Two Titles

“Christ conquered death bringing new life to all” or “New life dims the Cross”

 

 

 

 

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Advent

Wonderful Advent Reflections written by a friend, they are so good I just had to share them

 

Advent reflections based on everyday objects.

Jo Neary, Advent 2015

 

Advent 1: a bunch of keys – hope                

Jeremiah 33: 14-16, Luke 21:25-36

 

The keys we use every day unlock and lock our houses keep them and us safe.  In prison the keys held by the wardens control the freedom of those locked inside.  The “key to something” is the best or only way to achieve something.

 

In the prophecy of Jeremiah 33:14-16 we hear how God will fulfil the promise made to Israel that they will be redeemed, that a new shoot will spring up, that the key to redemption and freedom is the justice and righteousness that Jesus will bring.  In Luke 21:25-36 we are reminded that the Kingdom of God breaking through on earth will bring huge change, we should expect that change to come and expect God to act in the world. The key to change in the world is Jesus and his Kingdom.

 

When you unlock your doors, pray that your heart will be unlocked to see the justice of Jesus at work in the world now. What can we do to live justly in the world today?  When you lock your doors at night, pray for those who are not free and for those who are imprisoned.  Come Lord Jesus.

 

Advent 2: a phone – God’s message to the world

Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 3:1-6

 

A phone means we can contact help when we need it.   A phone helps us keep in touch with loved ones.  A phone can send a message, a photo, a video and connect us to the rest of the world.

 

In Malachi we hear that God’s messenger comes to prepare the way for the Lord’s arrival. We are reminded that when the Lord comes there will be consequences, his presence will purify and refine the world.  The message in Luke is to get ready, to make our paths straight, to smooth out the rough bits, broadcast to the world that God is coming.

 

What message about God might we be able to tell in our lives?  How can we share something about Jesus with whoever we speak to regularly on the phone?  What blessing or prayer could you write in a letter or Christmas card this year?  Come Lord Jesus.

 

 

Advent 3: a glass of water – John the Baptist

Zephaniah 3: 14-20, Philippians 4:4-7, Luke 3:7-18

 

When we turn on the tap fresh water gushes out.  Water to wash in, to clean things, to satisfy our thirst, to refresh our gardens.  Water sustains life.  What sustains us?

 

In Philippians we are reminded that instead of worrying we must pray.  Connection with God through prayer sustains our Christian journey and refreshes us.  In Luke we hear how John baptised with water, encouraging people to say sorry for all they have done wrong.  Jesus will baptise us with the Holy Spirit: we are forgiven and receive new life in Christ.  The Holy Spirit is God at work in our lives today.

 

Pour a glass of water and give thanks for the clean water that we have access to.  Pray for the whole world to have access to clean water.  Drink the water and feel refreshed.  Reflect on the things in your life you would like to be washed clean, say sorry for the things that are wrong. Drink again and know you are forgiven. What is God calling you to now?

Come Lord Jesus.

 

Advent 4: a towel – Mary

Micah 5:2-5a, Luke 1:39-45

 

A towel dries us after a bath, wipes our hands in the kitchen, mops up spills and even wraps up a new born baby.

 

Micah hints at the birth that is to come, the hard work and labour that will bring forth the shepherd for the flock.  Luke reminds us of the Holy Spirit at work in both Elizabeth and Mary and the way God uses his lowly servant Mary to fulfil his plan to fill the hungry, to scatter the proud and redeem his people.

 

For many people around the world a hot shower and a clean towel is just something to hope for.  As we use our towel today pray for those who are longing for safety and security: Lord lift up the lowly.  Think of a new born baby, wrapped securely in a towel and held tightly by his mother: the hope of new life is the hope that Jesus brings to his world.  What do you hope for the world? Come, Lord Jesus.

 

Bright star-maker God,

travel with us

through Advent

shine into our dark corners

 lead us into ways of justice

 warm us with joy and wonder

 bring us to new birth.                                         Ruth Burgess

CARRY YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME.

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Jesus call us to take up our cross.

