Ukraine Appeal

1st December 2021

Rev David Speirs

Dear Reader,

This Advent season, Christians across the world will join in singing one of the great Advent carols written by Charles Wesley ‘Come thou long expected Jesus’ the first verse of which reads:

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.

Inspired by a verse of scripture in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) found in Haggai 2:7, which talks of the shaking of the nations, Wesley wrote this carol in anticipation of what the coming of Jesus might mean for the world. As the writer Ace Collins points out, in his book entitled ‘More stories behind the best loved songs of Christmas’, Charles Wesley lived in a time when poverty, disease, and hunger were rampant in British society. Collin’s goes onto observe that Wesley would have been very aware of the huge gaps between the rich and the poor in eighteenth century Britain, that political corruption was common place, and that the evils of racism would be most evident in the transatlantic slave trade. All this pointed towards a world that needed to be changed and redeemed to be more like the Kingdom of God, where human needs are met and where the dignity and worth of every human being is recognised and affirmed. A world in which everyone experiences life in all its fullness.

More than two hundred years after this carol was written, the problems of poverty, disease, corruption, and racism are still very evident. Combined with the challenges surrounding global warming and climate change, there very much remains a need for our global society to be changed and renewed.

Which is why the hope that comes with the Advent season is so important. In our hope, that the world can be transformed by Christ, we are able to critique the present reality and also imagine a world that is very different from our own. A world where human need and human dignity are affirmed, as it is shaped by the unconditional love of Jesus.

In this Advent season I hope and pray that we might consider what the coming of Christ might mean for the world and for each of us personally. What do we long and hope for, and what fears do we need to be released from, in order to find life in all its fullness?

Yours faithfully,

Revd David Speirs