Christian Comment with Revd Dr Simon Topping Chair of the Marah Trustees

THERE is a great deal of searching and seeking going on within the story of the birth of Jesus.

Three mystics travel from the east in search of a divine king.

The shepherds go in search of someone whom the angels describe as a Saviour, a Messiah and Lord.

Herod wants to track down the whereabouts of a potential rival, a new king.

The shepherds and the Magi are looking for God’s presence on earth.

The wise men turn out to be not so wise by seeking out that divine presence among the wealthy and the powerful.

They go to Herod’s palace assuming that if God is to enter into human reality this will take place through the existing structures of kingly rule.

The shepherds have a sharper instinct about where God might appear.

They discover God’s presence in a vulnerable baby born to an unmarried mother who is temporarily homeless and about to become a refugee, fleeing the wrath of king Herod.

So we learn from the Christmas story that God’s presence is revealed on earth in situations of vulnerability and insecurity and that those who wish to offer their love and worship to God must enter into such situations to find God.

This is underlined by the teaching of Jesus himself.

In the parable of the final judgement he explains that those who feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give a welcome to the stranger, clothing to the naked, care to the sick and imprisoned will find that they meet Christ in and through the people to whom they offer this support and help.

Marah is a Stroud based Christian charity which seeks to respond to this teaching of Christ.

It is committed to supporting vulnerable and marginalised adults in the Stroud District.

Our purpose is to offer friendship, wholesome food, advice, respect and hope to the people who come to Marah for assistance.

Marah seeks to reach out to those in need, providing fellowship and support in a non-judgemental, welcoming environment.

So if we are searching for God in our lives then the story of the birth of Jesus, and Jesus’ own teaching, might tell us where to start looking.