The Kingdom of God has come near - Reflection by Canon Mike
Read Canon Mike's reflection for Reflection for Tuesday, 15th December, 2020.
Well, the above photo could be one used in an amusing caption competition or similar; and it has made us all smile as we have entered the vestry in the cathedral recently! For those who may not be able to see it so well, the photo is of a wooden crate with its lid off. Inside all one can see is straw. Handwritten on the side of the crate are the words “Baby Jesus – do not remove!” The photo clearly shows that Baby Jesus has most definitely been removed and is no longer in the crate! Oh dear! Ah but worry not – that’s because Baby Jesus is safely in our crib within the cathedral – our crib which was blessed last Sunday; one of a number of nativity scenes around the cathedral reminding us of this most special time of year. Scenes which, even with the current restrictions, have many families visiting just to see the cribs, the trees and all the cathedral can offer this year – in a safe and secure way. It is different and yet the same….in that Baby Jesus definitely hasn’t been removed!
But as well as the smiles and the amusement behind such writing on an empty box, the words also spoke to me about ourselves, and where Jesus is for each of us. This time of Advent allows us to reflect upon such things, as well as busily prepare ourselves for the Christmas services and festivities. As I said in my homily on Sunday – what do we see as to where Jesus is? What do we see as Christian disciples when we have the love of God, the power of the spirit – and the Baby Jesus in our hearts and minds….as we should do if we invite him to be with us? That we, like Mary and Joseph might cradle him in our arms – a tiny infant, so fragile and delicate – yet so powerful and wonderful. What do others see in us, if we invite Jesus in – if we look beyond the historical and into the world of the faithful. What do we see in others in their needs and requirements – can we see as Jesus grew up to see….to see the injustices and the wrongs? What do others see in us, if we truly have Baby Jesus within every fibre of our being – can we act as he grew to act; with gentleness, kindness, compassion and love?
The title I’ve chosen for this piece may sound a little out of place from what I’ve just written or read. “The Kingdom of God has come near….” It is taken from Luke chapter 10, verse 9 – and is one of my favourite verses. It is part of the directive Jesus is giving to his disciples as he sends them out into the towns and villages – to heal the sick who are there and tell the people, the Kingdom of God has come near to you. There are many different ways of interpreting this – but one I particularly like and always have in my own mind, is not something to do with time, but with space. That in coming to the people of the town, the Kingdom of God has indeed come physically near to them….by what they as disciples say and do; bringing the love of God, the power of the spirit – and that Baby Jesus within each of them. For Jesus is with them – and as such, so is God’s Kingdom. When they are there, the Kingdom of God has indeed come near.
And this is the power that God gives each of us – at this time, at all times. The power to freely invite the Baby Jesus once more into our lives, to ask the Spirit to be with us and work through us, to pass on the love of God by who we are…..it is a mission for each of us; a charge for each of us – as special and as precious as the Baby Jesus himself. So much so, that our own words should cry out from our hearts – Baby Jesus within…..do not remove!
May we, even in these troubled times, invite the Baby Jesus once more into our hearts and minds. May he become afresh an integral part of our daily lives – that we cry out from deep within ourselves “DO NOT REMOVE”! For with him there, wherever we are with others, the Kingdom of God does indeed, in small way, come near to those we are with. For which we give thanks and praise to God.
Since this is the last reflection of mine before the glorious feast of Christmas – may I take the liberty of wishing you personally a Very Happy, Holy and as safe a Christmas as possible.
With my love and prayers for you all; God bless you and go gently.
Canon Mike 😊
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