MARK 8.34-38 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel will save it.  For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?  Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Today we are challenged by Jesus to take up our Cross. We carry the Cross, we received at our baptism. However, just because we wear it and carry it doesn’t mean to say that live our life any differently from those who don’t wear the Cross. We have to chose to live by the cross,to follow Christ,listen to his teachings and carry them out.To carry the Cross will not be a walk in the park , it is not to been viewed as the  road to wealth and ease. It will be a life of self denial and sacrifice, a walk towards the riches of a deeper relationship with God.

I found this song by Scott Krippayne which I share below;

Cross of Christ

I will lay down the burdens I’ve spent my life bearing
And confess I’m a sinner for whom Jesus died
I will live every moment in the light of His mercy
And I won’t take for granted His loving sacrifice

I will carry the cross of Christ, hold to the hope I’m given
Reach out to those in need and show them love, yeah, yeah
Yeah, with all of my soul and strength, as long as my heart is beating
I’ll follow the one who laid down His life for mine
And carry the cross of Christ

I will make it my mission to serve those around me
To care for the broken and pray for the lost
I will walk in the footsteps of my Lord and my Savior
And I’ll live out the gospel no matter what the cost

I will carry the cross of Christ, hold to the hope I’m given
Reach out to those in need and show them love, show them love
Yeah, with all of my soul and strength, as long as my heart is beating
I’ll follow the one who laid down His life for mine
And carry the cross of Christ

And I will not lay it down ’til I lay it at His feet
No, I will not lay it down ’til I touch eternity, yeah

I will carry the cross of Christ, hold to the hope I’m given
Reach out to those in need and show them love, show them love
Yeah, with all of my soul and strength, as long as my heart is beating
I’ll follow the one who laid down His life for mine
And carry the cross of Christ

I will carry the cross of Christ, hold to the hope I’m given
Reach out to those in need and show them love, show them love
Yeah, with all of my soul and strength, as long as my heart is beating
I’ll follow the one who laid down His life for mine
And carry the cross of Christ

IS GOD DRIVING YOU THROUGH YOUR LIFE?

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Is God in your driving seat?

Last week we had Jesus being tempted/tested by Satan. Satan appears again this week, but in the person of Peter who seeks to prevent Jesus from doing what he must do.
Why does Peter do this? He has not “set his mind on” the things of God, but on human things. Jesus’ harsh critique of Peter involves more than just the few words spoken on this occasion. Jesus say to Peter” Peter get out of my way! Satan ,get lost! you have know idea how God works.Even after the clear words from Jesus, Peter still hasn’t got the proper picture. He needs an “attitude adjustment”. He is seeing with “human eyes” rather than through the will and eyes of God. He tells Jesus what is and what is not going to happen — typical of first-born children? He wants to be a leader, not a follower. Are we ever guilty of having such attitudes?

Jesus then proceeds to tell those around him the following him how things will be.
“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.
You are not in the driving seat, I am.”

Something that is not always easy to let somebody else be in the driving seat. As Christians we must accept that God is in the driving seat, he has our route planned from the very beginning. I take you back to the words we heard a couple of weeks ago “ this is my son ,listen to him”

God is in the driving seat.

Being a follower of Christ means making sacrifices, the disciples left their families, not knowing where they were going or what they would end up doing. Following the teachings of Christ doesn’t make for an easy life,it is not a paved road to wealth and an easy life.It involves hard work, persecution,deprivation and deep suffering.
Peter saw only parts of the picture and we must be careful not to make the same mistake.

As Satan tempted Jesus, life brings us many temptations, the temptation to turn away in time of difficulties when the cross gets to heavy to carry. At times it is so hard to love your neighbour. The message says ‘we must not run from suffering’ our suffering and the suffering of others. Jesus calls us to embrace suffering. He says follow me and I will show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to save yourself your true self. Jesus wants us to choose to follow him rather than lead a life of sin and self-satisfaction. He wants us to stop trying to control our own destiny let him direct us as I said before he is in the driving seat and he knows better than we do what real life is about he also submission, He asked us only to lose our self-centred determination to be in charge.

