Weekly Church Service: Epiphany 6; 17 of February 2019 – includes sermon audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

Blessed are you when people hate you on account of the son of man. Rejoice and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
Luke 6:23


Collect of the day

Righteous God,
you challenge the powers that rule this world and you show favour to the oppressed:
instil in us a true sense of justice,
that we may discern the signs of your kingdom
and strive for right to prevail;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.


Today’s readings

  • Jeremiah 17:5 – 10
  • Psalm 1
  • 1 Corinthians 15:12 – 20
  • Luke 6:17 – 26

next week:

  • Genesis 45:3 – 11, 15
  • Psalm 37:1 – 11, 40 – 41
  • 1 Corinthians 15:35 – 50
  • Luke 6:27 – 38

A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 6 – Luke 6:17 – 26

In Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of “Beatitudes” but in Luke’s sermon on the plain, Jesus drops a series of bombshells. He takes the accepted standards of the times and turns them upside down. To those who are considered to be the “haves” of society, Jesus warns “woe to you” – wealth and power are not the stuff of the kingdom of God, but to the “have nots” Jesus says, “happy and blessed are you” – love, humble selflessness, compassion and generosity are the treasures of God’s realm. Jesus promises his followers poverty, suffering, persecution and grief – but is there hope in God we will be rewarded with perfect and complete joy.

This will be a constant theme throughout Luke’s Gospel. Jesus teaches that wealth and power are not the stuff of the reign of God. But humility, selflessness and compassion are the treasures of God’s kingdom.

In the sermon on the plane, Jesus challenges us to put aside the “woe” of self-centredness and embrace the “blessedness” that can only be experienced by seeing ourselves not as the centre of the world but as a means for transforming the world for the “blessedness” of all.

Luke’s version of the Beatitudes challenges everything our consumer oriented society holds dear. While wealth, power and celebrity are the sought-after prizes of our world, the treasures of God reign are love, humble selflessness, compassion and generosity. In freeing ourselves from the pursuit of the things of this world, we liberate ourselves to seek the lasting things of God. © Connections/Media Works


Sermon Audio

Bishop Jeremy James preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓


Grow your faith in God, Mix with other Christians, Come to church

Weekly Church Service: Epiphany 5; 10 February 2019 – includes sermon audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, and was buried, and was raised on the 3rd day in accordance with the Scriptures, and appeared to many. 1 Corinthians 15:3 – 4


Collect of the day

Most holy God, in whose presence angels serve in all, and whose glory fills all heaven and earth; cleans our unclean lips and transform us by your grace so that your words spoken through us may bring many to your salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever, Amen.


Today’s readings

Isaiah 6:1 – 8
Psalm 138
1 Corinthians 15:1 – 11
Luke 5:1 – 11

next week:

Jeremiah 17: 5 – 10
Psalm 1
1 Corinthians 15:12 – 20
Luke 6:17 – 26


A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 5 – Luke 5: 1 – 11

Commercial fishing has always been a hard way to make a living. It is hard work, sometimes with little or no reward; it requires a substantial investment of time and money for a boat in gear and their maintenance; it entails considerable risk in leaving the safety of home port for the open sea; it compels crews to work together to bring in the catch. The work of the disciples/prophet demands that same kind of hard work, risk, personal investment, patience, and sense of community.

The best fishing, Peter and his brothers knew, was done at night; little is caught during the heat of the day. So Peter’s agreeing to lower his nets at Jesus urging was, for a fisherman of Peter’s experience, an act of considerable faith. And as today’s gospel recounts, Peter’s faith is rewarded abundantly. If the first disciples of Jesus had any special grace at all, it was an openness to Jesus call and teaching.

In Luke’s account, Peter’s reaction is somewhat surprising, upon realising who Jesus is, he cowers away. In the light of Christ’s relevation, Peter recognised his own unworthiness and humbleness in the sight of God. But Jesus assures him that he has not come to drive sinners from his presence but to bring them back to God – to catch them in “net” of God’s love.

To be a “catcher of souls” demands possessing enough love to extend ourselves and reach out and “catch” and in and enough faith that God will give us the grace to make the “grab.”

