.  The first is question is this: if Jesus is the Saviour, who does He save? Is Jesus only interested in saving individuals?  The answer provided by the hymn is that Jesus saves whole communities rather than just favoured individuals: He came to save “a ruined race”.  I should add that the author doesn’t mean that Jesus came to save only one race- it’s his way of saying that Jesus came to save every race and people, which is what the New Testament teaches us.

This first question leads onto to a second: if Jesus came to save every race, how does He do his saving work? The answer to this lies in the  final line: ”with healing gifts  of heavenly grace”.  Jesus saves us through works of healing – using the word healing  in its broadest sense,  which includes the healing of broken relationships. Human sinfulness means that so many our relationships are broken: our relationships with ourselves and with one another,  our relationships with the natural world, and our relationships with God. Jesus brings the healing we need- if we are prepared to allow Him into our lives.

And then the final question:  why did Jesus choose to do this? What’s His motivation? The answer lies in the love which lies at the very core of Jesus’s being – the perfect love which is God Himself.  In the words of the hymn, Jesus “griev[ed] at the bitter cry of all creation doomed to die”.  It was out love for us and our world that Jesus came and lived among us, to live a fully human life.  And it was the same love which would, in due course, lead Him to the Cross.

- Father Jason

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