Jesus addresses the crowds saying “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up the cross and follow me”. We wear the cross of Christ crucified from our baptism, we carry his cross and as I said last week we cannot walk away from this cross it is with us always whether we remain faithful.
Jesus call us to self-denial so that we may continue to evolve spiritually as God intended. By learning to lives together unselfishly in this life, we may be preparing ourselves for the next great evolutionary leap forward, when individuals willingly sacrifice all so that we may live together in love. If you had begun to imitate Christ, you are ready for the next step in the great adventure of life the God puts before us here for.
We have a duty, we are trustees not of the church but of the christian faith. we are responsible for the continuing faith in this place and in the country, so no pressure. When reading compline at Abbotsbury I was reminded of the benedictine monks who did the same nearly a thousand years ago. Will there be a christian community here in a thousand years time.? if we do as jesus directs and we continue to carry his cross, listen to God and do his bidding and above all let him, God, be in the driving seat.

If I was a shepherd I would bring a lamb,……. yet what can I give him, give him my heart.

Last sunday I was privileged  to baptize Beatrice Rose and this is the sermon I preached.

Christ the king

Gracious God your love upholds all creation.

In your Son’s life among us, you embraced the weakest and most vulnerable.

Fill us with your Spirit that we may welcome and serve all as he did. Amen.

Today is a special day in the church year. next week we move into the Season of advent and preparation for Christmas when I was thinking about the gospel the lines of the carol  in the bleak midwinter came to mind “if I were a Shepherd I would bring a lamb yet what can I gave him give him my heart” and that is exactly what the sheep in the gospel this morning have done they  have given their hearts. And now they Will enter into the kingdom because of their actions they are to be blessed but what actions did they take, let’s look at the actions in relation to our lives.

I was hungry and thirsty and you gave me food and drink . What is the first thing that you do when you welcome someone into your home 9/10 you offer food and drink tea coffee and cake/ biscuit?

I was homeless and you gave me a room, sometimes we can’t give a home give to  a homeless person t when Jesus was due to be born his  parents were homeless and they were given the room. we can give Jesus a room ,a  place in our lives

I was shivering and you gave me clothes when you think of shivering one tends to think about being cold but the shivering could be fear and the clothing given could be a prayer a smile and   Of course it  could a coat

I was in prison and you came to me; the prison could be behind bars but those bars may not be the iron bars of prison window. It could be outside forces the prison of being in debt the prison of being lonely the prison of being abused and that can be helped by Christians fighting for justice for those in this situation.

I was sick and you stop to visit.

in the gospel the  sheep/people don’t actually know what they had done so they ask the master what he’s talking about and ask the  question “ when did you we ever  see you hungry and feed you when did we see you Thirsty and give you a drink. And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you to that Master says whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored that was me you did it for me you  welcomed me.  You welcomed me you let me cross the threshold come into your life into your  hearts.And in doing this become members of a community. We become members of that community when we are baptised into the church parents and godparents and the local congregation help how to bring us up within the church community we worship together regularly because we needed encouragement, which the community gives us in our struggle against injustice in the world. Remember we are members of the church community because we all need someone who loves us and listens to us, and a sense of purpose in life

Today this community welcomes a little lamb, welcomes Beatrice into our church community. today is a historic day for the family and for this church because Beatrice’s grandmother and mother were both baptized in the font at St Mary’s Church.

Beatrice starts out on her Christian journey with the promise that God will be her constant companion, he’ll be in front I’m behind her and will carry her when she needs holding. Her godparents will make promises on her behalf and with those promises come the promise from God to be with her, a promise that never can be broken. Beatrice will be signed with the cross of Jesus Christ and cross that cannot be removed  she is now part of gods family, a family you cannot leave. She will be given her name and she will be washed in the precious water baptism so they may always receive forgiveness in their lives and never be separated God. And at  the end of the service she will receive a lit  candle to show that Jesus as light has come into her life and with the light of Christ in her life the light that overcomes darkness. As she grows in faith,  the one thing important thing is that she will be welcome into the fellowship of faith,  you the congregation will join me and saying we welcome you into the fellowship of faith, we are children of the same heavenly Father “we welcome you”. Then we will say the peace, that we are all one in Jesus Christ, that we belong to him in faith which takes us back to our Gospel to the sheep who welcomed the master into their lives through the acts of kindness and the acts of love and those who welcomed are blessed and sit on the right hand in the kingdom of God. Amen.