Jesus challenges us to lower our nets in the “deepwater” – to risk our own security and comfort for the sake of the gospel values of compassion justice and reconciliation.

In the ordinary events of everyday we are presented with countless opportunities to uncover the extraordinary love God in our own times and places.

Many of suffer from an “inferiority complex” when it comes to God: we are neither saintly enough nor good enough nor wise enough in church protocols to consider ourselves “religious”. The reality, however, is that God works through men and women who are just like us, however imperfect.
© Connections/MediaWorks


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓


Grow your faith in God, Mix with other Christians, Come to church

Weekly Church Service – Epiphany 4 – 3rd of February 2019 – includes sermon audio


 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

Now we see in a mirror dimly; but then we will see face-to-face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:14


Collect of the day

Living God,
in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Amen.


Today’s readings

Today’s readings:
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Psalm 71:1-6
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Luke 4:21-30

Next week:
Isaiah 6:1-8
Psalm 138
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11


A student’s prayer for a new school year

Lord Jesus, I ask for your help as I begin this new school year.
Allow me to experience your presence in the many blessings you put before me.
Open my eyes to the new challenges and exciting opportunities that this new school year brings.
Open my heart and mind to new friends and new teachers.
Give me a generous spirit to be enthusiastic with my studies, and courage to accept new opportunities.
Help me to be attentive to my teachers and let me experience your presence in my new friends.
Jesus, inspire me to do my best this year.
Amen.


A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 4-Luke 4:21-30

There is a cost to being a prophet; to proclaim what is right, just and good can be a lonely, isolating experience.

Today’s gospel continues last Sundays account of Jesus teaching in the synagogue at Nazareth. After proclaiming the fulfilment of Isaiah’s vision of the Messiah (last Sundays gospel), Jesus sits down-the posture assumed by one who is about to teach-and begins by explaining in no uncertain terms that he cannot perform any healings or miracles there because of their lack of faith. He teaches that the Messiah does not come for Nazareth alone, but for every race, culture and nation of every place and age.

His explanation is met with indignation and anger. Many Jews of the time was so convinced that they were God’s own people that they despised everyone else. They could not accept Jesus idea that others-Gentiles!-were as loved by God as they were. Jesus is forced to leave his home town.

Standing up for what is right, speaking out for such things as ethics and justice, either call of the Prophet. To speak-and to listen-as prophets demands the courage and conviction to risk isolation, ridicule and persecution for the the sake of the justice and mercy of God.

God continues to raise up parents and teachers, preachers and ministers, friends and classmates to help us to realise our own call to be prophets of God’s word, to embrace God’s grace, enabling us to transform our own Nazareth into God’s dwelling place.

The core of the gospel is the revelation that God became what we are so that we can better understand what God is and grasp what God is about: love, forgiveness, compassion, justice, peace. © Connections/media works.


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓

Weekly Church Service – Epiphany 3 – 27th of January 2019 – includes sermon audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

Jesus read from the prophet Isaiah; “the spirit of the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives.”
Luke 4: 18


Collect of the day

life-giving God, who sent your son Jesus to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority; anoint us with your spirit, that we too may bring good news to the poor, bind up the broken-hearted, and proclaim liberty to the captive, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Today’s readings

Nehemiah 8:1 – 10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12 – 31
Luke 4:14 – 21

Next week:
Jeremiah 1:4 – 10
Psalm 71:1 – 8
1 Corinthians 13:1 – 13
Luke 4:21 – 30



A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 3 – Luke 4:14 – 21

Luke, the author of this years cycle of gospel readings, is a “second-generation” Christian. Greek by birth and physician by profession, he was a traveling companion of Paul, through whom he met Mark and perhaps Peter himself. He writes his gospel mainly for gentiles like himself. For Luke, this Jesus fulfils not only Jewish dreams but every people’s hopes for wholeness and holiness.

Luke’s Gospel reflects the scientist precision in locating dates, places and people; but Luke’s Gospel also exhibits an interest in people rather than ideas. His account celebrates the compassion of Jesus for the outcast and “second-class citizens” of Jewish society, including and especially women.

