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Reform Magazine | December 13, 2018

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Chapter & verse: Titus 3:1-11

Chapter & verse: Titus 3:1-11

Derek Estill calls for a truly Christian Christmas

‘Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat / Please put a penny in the old man’s hat / If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do / If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!’ If we positively respond to this rhyme, we will be putting our faith into action. The rhyme is a plea to help those who are worse off, recognising that we too are always in need of God’s blessing.

As we know, help is needed more and more – even in the UK, which has the fifth largest economy in the world. What does that say about our society?

The UK likes to think of itself as a nation of generous people who are welcoming and willing to help. But, though there are always exceptions, we regularly see and hear of desperate situations – struggling families, increasing use of foodbanks to help bridge the social care gap, and more and more homeless people living on the streets of our towns and cities. More and more children now qualify for free school meals, and many towns are providing thousands of sandwich lunches for children during the school holidays, when school meals are not available. How can this be? Have we got our priorities wrong?

Paul’s letter to Titus, in Crete, reminds us as followers of Jesus that we have responsibilities to make sure we are compliant with the qualifications he has set down for eldership, and I would say for anyone following the teachings of Jesus. Paul points out that we need to be above reproach in all we do and say, exercising integrity and justice, and teaching sound principles to all ages by following Jesus’ example. We are to live our lives in readiness for every good work, supporting authorities who are charged with dealing fairly and justly with people, and recognising that we too could easily and unexpectedly fall foul of circumstances beyond our control, rendering us in need of help, whoever we are. Paul points out to Titus the ever-present need for us to devote ourselves to good works, and to putting our faith into action by positively responding to those in need…

Derek Estill is Moderator of the United Reformed Church General Assembly

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the December 2018 / January 2019 edition of  Reform

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