200 years ago in Oihi Samuel Marsden preached the first sermon in New Zealand; joining with the angels in the Christmas story to proclaim “I bring you glad tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10).
What is this “glad tidings”?
That God’s Kingdom is breaking into our world. That there is an alternative; our future is no longer dictated by our past. In a world caught in cycles of retaliatory violence there is a Kingdom where lion and lamb will lie down together. In a country where one in four children grow up in poverty there is a Kingdom where the King cares so much he is born as a child into a stable, into a context of child genocide and as a refuge. In a world caught in destructive patterns of domestic violence there is a Kingdom where Joseph does the right thing and faithfully serves and loves Mary even though the child is not his. There is a Kingdom which is good news.
How does God’s Kingdom come? It comes because God chose to enter our world as a child. He doesn’t come in power but instead in a vulnerable, costly and personal way. The scandal of this Kingdom is that the King of “the last becoming the first” lives this himself. God’s Kingdom is the way it is because it reflects God’s nature and character, a God who transforms the world through personal costly vulnerability.
This Christmas will you join with Samuel Marsden and the angels in proclaiming these glad tidings of great news? Will you join with the God child in transforming the world through the giving of yourself by becoming vulnerable and personally involved to see his Kingdom come in our neighbourhoods afresh this Advent?
May the Christ child enter your world this Advent.
Bishop of Wellington