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Do not be afraid

Do not be afraid

Something to read

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’

- Matthew 1:18-20.

Something to think about

It’s not always wise to take decisions by popular vote. In 2016 the Natural Environment Research Council launched a competition to name a new ship, with names being voted on by the public. But although the vote was dominated by the amusing suggestion ‘Boaty McBoatface’, put forward by a radio presenter, the NERC eventually took the decision to use a more serious name instead: RRS Sir David Attenborough.

Popular opinion polls would certainly have told Joseph to break ties with his fiancée Mary: pregnancy out of wedlock was a serious disgrace. To maintain any connection with her would implicate Joseph in her public shame. But everything changed for Joseph when he discovered that God’s Spirit was at work in Mary’s circumstances, and he became fully committed to both mother and child, despite what anyone might have said.

We might find that continuing to talk about the climate crisis and work for climate justice is unpopular and costly; not everyone wants to hear about the impact of human action on our planet and what we need to do to turn things around. But God’s Spirit is at work through climate justice action. Like Joseph, we must not be afraid to commit ourselves, despite what others may think.

Something to do

Share Christian Aid’s Letters for Creation Bible study resource with your small group leader. If you’re not part of an existing Bible study group, you could gather folk together for a special one-off session!

Something to pray

Gracious God, thank you for your patience with me. You call us again and again not to be afraid, but sometimes I am concerned about what people will think and say about me. Help me to listen to your voice speaking more loudly than those who might scorn or mock, and to be ready to join in wherever your Spirit is at work. Amen.

Today’s contributor is Rev Claire Jones