Preaching a message of love

 23 January 2021 |

I felt real relief this week when Joe Biden became President of the United States. Watching the four year inauguration event from the UK, something I’ve done for some years now, was also rather sobering. Lady Gaga let rip, and a young black woman, Amanda Gorman, read her poem with elegance and grace, and a senior man with a folksy style talks of unity. It was understated but the relief was everywhere on show. No one knows what or where the US will go in the next few years, tackling a vicious virus, mending broken lives torn apart by illness, poverty and the colour of skin, will all be a burden for the most optimistic of souls. But it was clear that the calm and dignity of the occasion would serve to set a new tone in the political life there in the States.

One of the starkest aspects of the story of Jesus is the ordinariness of the tale. Rome was the power in charge and anyone who knows anything about Roman emperors, will know that it was a harsh regime that kept power always within its grasp and that power was exercised quickly and profoundly. Into that world came the Messiah and there washope and expectations for a great military leader to confront and fight the Romans. Instead, in a town far away from all the action, Jesus enters, quietly, tenderly even, but with a message of change and repentance. He calls rough fishermen and gentle women to his side and goes about his ministry healing people, changing lives and giving hope to those who had no hope. 

For Jesus, there was no pomp, no national inauguration, no trumpets, poems or songs. Just the noise of his gentle feet on the earth, showing affection and tenderness, turning worlds upside down and preaching a message of love.