You and I can enjoy our life with Christ today because of the many very brave and noble brothers and sisters who have kept the faith, and passed it on, over the centuries. Preparing to teach on 2 Corinthians 4, I found myself looking at a couple of passages by Christians from the early centuries […]
The Harvest Fair at HBC this year maintained its focus on Fairtrade to support the producers of the food we eat but with an eco twist as climate change is affecting those producers’ ability to grow the crops. There was the usual selection of delicious cakes made from fairtrade ingredients and the Headington Fairtrade shop […]
Help needed at Community Emergency Food Bank in Barton
Nick Jackson, our Children’s and Family Minister, has written two children’s books. Here he tells a little of the story of how they came to be. “For years I have enjoyed writing and performing dramas; my favourite one is called Right Hand Man. It’s a sketch about having God with you wherever you go – […]
Finding a local church that will support you throughout your student life in Oxford is vitally important. At Headington Baptist Church (HBC) we aspire to be just that kind of church! Here are a few of the reasons why HBC might be the right church for you:
Easter Sunday morning was special for us as a church as we witnessed the baptisms of Christian and Barbara.
We at Headington Baptist Church (HBC) believe the world is a better place with a reformed Oxfam than with no Oxfam, or a degraded Oxfam, or a silenced Oxfam. Therefore, at this difficult time we will be making a financial offering to Oxfam on Sunday 18th March. Seeking justice for the poor is a core […]
Water is fantastic stuff, so last Saturday we looked at some of the clever characteristics it has.
Christmas and Equality
Has it ever struck you, as the old joke goes, that Father Christmas is not politically correct because he gives better presents to rich kids. This is, of course, the opposite of the real Christmas story. If you want to understand why our law is based on the idea that all people are equal, then Christmas is a good place to start.
In the real story, God choses a poor carpenter’s family as the home for Jesus—not quite peasants, but not far from it. The mother of Jesus, Mary, quickly realises the political statement God had made by choosing her when she says:
‘He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.’
(The Bible, Luke 1:52-53 NIV)
She is well aware she is a ‘nobody’. She is not rich, she has no power, she lives in an occupied country, she probably had no education, and she was having a baby without being married. The point of the story is that everyone is equally precious to God. God could have chosen as the mother of Jesus a powerful and wealthy queen in a luxurious palace. Instead, God chooses a simple village girl, who is forced to give birth in a stable in a backwater of the Roman Empire.
Just to underline the message, God chooses a group of shepherds as the first witnesses of the event. At the time shepherds were despised. For one thing, they smelt of sheep and, in general, they were also accused of acquiring stuff that was not exactly theirs. True, a group of ‘wise men from the east’ also make an appearance some time later, but the first place they go looking is in the palace. They are amazed when they find ‘The Christ’, Jesus, in a poor, ordinary setting.
Whether or not you are religious, it is a matter of fact that the stories of Jesus have played a massive part in shaping our British (and European) culture and values. The birth of Jesus is not quite as ‘romantic’ as the pictures on our Christmas cards suggest, but much more important – we are all equal in God’s eyes, and that has become the law of our land.
(If you want to know more, see Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism, by Larry Siedentop, 2014)
Image: ‘Madonna & Child’ (Mary & Jesus), outside the Church of St. John and St. Martin, Schwabach, Germany.