Weekly thoughts from the Rector of Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas, where these words remind us that Jesus’ peace goes with us into the world.
Each year the Archbishop of Canterbury publishes an Ecumenical Christmas Letter to Christians throughout the world. The Most Rev. Justin Welby currently holds that office, and here is a quote from his letter to us in this Christmas season:
In many parts of our troubled, uncertain world, Christian minority communities along with other minorities are being [targeted and attacked]. In some places, this is motivated by a desire to eradicate the indigenous Christian presence completely. These are acts not only of terror but of genocide; criminal acts for which the international community must bring those guilty to account. Yet although so vulnerable and often forgotten and marginalised, our brothers and sisters are being courageous in the Lord. Indeed, ‘God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong’ (1 Corinthians 1.27).
In other places conflict and corruption have become so normal that the world forgets the suffering of the poor.
I ask your prayers for those of us who live in safety that we may not be bystanders afar off, beating our breasts as we retire to the security of our homes, but that we may draw nearer to the cross of Jesus, stand there alongside our suffering brothers and sisters and be ready to take our part in practical action for change. I pray that Christ will strengthen all his people in our inner being with power through the Holy Spirit to be faithful, to have courage and to live in hope.
In this New Year, my prayer is that we’ll be filled with such hope so that the light of Christ will shine into the darkness within us and around us.
— The Rev. Neil Alan Willard, Rector