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Showing posts from January, 2021

Meeting with God. Luke 2.22-38

Luke 2.22-38   We are at the end of the Christmas season!   Today we read the last of the stories about the baby Jesus. We remember when Joseph and Mary bring the baby Jesus into the temple.   They come in obedience to the law. They come for the purification of Mary They come to present the child to God. And they have a meeting with God.   The Old Testament background is this: After giving birth a mother was ritually unclean - it was not to do with any sense that giving birth is sinful, but to do with the idea of the spilling of blood (which, in the OT is identified with the life of a person). And because she was unclean, she was effectively quarantined for 40 days. At the end of that time, before she could come to worship again, or go out into society, she had to come to the temple and to make a sacrifice - a sin offering and a burnt offering. You can read about this in Leviticus 12. If she was wealthy the offering would be a lamb for a sin offering and a dove

How Jesus can turn a crisis into a blessing. John 2.1-11

John 2.1-11 Last week we heard Jesus say to Nathaniel that he would see heaven opened and angels ascending and descending on the son of man.  And we said that Jesus is telling Nathaniel that there would be moments when the curtain between heaven and earth is pulled apart - and he will see that Jesus is the gate between heaven and earth: Jesus is the way that heaven touches earth, and the way that we who are of the earth can encounter heaven.  Three days after Jesus has said that, he turns water into wine. We are told in v11 that this is the first sign that Jesus does, the first clue as to who he really is.  He reveals his glory and his disciples put their trust in him.  Jesus turns water into wine, the curtain is pulled open, and Nathaniel sees the angels ascending and descending on him, he sees heaven touching earth.  So what is going on here? What does the clue point to? What is Jesus revealing? 1 . Jesus is revealing that he is God's Messiah, that he has come to bring the promis

Good news for a cynic. John 1.43-51

John 1.43-51 I wonder whether you believe that this world is all that there is. The world of sense: of sight, touch, smell, taste and sound – or if you believe that there is something more, an invisible world that is behind this world – but which occasionally becomes obvious in this world. It is as if the curtain that separates heaven from earth is drawn back and we see clearly. There is a story in the Old Testament about a man called Jacob. He is the grandson of Abraham. So we are talking about a story that comes from 4000 years ago. He has deceived his father and cheated his older brother, and his brother wants to kill him. So his mum gives him a packed lunch and tells him to get out fast and go to stay with his uncle Laban who lives far far away. Jacob leaves, and sets up camp for the first night. He falls asleep and he has a dream. He sees a ladder going up into heaven, and angels are going up and down the ladder. And God speaks to him and tells him that he will be with him, protec

Baptism and a new start. Mark 1.4-11

Mark 1.4-11 A new year offers us the promise of new beginnings, of fresh starts. We can press the reset button - so long as it is reset and not overload! Today our reading is about a new beginning, a fresh start. We read about Jesus baptism, and the promise that Jesus baptism has for each of us. And we also celebrate Anna’s baptism and as we do that, we remember our own baptisms. Because baptism is about a new beginning, a fresh start. 1. Baptism is about living under a new Lord, under the true Lord. John the Baptist was a bit of a celebrity. He had a name. People looked to him as a spiritual leader. And yet John recognises the authority of Jesus. He says, ‘He is more powerful than me’, ‘I am not worthy to even bow down and untie his shoelaces’. In many Orthodox churches, in the dome as you look up, there is an image of Christ the ruler of all. That is the Christ who John speaks of here. One of the questions that I am about to ask Anna - and of course Ben and Tatiana and John, her