Saturday, 10 April 2021

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,...

...and peace on earth to those on whom his favour rests.’

(Luke 2:14)


Sometimes I go around the fields behind the Moravian Settlement in Ockbrook. As I walk, thoughts come to my mind, thoughts about the upcoming Advent and Christmas celebrations. I can see the star shining from the cupola of our Moravian Church. It has shone every night from March onwards, bringing light into a difficult time. I walk on, and suddenly I can see angels beside the star. I can see the fields around me, and sheep in the fields. All is filled with the light that comes from the angels who sing, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those on whom his favour rests.' (Luke 2:14)

I sometimes walk between Zoom meetings. I can't sit in front of a computer screen all day long. Zoom meetings are the new reality in our every-day life since the virus called Covid-19 has visited so many places around the world. When I listen to the angels, I can hear them singing for those in the village who are furloughed, for those who rely on foodbanks and those who run them, for those who are isolating themselves so that the virus can't get to them, for those who are ill, for those who have little to do and feel bored and those who are overworked. 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those on whom his favour rests.'

It is indeed a strange time we live in, a time that my generation hasn't seen, but generations before have seen such times. Pandemics happened throughout the centuries, often not recognised as pandemics. But people's lives have been affected over and over again.

I still have the singing of the angels in my ears. It sounded so lovely, soothing, peaceful, life-bringing and healing. I ponder about these words, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those on whom his favour rests.' Why is it that the first line is, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven'? Do the angels try to point us to a place that is higher than our understanding? To a love and a healing power which we call God?

To what extent does God play a role in our every-day life? As the angels point to God first, questions arise in my mind, 'Is he given the first place and the highest priority in our world?' 'Is everything centred around him?' If I'm honest, I have to say 'no', it's not everything centred around him. So much is centred around commerce, around business, around money and power, and clinging to power as long as possible. Our world would look different if everything was centred around God.

Even the pandemic which we experience in these weeks and months, and maybe even years, may have to do with God not being in the centre. Scientists tell us that it is quite likely that pandemics will become more frequent, because the living space of animals and plants is more and more compromised by the cutting down of rain forests, building roads into wild areas and littering the oceans with plastic, to name just a few. If we intrude into habitats which are balanced within themselves, and therefore can easily cope with certain types of viruses, nature might fight back. Sir David Attenborough has called for the 're-wilding' of nature, as he calls it, allowing God's creation to stay in this delicate balance which enables life in all its fullness.

The angel's message has another part to it, 'A Saviour has been born to you; Christ, the Lord.' The first step for us is to recognise that we cannot save ourselves. We can do our best, and we can try to promote life to the best of our ability. But in the end, we are always in danger of working against our creator. He has seen that we are in a dire dilemma. He came in Jesus right among us and alongside us, bringing comfort to everyone: those who are tired and burdened. And - in a second step - he brings new direction into our lives by saying, 'I am the way, work with me and alongside me, group yourselves around me, the living God, and peace will be with you, this Christmas and always.'

And as I come back from my walk around Ockbrook's fields, the star is still shining brightly. I realise that the angels' message has gone around the world, into every corner: A saviour is born, Christ the Lord. Have peace and don't be afraid. Have a blessed Christmas!

br joachim kreuselBr Joachim Kreusel

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Church House is the Headquarters of the Moravian Church in the British Province and is located in London at:
Moravian Church House, 

5 Muswell Hill, 
N10 3TJ


020 8883 3409

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