Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The New Year Challenge

Christian Comment for 27th December 2014

Another Christmas Day has been and gone. Some of us gathered in churches to welcome the Baby Jesus – who became the man to show us what it means to be perfectly human. Others agreed with the TV host’s announcement, welcoming the ‘silly season’; a welcome break from work and school, catch up with family, and a chance to just do what comes to mind.

And the post-Christmas clock ticks on! 2014 will soon be history. When the clocks chime at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and the either loved or tedious Alde Lang Sine is sung once again, it is time for serious stock taking.

2014 was for our world a year of disasters! – One passenger airplane gone missing, still a mystery; one passenger airplane shot down, being a victim of military aggression; millions of hungry, homeless, hopeless, people. Many of them exiles, who are too frightened to return to lands where terror and death stalk. Isis – the inhuman killers who blaspheme by taking Allah’s name in vain (Allah is the Arabic for “God’).

And for Aotearoa New Zealand – the revelation that one quarter of the child supporting population are seriously deprived. In the words of the Inter-Faith Report, “One in five of our kids don’t have the fundamental essentials of life.” A slogan from the 1930s is true once more: "The rich get richer while the poor have children.”

So let us not ignore the people outside our family circle, because the clock ticks on and the grim events overseas and the present sad state in our country when it comes to kids and housing, call us to get out of our comfort zone and act. A men-created ‘doomsday’ can be prevented by our following the caring model of Jesus.

May 2015 not be a replica of 2014, but the triumph of a caring humanity.

The Rev’d Petra Barber is the vicar of the Gisborne Anglican Parish

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