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Showing posts from January, 2023

Meeting with Jesus. Luke 2.22-40

Luke 2.22-40 This morning I would like us to focus on the words that Simeon praises God with. It is known in church circles as the Nunc Dimittis: comes from the Latin meaning ‘Now let us depart’, but it doesn’t sound quite as impressive if the service leader says, let us sing the ‘Now let us depart’ It is a hymn that the people of God, for probably almost 2000 years, have said or sung daily in the evening of the day. Listen to audio of the sermon Alexander Schmemann writes in a beautiful passage about the Nunc Dimittis: “Simeon had been waiting all his life, and then at last the Christ child was given to him: he held the Life of the World in his arms. He stood for the whole world, in its expectation and longing, and the words he used to express his thanksgiving have become our own. He could recognise the Lord, because he had expected him; He took him into his arms, because it is natural to take someone you love into your arms; And then his life of waiting was fulfilled. He had beheld

Hope for those who sit in darkness. Matthew 4.12-23

Matthew 4.12-23 For some it is very dark. Perhaps we might speak of these as dark times, but some people have to go through terrible suffering. They struggle in terrible circumstances, because or war, famine, drought, sickness. They may have to flee for their lives. They may have to helplessly watch their child die of starvation. Or people experience the pain of abandonment, or live for years in abusive relationships, unable to escape. Or we live in fear of what someone might do. People suffer unbearable losses. One couple arrived here at the embassy, and a week later their 19-year-old perfectly healthy son died in the UK after getting ordinary flu – that was pre COVID. In Bury St Edmunds I remember a man in his early 70s. His wife died, then his older daughter died, and I was visiting him because his only surviving child, the younger daughter, had died. And many struggle with depression, or with constant emotional or physical pain. There is not much you can say. And we hear of tragic

John the Baptist reveals Jesus. A talk for a baptism service. John 1.29-34

John 1.29-34 You may well know this picture: John Baptist (not to be confused with the John who wrote John’s gospel) pointing to Jesus and declaring, “Here is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Listen to the audio of this talk John is by the river where he has been baptising (we see people in various states of undress!). He has a quite thriving business; he is a celebrity But John declares that the main reason that he is baptising is so that, at the right time, Jesus, the Son of God, is revealed. This is the culminating point of John’s life. It is what his life has been leading up to, and what his life is all about. He says, ‘I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he [Jesus] might be revealed to Israel’. The baptism of John is a baptism of preparation. He baptises to prepare people to meet with the coming King, with Jesus If you are consciously facing away from God; if you have chosen to live without God, in rebellion against God, and God’s laws and God’

The joy of the wise men. Matthew 2.1-12

Matthew 2.1-12 Today we celebrate the Epiphany, and, in the western tradition, we read of the wise men. That is different to the eastern tradition, when the feast of the Epiphany is primarily linked to the baptism of Jesus An audio of the talk can be found here But epiphany means literally the appearing of the light, and both stories are epiphanies. In our reading today, the star appears and leads the wise men to Jesus In the story of the baptism of Jesus, God is revealed as Father - the voice from heaven, we are shown the ‘beloved’ Son, and the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove. And as we look at this story, so we can see at least three things that it reveals to us. An epiphany, revelation, about Jesus that leads us to worship An epiphany, revelation, about ourselves that leads us to repent And an epiphany that leads us to joy. 1. The epiphany, the making known, of Jesus Christ the Son of God, through the leading of a star. I need to say a word or two about the wise men. Peop