Luke begins his gospel and the classic Greece historical style by personally (he is the only one of the four evangelists who ever refers to himself in the first person) assuring his readers (addressed in the singular “Theophilus” Greek for “friend of God”) of the historical accuracy and theological authenticity of the research he has gathered to assemble this story.

According to Luke’s account, Jesus begins his teaching ministry in Galilee. Galilee – a name which comes from the Hebrew word for circle – was a great agricultural region encircled by non-Jewish nations and cultures, thereby earning a reputation for being the most progressive and least conservative area of Palestine. A teacher with a “new” message such as the Rabbi Jesus would be expected to receive a favourable hearing in the openness of a Galilean society.

Jesus returns to his hometown, the Galilean city of Nazareth. Nazareth was a city of great importance in Israel’s history and economy, located on the major routes to Jerusalem, Alexandria and Damascus. In the Nazareth that synagogue (the place where local Jewish communities outside Jerusalem would gather for teaching and prayer) Jesus announces, using words of the prophet Isaiah, the fulfilment of God’s promise of the Messiah for Israel.

Today we hear in the opening words of Luke’s Gospel his reason for compiling his gospel. He writes for Theophilus “so that [you] may see how reliable the instruction you have received.” The story of Jesus who comes to “the crying glad tidings to the poor… To announce a year of favour from the Lord” should make a profound difference in the lives of all who hear it. In his humanity, Jesus reveals a God who is approachable and present to us in all that is good and right and loving around us.

While Israel longed for a Messiah who would lead them to victory in vindication, Jesus the Messiah comes with a much different message of humility, reconciliation compassion and forgiveness. The “good news” of the gospel calls to become rather than to shun, to lift out rather than condemn, to seek the humble way of servant hood rather than the satisfaction of self – righteousness.

In the father’s son, Isaiah’s vision of a world transformed and reconciled in God’s peace and justice is fulfilled, in God’s Christ, God recreates us and our world in the light of grace and the spirit of compassion. In baptism we take on the work of “fulfilling” Isaiah’s vision of healing, justice and reconciliation in our own “civilizations.”

We make Isaiah’s vision our reality in our own Nazareth’s in every act of hope we make happen, in every kindness prompted by God’s grace. As witnesses of Christ’s resurrection, as baptised disciples of his church, we inherit the spirit’s call to “bring glad tidings” and “proclaim the Lord’s favour” to the poor, the imprisoned, the blind, the oppressed, and the helpless. © Connections/Media Works


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓

Weekly Church Service – Epiphany 2 – 20th of January 2019


Sentence:

Jesus revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. John 2:11


Collect of the day

Bountiful God, whose son revealed his glory at Cana of Galilee help us to believe and obey so that, as our saviour promised, we may be filled with the wine of new life and show forth his joy and love, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Today’s readings

Isaiah 62:1 – 5
Psalm 36:5 – 10
1 Corinthians 12:1 – 11
John 2:1 – 11

Next week
Nehemiah 8:1 – 10
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 12:12 – 31
Luke 4:14 – 21


A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany 2 – John 2:1 – 11

Today’s gospel is Johns account of Jesus’s first great “sign”, the transformation of water into wine at the wedding feast at Cana. For the churches of the East, the miracle at Cana is the 4th great event of their celebration of the Lord’s epiphany or manifestation to the world to (the first three: his birth at Bethlehem, the adoration of the Magi and the baptism at the Jordan by John)

Cana evokes 2 important scriptural symbols that point to the Messiahship of Jesus.

1st, wine in abundance was considered a sign for Israel of the Messianic age to come (one example is Isaiah 54:5 – 14, reading 4 for the Easter vigil). The water in the 6 large stone jazzed use for the ritual washings mandated by the 1st covenant law is transformed by Jesus into the Messianic wine, prefiguring the new covenant to be sealed in Jesus is blood (which were we celebrate in the wine of the Eucharist).

2nd, the limitless love of God for his people is described throughout Scripture in terms of marriage. Today’s 1st reading from Isaiah is a beautiful example of this tradition. It is the strongest (yet still far from perfect) image we have to understand the depth of God’s love for his holy people.

