Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem December Newsletter
At our Diocesan Synod (‘Majma’) in November I set as our theme for the Diocese this year: John the Baptist. His counter-cultural message of repentance and preparation was difficult for his community to hear. He was a man of austerity: worldly things did not matter to him. What mattered to him were not everyday concerns, but the will of God, as he call us to ‘prepare the way’.
Christians must ponder on how to ‘prepare the way’ in our own lives and in our communities; for Christ is the Way. Yet, for what and for whom do we prepare the way? Advent gives us the answer: we are preparing for the Christ – he is the Way – and this is captured by that wonderful hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem”:
No ear may hear his coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
We prepare through primarily our prayer, as we open our minds and our hearts to receive his abundant love. We prepare through listening to those around us, our families, our neighbors and our communities. Through our prayer and through our listening, we learn what God wills and what our neighbors needs. As Christians we have a duty to act not for our interests but listen and respond to the needs around us as Christ has taught us. This is what John the Baptist did. It was not an easy task – the path is costly and narrow. For John his pursuit of truth cost him his life. With Jesus’s promise of eternal life.
So let us prepare ourselves to let the Christ child enter in this Christmas, I wish you all, wherever you are this Christmastide, his blessing, for your family, for your friends and for your neighbors.
Grace and Peace,
The Most Revd Suheil S. Dawani, Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem