This is the Summer edition of The New Age and as well as some Christmas content, it will have the theme of working outwardly and practically from our church groups in ways that directly help others. This is sometimes called “natural charity”. This theme was suggested by the President, Rev David Moffat, and got some discussion at the recent joint meeting of the New Church in Australia Board and the Council of Ministers.

David suggested that societies be invited to contribute what they do in this way. Some societies have responded to that call.

In fact, this work of natural charity can also be taken on by individual New Church people. They have their spiritual beliefs, they understand the heavenly doctrines, and they feel moved to help outwardly in a practical way. Probably very few people get to hear about it, but it is the work of the church, as something living, in them and from them.

But really, while that is very good, it is not the only desirable thing. A church community – any community in fact – should sometimes be seen to be actively helping others, as a church. If it isn’t, then surely something is not quite right. We can promote our teachings and so we should, but we should also promote and be seen to be involved with help and care. Not because it gives us credibility (which it does) but because we see this as the life of religion, which is to do what is good.

The timing of this theme of natural charity is good because it is coming up to Christmas and the Lord’s birth and our giving and receiving. We wish one another across the region a very happy and sacred Christmas. Let us also keep the meaning of Christmas with its themes of joy, birth, incarnation, visitations, poverty and even that census – a roll-call – keep it going into the coming year and include as we can our part in bringing the Lord to others in a practical way.

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