The Evangelist John pulls together to these two powerful Messianic symbols of wine and marriage together to introduce the public ministry of Jesus, the promised Messiah and bridegroom

A final note to: verse 4 of today’s gospel, Jesus is not as brisk towards his mother as he sounds to us in the English translation of the text. The address “woman” was a common courteous form of address in Jesus’s time. We do not have a modern English equivalent of this is idiomatic expression.

As ministers of the marriage sacraments, husbands and wives, in their love for one another, mirror for us all the great love of God in our midst.

The love of God is manifested at its most powerful in the love between husband and wife, in marriages that as sacraments, in which Christ is the always present wedding guest

At Cana, Jesus offers for the first time the “new wine” of gospel hope and re-creation. We, too, are called to see our world with eyes of faith in order that we might bring the possibilities of such hope – hope that transforms hurt into reconciliation, despair into confidence and alienation into community.

© Connections/Media Works

Weekly Church Service – 13 January, 2019: baptism of our Lord – includes sermon audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Sentence:

The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in bodily form like like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “you are my son, the beloved, with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22


Collect of the day

Almighty God, by whose grace alone we are accepted and called to your service, strengthen us by your Holy Spirit and make us worthy of our calling, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Today’s readings

Isaiah 43:1 – 7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14 – 17
Luke 3:15 – 22

Next week:
Isaiah 62:1 – 5
Psalm 36:5 – 10
1 Corinthians 12:1 – 11
John 2: 1 – 11


A thought to ponder upon

Baptism of our Lord – Luke 3:15 – 22

Today’s gospel is the final event of the epiphany. Jesus’s baptism at the Jordan River by John. The Christmas season “officially” (liturgically) comes to an end today at the banks of the Jordan. Jesus is no longer the child in Bethlehem manger but the adult Redeemer making his way to Jerusalem. The good news spoken by the angels continues to unfold, the most wondrous part of the Christ stories yet be revealed.

Today, the same spirit that “anoints” the Messiah for his mission is to be about the work of Christmas in the new year, to seek out and find the lost, to heal the hurting, to feed the hungry, to free the in prison, to rebuild nations, to bring peace to all peoples everywhere.

Luke presents Jesus as the last person to be baptised by John, bringing John’s ministry to completion. Luke describes the scene with many images from the 1st testament.

  • The sky opens (“oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down” – Isaiah 63:19)
  • the spirit “descended upon him like a dove” (many rabbis likened the wind above the water at the dawn of Genesis to a dove hovering above its newborn. In employing this image Luke suggests that, in this Jesus, a new Genesis is about to take place)
  • the “voice from heaven” identifies and confirms Jesus (“ Here is my servant… My chosen one with whom I am well pleased” – Isaiah 42:1, today’s first reading, “the Lord said to me, “you are my son, this day I have begotten you” – Psalm 2:7)

Jesus’s baptism at the Jordan comes the moment of God’s “anointing” of his Messiah (the word Messiah means “anointed”) for the work he is about to do.

Baptism is more than just our “naming” ceremony but an ongoing process of becoming the people of faith that God calls us to be. New life in baptism, we claim the name of “Christian” and embrace all that holy name means, to live for others rather than for ourselves, in imitation of Christ.

Our baptism is made each one of us the “servant” of today’s readings, to bring forth in our world for justice, reconciliation and enlightenment of Christ, the “beloved son” and “favour” of God.

In baptism, the same spirit of compassion justice and peace that “descends” upon Jesus that at his baptism by John descends and rests upon us, compelling us to take the work of the gospel.

