Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Christ our lightsaber — Christmas message from the Archbishop of Wales

When we are all switched on together – and see it like your lightsaber if it helps – we have a chance of overcoming the darkness — Archbishop Barry Morgan

You don’t have to be a Star Wars fanatic to know that light is the weapon of choice for Jedi Knights. Children have been wielding lightsabers for nearly four decades now and no doubt they will be as high as ever on Santa’s Christmas list in the wake of the release of the latest blockbuster.

Light is the weapon of choice for Christians too. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Christ, the “light of the world” , born, we believe, show our way in the darkness, to lighten up our path. The light takes us to life, to truth, to God, away from the darkness which leads to fear, despair and death.

We have seen a lot of darkness in the world this year and there will be many who wish it could all be defeated by a couple of brave knights in a lightsaber battle in an afternoon matinee. Sadly, reality is far more complicated. As we watch thousands upon thousands of people flee from grotesque conditions in Syria and Iraq, face perilous journeys across the sea, feel the horror of terrorist attacks across the world, and come to terms with the potentially catastrophic affects of climate change, we do not feel any assurance that it will all turn out alright in the end, that good will overcome evil and that there will be Happily Ever After. We feel frightened, suspicious and alarmed.

It is when the world is at its darkest, however, that we search more for light and that is what we need to do now. And when we find it we have to celebrate it and fan its flame. The light shines in Wales as we open our doors to refugees and make them feel welcome; it shines when people of all faiths and none come together to speak out against and condemn atrocities carried out in the name of religion – to say’ not in our name’. It shines in the commitment shown by nations at the Paris Climate summit to change the way we live in order to protect the environment, particularly in those countries most at risk.

However, for the light to triumph it is not enough for us simply to look for it – we have to light up our own corners of the world, be agents of change where we are. We have to embody God’s love and compassion wherever we are and whatever we are doing. It is only by making a difference to the way we live that we can hope to change the way other people live. We need to show love and respect to our neighbours and to strangers, to forgive those who hurt us and to repent when we have wronged, to help those in trouble and need, to be with the lonely, to care for the vulnerable and to treat our world with respect with every step we take.

When we are all switched on together – and see it like your lightsaber if it helps – we have a chance of overcoming the darkness.

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