Dear Christ the Redeemer family,
Happy 10th Day of Christmas!
As we are celebrating our Lord Jesus’ coming among us in great humility and love, joining the suffering of the world in order to redeem us, I want to highlight an important direction we believe the Lord is leading us — to care for vulnerable children on the North Shore — and a way, soon, to learn more and be involved.
An important category from our discernment of a strategic plan was our need, as followers of Jesus Christ, to find ways to engage with the North Shore in positive, creative ways: how can we get beyond the church walls and touch places of pain and suffering in our little part of the world?
We are called to do this. The One we follow, whose name we carry, and, indeed — wonder of wonders! — whose very presence we mystically and spiritually embody, has led the way (as we celebrate in these twelve days of Christmas). We follow one who came down from heaven to walk this earth as “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering,” full of compassion and willing to touch and restore the dignity of those most maligned and ignored. Hence as we follow in his ways, we also bear witness to him. So as we began to pray and explore all of this, we have felt the Lord calling us particularly to give attention to vulnerable children on the North Shore.
I want to say how delighted I am about this. I believe this is a powerful and positive way for us to show our commitment to life as a gift from God, to each person’s being created in the image of God, to God’s love for each person.
I remember several years ago visiting Mother Teresa’s work in Calcutta, where the Sisters of Charity take in and care for the dying. I had heard about her work before, of course, but what had never hit me until I was there, seeing her work in its larger context, is that in the midst of a Hindu culture (which believes in thousands upon thousands of incarnations of each one’s soul or life force) this simple act of caring for those “of least value” was proverbial dynamite. It was poignantly positive, standing in stark contrast to the prevailing worldview all around her. It was a pungent critique but also, importantly, it was more than a critique: it was Gospel; it was good news.
We’ve also discovered the Lord has been calling the rest of the North Shore Gospel Partnership to get involved in this issue as well. Think about this for a moment: what if Gospel-centered churches on the North Shore become known as the people who care for vulnerable children? It will be a challenge to the culture around us inasmuch as that culture might be self-absorbed, or perhaps not clear as to whether the human is still a creature set apart, or, indeed, doubtful as to whether love is real enough that a Great Lover (God) might exist at all…
So, friends, on Sunday, January 14, please join us at the 10 o’clock Keep Calm and Love your Neighbor hour as Fr Brian will update us on our opportunities to express this kind of positive, powerful good news in our own context and regarding vulnerable children, which is a real issue on the North Shore.
I’m going to leave it for Fr Brian to share the details, but here’s two directions that we’ve been led so far:
- Issues around foster care and adoption (and supporting those who are called to take this on directly),
- To join with North Shore Community Baptist in February as they put on Night to Shine (https://www.timtebowfoundation.org/ministries/night-to-shine). My parents’ church did this last year and my father told me about it. He said, “I went to volunteer but I was no use at all. I sat and wept through the whole thing.”
May Jesus Christ be praised,
PS: And please join us this coming Sunday in the 10 o’clock hour as well, as Fr Malcolm introduces The Confessions of St Augustine, which we will be reading and discussing together the rest of Epiphanytide (after the 14th).