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Light from crib to cross

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Luke 2:22-40

Today it's forty days from Christmas, the time when Jesus was born. Today we remember one of the first things in Jesus' life, something that happened not long after he was born. We call it 'Candlemas' when we remember how Joseph and Mary took baby Jesus to say thank you to God in the Temple in Jerusalem. There they met two old people, Simeon and Anna. They both saw the baby and said thank you to God for him too. Simeon said that Jesus was like 'a light for revelation to the Gentiles’ which is why we often light candles on this day to remind us of Simeon's words.

The world pays no attention to this day, it has no commercial significance: there’s no money to be made from it! Yet it is momentous in recalling it was when Jesus was proclaimed to be a light to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel. Jesus came to show us, and teach us about the good things of God and to destroy the things of darkness. That's why he called himself the Light of the World, and why we celebrate today and remember the time when His light was first seen and recognised by other people.


Releasing the prisoners

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Luke 4:14-21
SMAS 10.30am

You might have thought that if anyone could be excused going to church it would be Jesus. He could have argued the religious system had it all wrong, or that He prayed to God privately, or that He knew the important things about faith and didn’t need further teaching. He didn’t say any of this though. Instead, He made attendance at synagogue a priority. v16 “His custom.”

He chose to read from Isaiah 61 which was very familiar to the Jews. It was a passage that really stirred their hearts and passions because Isaiah promises them a deliverer who will bring hope, healing, and, most of all, freedom.


Jesus changes water to wine

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John 2:1-11

Have you ever experienced a miracle? About 10 years ago I was the verger at a large church in Cambridge and I was entrusted with the key to the church safe. One Sunday morning, not long after having taken on this role, I took the silver from the safe and set it out on the table for communion. I put the key in my pocket. I little while later, I went to get something else from the safe and I reached into my pocket for the key. It had gone! I turned out all of my pockets...three times. One of these pocket searches took place in front of a trusted witness. It was gone. I panicked. Can you imagine how this was going to go down with my new employer! I prayed...a desperate prayer. I put my hand in my pocket...the key was there! Was that a miracle or was my mind playing tricks on me? Would God really bother about my lost key?


Going God’s Way

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Isaiah 43:1-7 & 18-19

Forest Gump was a film about a man with lots of questions whose life was one big adventure after another, some good, some bad. What wisdom he had he got from his mother who had lots of wise and clever sayings like ‘Life is like a box of chocolates . . . you never know what you’re going to get."

It’s true – we don’t know what we are going to get next in our lives. Life can be like a journey on which we don’t always know where we are going.

At the beginning of a new year although we may have plans and made resolutions none of us know what will happen in 2013. There will be good things, like today when we give thanks to God for the wonderful gift of Joseph. But we know that there could well be some sadnesses along the way too.


Covenant Service 2013

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Jeremiah 31:31-33, Philippians 3:10-14 & 17-21 & Luke 4:16-21

What’s the idea behind a Covenant Service at the beginning of a New Year? A covenant is a promise between two people (or parties). There are many covenants in the Bible, mostly between God and people. Covenants are how God enters into a lasting relationship with people: important because we were created to be in a relationship with Him.

Sometimes covenants are conditional, (I will be their God if they will be my people) sometimes unconditional (Noahic – God’s grace will be upon all people). Christians have been brought into a relationship with God by means of a covenant that is grounded in the person, work, and blood of Christ.


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