What God does

by Richard on December 22, 2012

From Rowan Williams’ 2005 Christmas message

Christmas reminds us of the one thing we know for sure - and that is God’s way of responding to suffering. He doesn’t wave a magic wand, or descend briefly from the sky to clean things up. He arrives on earth as a human being who will change things simply by the completeness of his love. Jesus is dedicated to the will of the one he calls Father, the divine source of his own divine life. Never for a moment does he put any obstacle in the way of that ultimate, total outpouring of love that is the wellspring of his own life. He gives himself to this transforming purpose in every moment, whatever it costs. And the world changes - even the physical world: death is overcome and the material world reveals God’s glory in its depths. So we are changed. New things become possible for us, new levels of loving response and involvement. As has often been said, the Christian answer to the problem of suffering is not a theory but the story of a life and a death, Jesus’ life and death. And for that answer to be credible now, that story has to be visible in our story. We must give an answer to suffering and tragedy in what we do - because the one thing we know is that this is what God does.

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