Friday, December 25, 2009

Depend on God and each other, says Archbishop

The Archbishop of Canterbury reminded people that they can depend on God for what they need to live in his Christmas message today.

Dr Rowan Williams preached at Canterbury Cathedral at the 11am service.

He told people that Christmas teaches us how to live a truly fulfilled existence by being joyfully dependent on one another.

“Relationship is the new thing at Christmas, the new possibility of being related to God as Jesus was and is. But here’s the catch and the challenge. To come into this glorious future is to learn how to be dependent on God,” he will say.

The Archbishop believes that the word ‘dependent’ has negative connotations with pity and concern, as it is generally associated with dependency on drugs or alcohol, or poor people who are reliant on handouts to get by.

“In other words, we think of dependency as something passive and less than free,” he says.

He argued, however, that people need to broaden their point of view to regard dependency in a positive way.

"There is a dependence that is about simply receiving what we need to live; there is a dependence that is about how we learn and grow," he will say.

“And part of our human problem is that we mix this up with passive dependency and, in (quite rightly) trying to avoid passivity we get trapped in the fantasy that we don't need to receive and to learn."

He said to the congregation that being dependent on others is also a state in which we can learn gratitude.

"… to ask from each other, to receive from each other, to depend on the generosity of those who love us and stand alongside us. And that again means a particular care for those who need us most, who need us to secure their place and guarantee that there is nourishment and stability for them,” he will say.

“As we learn how to be gratefully dependent, we learn how to attend to and respond to the dependence of others.

“And perhaps by God's grace we learn how to create a society in which real dependence is celebrated and safeguarded, not regarded with embarrassment or abused by the powerful and greedy."
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