© Communications/MediaWorks


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓

Weekly Church Service – 6 January, Epiphany 2019

 Includes Sermon Audio

Epiphany – 6th January 2019


Sentence:

They saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and worshipped him. Matthew 2: 11


Today’s readings

Isaiah 60:1 – 6
Psalm 72:1 – 7, 10 – 14
Ephesians 3:1 – 12
Matthew 2:1 – 12

next week
Isaiah 43:1 – 7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14 – 17
Luke 3:15 – 22


Collect of the day

Eternal God, who by a star led the Magi to the worship of your son, guide the nations of the earth by your light, that the whole world may see your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


A thought to ponder upon

Epiphany – Matthew 2: 1 – 12

The story of the astrologers in the Star of Bethlehem is unique to Matthew’s Gospel. Note that Matthew does not call them kings nor does he give them their names nor reports where they came from – in fact, Matthew never even specifies the number of Magi (because 3 gifts are present to the child it has been a tradition since the 5th century to picture “3 wise men”). In stripping away the romantic layers that have been added to the story, Matthew’s point can be better appreciated.

A great many first testament ideas and images are presented in this story. The star, for example is reminiscent of Balaam’s prophecy that “a star shall advance from Jacob” (Numbers 24:17) many of the details in Matthew’s story about the child Jesus parallel the story of the child Moses and the Exodus.

Matthew’s story also provides a preview of what is to come. First, the reactions of the various parties to the birth of Jesus parallel the effects Jesus teaching will have on those who hear. Herod reacts with anger and hostility to the Jesus of the poor who comes to overturn the powerful and rich. The chief priests and scribes greet the news with a haughty indifference towards the Jesus who comes to give new life and meaning to the rituals and laws of the scribes. But the Magi – non-believers in the eyes of Israel – possessed the humility and openness of mind and heart essential to the faith that leads them to seek and welcome the Jesus who will institute the second covenant between God and the new Israel.

Secondly, the gifts of the astrologers indicate the principal dimensions of Jesus’s mission

Gold is a gift fitting for a king, a ruler, one with power and authority

Frankincense is a gift fitting for a priest, one who offers sacrifice (frankincense was an a aromatic perfume sprinkled on the animals sacrificed in the Temple)

Myrrh is a fitting “gift” for someone who is about to die (Myrrh was used in ancient times for embalming the bodies of the dead before burial)

Epiphany calls us to a new vision of the world that sees beyond the walls and supporters that we have created and to walk by the light which is dawn for all of humankind, a light would buy which we are able to recognise all men and women as our brothers and sisters under the loving providence of God, the Father of all

The Magi’s following of the star is a journey of faith, a constant search for meaning, for purpose, for the things of God that each one of us experiences in the courses of our own lives.

What we read and watch and listen to in search of wealth fame and power are the “stars” we follow. The journey of the Magi in Matthew’s Gospel puts our own “stargazing” into perspective, calling us to fix and search on the “star” of God’s justice, peace and compassion © Connections/Media Works


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓

Weekly Church Service; Christmas 1, December 30th 2018 – Includes Sermon Audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Christmas 1, December 30th 2018


Sentence:

I bring to you good news of great joy for all people: to you is born this day in the city of David a saviour, Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:10 – 11


Collect of the day

Gracious God, Creator and mother of the universe, be born in us again, as you were born long ago. Be born in us as you continue to be born again and again in the words and deeds of faithful people. Be born in us, as is light, as in Joy, as in Peace, as in Justice. Be born in us so that we may be the body of Christ in this time and this place. Amen.


Today’s readings

Isaiah 62:6 – 12
Psalm 97
Titus 3:4 – 6 a
Luke 2:1 – 20


A thought to ponder upon

Top Christmas traditions and their origins

by Jeremy Dixon and Stacey Conradt

The Christmas tree

Before Christianity was even conceived of, people in Europe used evergreen boughs to decorate their homes during the winter. The greenery reminded them that plants would return in abundance soon. As Christianity became more popular in Europe, and Germany in particular, the tradition was absorbed into it.

Advent calendars

Technically, Advent, a religious event that has been celebrated since the 4th century, the four-week period that starts on the Sunday closest to the November 30 feast day of St Andrew the apostle. Traditionally, it marked the period to prepare for Christmas as well as His 2nd coming. These days, it is mostly used as a countdown to Christmas for the religious and the nonreligious of life.

Mince pies

Early mince pies were made of meat, fruit and spice and inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine brought back by the Crusaders. They commonly had 13 ingredients representing Christ and the apostles and reform into a large oval shaped to represent the manger. Meat disappeared from the recipe by Victorian times.

Stockings

Leaving stockings at Christmas goes back to the legend of St Nicholas. Known as the gift giver, there were is an old tradition of leaving out cheese with hay inside them on December 5, the eve of St Nicholas’s feast day. Lucky children would discover that the hay they left had been replaced with treats or coins when they woke up the next morning. The Dutch later referred to St Nicholas as Sinterklaas and eventually, by English speakers as Santa Claus.

Christmas crackers

London sweet maker Tom Smith invented Christmas crackers the late 1840s. Inspired by traditional, paper wrapped French bonbons. Even though he included mottos or riddles inside each, it was not until he found a way to make them “crack” when pulled apart they took off. His sons Tom, Walter and Henry later added hats and novelty gifts.

Christmas pudding

Also known as plum or figgy pudding, this Christmas staple possibly has its roots as far back as the Middle Ages in which base portage known as frumently. By the mid-17th century, it was thicker and had developed into a desert with the addition of eggs, dried fruit and alcohol. In Victorian times plum pudding was a Christmas favourite. It is traditionally made a week before Advent on what is known as “mixup Sunday”.

Mistletoe

Hanging mistletoe in the homes is an ancient pagan practice adopted by early Christians. The word itself is Anglo-Saxon and the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe originated in England. Each kiss required a berry to be plucked until none remained.

Christmas carols

Carols were songs and dances of grace and joy. In time the practice of Carol singing carried over into the Christian era. Carols have been written through the centuries but the most familiar date from Victorian times. Today popular songs such as Bing Crosby’s white Christmas and Mariah Carey’s all the want for Christmas just as much part of Christmas as carols.

Christmas cards

Having helped set up the public records office in London (now the post office) Sir Henry Cole and artist John Horsley created the first Christmas cards in 1843 as a way of encouraging people to use its services. The cardboard greeting showed a happy group of people participating in a toast, along with the printed sentiment, “a Merry Christmas and happy New Year to you.” A thousand of them were printed that first year, and because it cost just a penny to mail a holiday hello to friends and family (the card itself was a shilling, or 12 times as much), the cards sold like hot cakes and a new custom was born.


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓

Weekly Church Service; Advent four – 23 December 2018 – Includes Sermon Audio

 Includes Sermon Audio

Advent four – 23 December 2018


Sentence:

Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.
Luke 1: 45


Collect of the day

Gracious God, you have visited your people and redeemed us in your son: as we prepare to celebrate his birth, make our hearts leap for joy at the sound of your work, and move us by your spirit to bless your wonderful works. We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near, your son our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.
Amen.


Today’s readings

Micah 5: 2 – 5 a
Song of Mary
Hebrews 10:5 – 10
Luke 1:39 – 45


A thought to ponder upon

Some thoughts on Luke 1:39 – 45
The readings for the 4th Sunday in Advent each year shift the focus from Advent’s call to preparation for the Messiah to setting the stage for the Christmas event in today’s gospel, Elizabeth proclaims had joy filled faith in God’s promise of salvation that will be accomplished through Mary’s child and praises her young cousin “yes” to God’s plan.

In Mary and Elizabeth’s meeting and in our own similar “visitations” the spirit of God is present in the healing, comfort and support we can extend to one another in such moments. In the light and hope of this holy season, may we “make haste” to bring such a reconciling piece and healing justice in our own “visitations” to others, in our own in characters in which the grace of God enables us to see one another in God’s eyes.

God’s spirit, who inspired the prophets to preach, who enabled the nation of Israel to enter into the cold with Yahweh stop at work in the world in new and creative ways. Jesus Christ is the ultimate and perfect fulfilment of that covenant.

The “mystery” of the Incarnation is not that God would become one of us – the inexplicable part is how God could give his love away so freely to his people without expectation or condition. As Saint Ireneaus Preached: “because of his great love for us, Jesus, the word of God, became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.”

© Connections/Media Works


Sermon Audio

The Reverend Josie Steytler preaches from the text after the gospel reading.

Direct MP3 Download ⇓

WordPress.com.

Up ↑