In a wide ranging address after one of the toughest years on record for many people in Derbyshire Dr Redfern reminded his congregation that “each of us has been that tiny baby” which is “the power Christians have to address many of the problems facing the world at the present time.
The theme of the address was “to be registered”. A heavily pregnant Mary did not have to travel with Joseph but the fact that she travelled shows the “bonds of the family”
The Bishop explained how human identity was wrapped up in various layers of what makes each person special. He pinpointed “family”, “tribe” and “politics” as examples how people came to a level of self-understanding.
Producing his Christmas stocking in the pulpit, Dr Redfern pulled out examples of what made his factors made people who they were.
The challenge of contemporary politicians was enormous. Bishop Redfern said that Prime Minister David Cameron’s task, just like the Emperor Augustus in Jesus’ day, was to hold all those different tribes together: “Modern politics is about the challenge of creating a kind of public space which brings together many disparate elements.”
Here, said Dr Redfern, the Church also had a mammoth role to play: “Remember that Jesus was born in the public space. The Innkeeper took them in and he made them part of his family.
He added: “Jesus, of course, was to continue this work of taking people in from all families, tribes and the sense of a family identity was expanded. “The Church is there to serve all people, we are there for everyone. That is the reminder which the story of Jesus’ birth brings.”