Feeding the hungry and housing the homeless are the appropriate responses to the vulnerable birth of Jesus, says the Anglican Archbishop of York.
In his Christmas Day sermon, Dr John Sentamu, the second most senior
cleric in the Church of England, invoked P.D. James's famous dystopian
novel The Children of Men to craft a message of hope and human transformation.
He declared: "The novel ends with hope: brutality is turned into
compassion, betrayal into loyalty, enmity into friendship, despair into
hope, self-absorption into inter-dependence, death into life. How? Not
by Western science discovering the solution, nor by the plans and
schemes of those in power."
Rather, "it's the vulnerable who rise up and neutralise the jealousy,
treachery, violence, murder, evil and the intoxication of power."
Dr Sentamu said that Jesus Christ's birth meant that "religious
beliefs were translated out of words into humanity, life and spirit, out
of the intellect into the simple impulses of the soul".
He continued: "Yes. [Christ's] rule is characterised by everlasting
justice and righteousness, instead of the ruthless greed and
exploitation which prevailed when he was born and is prevailing now in
our global village."
The Archbishop added: "In God's eyes, the quality of our relationships is more important than the rightness of our convictions."
Commenting on recent rows over women bishops and human sexuality,
among others, he said: "Sadly, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are
often bad at learning how to disagree, but we do need to remain in
harmony. We must 'make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit
through the bond of peace', as St Paul says in Ephesians 4.3."
"If we cannot experience and demonstrate the reality of this in
Christ, what have we to offer to the rest of society, with its fractured
relationships?", he concluded.