by Bishop Clyde Martin Harvey, St George’s-in-Grenada
Brothers and Sisters, it is my joy and privilege to greet you for the second time as Bishop of St George’s-in-Grenada, when we celebrate the great Christian festival commemorating the birth in human flesh of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
This is the Christian feast that has taken hold of the human imagination of all peoples in all times. We Christians make the bold claim that the Divine One, not only created us but also loved us so much that He wanted to share our human life in the Person of His Son. The familiar words of John 3:16 ring out at this time, “God loves the world so much that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life”. Often, we rush to the end of the verse and claim eternal life because of Jesus. I invite you this year to ponder with me the first part of the verse, “God loved the world so much that He gave his only Son.”
God trusted us with His Son, with Himself. The Creator of Heaven and earth trusts us human beings with His life. The image of the woman and the child which has so captivated our human imagination across time and cultures invites us to understand that the love which God is and brings includes this awesome trust. The woman is us. The child is God. God trusts us human beings with Himself, with this world and with each other. We, in turn, are invited to hear the invitation to trust one another.
This Christmas, I, therefore, invite us to hear and consider that invitation to trust one another. Do we trust each other? Trust begins in the home — when a parent leads a child by the hand to where she does not know, when confidences are shared, when we share our dreams, foolish though they may seem, we are living trust each day as a foundation for our life in a world which often seems dangerous, if not deadly.
Trust enables us to make commitments. The biblical story is a story of trust, trust in the God who called Abraham out of Ur in the Chaldees, and Moses from his father-in-law’s shepherding. It is the story of early Christian believers trusting one another enough to put everything one had in the hands of one’s community. From such trust in God and human beings came the great resilient nation of Israel and the early Christian communities in which the Spirit was powerfully manifest
Now, some of you may well be saying that you would be crazy to trust anyone in today’s world. There is no trust without trustworthiness. If our society is to know trust, some or even all of us must seek to become more and more trustworthy every day. We must challenge our leaders, including religious leaders, to be people whom we can trust.
Trustworthiness is conceived when I respect myself, trust myself and begin each encounter with the other, with a deep respect for him or her. If my encounter begins with a desire simply to win or to use, I will not want truth or love with the other. I will seek only to manipulate and to lie. Manipulation and lies are always the work of the Evil One. That is true of the most intimate and the most mundane of my relationships, in the home or in the workplace. If I am to be trusted, I must be trustworthy myself. If I am to find trust in my community, I must encourage others to be trustworthy in everything, great and small. If Grenada is to grow from strength to strength, we must build the next generation of trustworthy people.
So, on Christmas Day, we look upon the most vulnerable of human beings and acknowledge the presence of the Divine in Him, the Child. God has trusted us with God’s very being in Jesus Christ. We are not worthy of that trust. We will not be worthy of that trust. He does it simply because He loves us. Through that trust, we come to share His life, eternal life.
We too must trust one another. We are the visible others we must love and trust as the only indicator that we truly love and trust the invisible God. So, on Old Year’s Day, let us ask ourselves how we failed to love and trust one another in 2018, how we failed to be trustworthy ourselves. Let us seek to do better in 2019 and beyond. We need trust. Our families need trust. Our work environment depends on it. Grenada will not survive without it. Happy Christmas and blessed and trusting New Year to all of you.