Notes on the readings January to December 2011

Note: ¶ = Reading omitted at St Mary's, Temple Balsall

January | February | March | April | May | June | July
August | September | October | November | December

January 2011

Sunday 2 January 2011
Second Sunday of Christmas

Jeremiah 31. 7 – 14
God’s purposes, full of blessing, call out of us the most joyful response we are capable of.

or ¶ Ecclesiasticus 24. 1 – 12
‘Wisdom’ was a symbol for God’s loving purpose for his people: meaning that it was not frivolous or in the least irrational – but full of depth and sense.

Ephesians 1. 3 – 14
We read a long and fulsome utterance of praise to God for his gift of Christ – for our great good.

John 1. (1 – 9), 10 – 18
In Jesus, vivid in what the Gospels tell of him, we see God in the shape and setting of human life. We observe, imagine and we give thanks.

* Praise God for his gift of himself to us in the life of Jesus.

* Pray for grace to see, to learn and to follow.

* Thanks to God for all creation, laid out before us.

Sunday, 9 January 2011
Baptism of Christ

Isaiah 42. 1 – 9
We may read this passage as a picture of the ministry of Jesus – marked by both gentleness and power, by healing and the establishment of liberty and justice.

Acts 10. 34 – 43
Peter makes a momentous move.  Jesus’ message and work were not confined to Jews but were for people of every race and kind.

Matthew 3. 13 – 17
In an act of humility, the baptism of Jesus makes clear who he is – the chosen one of God who will fulfil his purposes.

* Can we share the excitement of the prophet’s hope?

* Pray that your faith might include people of all kinds.

* Reflect on the simple wonder of the role of Jesus on God’s behalf.

Sunday 16 January 2011
Second Sunday of Epiphany

Isaiah 49. 1 – 7
As so often in the later chapters of Isaiah, the prophet's message is one of generous openness to human beings in general in the name of Israel's God, now seen as everyone's God.

1 Corinthians 1. 1 – 9
Paul writes to a congregation he himself had gathered, and he proudly states his position as apostle (or agent) of Christ towards them.  'Saints' here means 'belonging to God' and the later sense of 'especially holy' lay in the future. To be Christians, whoever we are, is to stand on holy ground, where God is to be found.

John 1. 29 – 42
Here, John the Baptist recognizes Jesus as God's chosen one, with the Spirit to validate him, and without delay Jesus recruits followers to his cause.

* Pray to share the breadth of vision shown by the prophet.

* To be 'holy' is first and foremost to know oneself to be living in true relationship to God.

* Jesus is 'Lamb of God'. Sacrifice is always on the cards, for him - and for us who are his.

Sunday 23 January 2011
Third Sunday of Epiphany

Isaiah  9. 1 – 4
Looking beyond Israel's bounds, Isaiah sees the shining of God's joyful light, bringing an end to oppression.

¶ 1 Corinthians 1. 10 – 18
Hero-worship and squabbles in the congregation enfeeble Christian life, and Paul hates it. His remedy rests on Jesus' death as the sole source of power and alone worthy of loyalty.

Psalm: 27.1, 4 - 12

Matthew 4. 12 – 23
The evangelist picks up the passage from Isaiah, as he looks to the spread of the good news; and he makes the point here, as the story of Jesus' ministry begins: he summons disciples and he relieves distress.

* We must trust that the faith can be a force of liberation for all kinds of slaves and victims.

* Bickering usually makes for weakness, but in a Christian group it is more, it is a perversion of the gospel.

* We should reflect on the basic simplicity of Jesus' call and, we trust, our response.

Sunday 30 January 2011
Fourth Sunday of Epiphany

¶ 1 Kings 17. 8 – 16
Elijah, man of God, brings life-saving aid to a poor widow and she is a gentile, beyond his formal sphere of charity.

¶ 1 Corinthians 1. 18 – 31
Paul plays with the idea of 'wisdom'.  Some in the church boast of their religious depth.  Paul brushes that aside. God's wisdom is to be seen in the weakness of Christ crucified.

John 2. 1 – 11
John probably relates this story to say that Jewish faith ('water') has now found its rich and abundant fulfilment in Christ ('wine').

* How wide are we ready to let our generosity extend?

* We must return to the strange simplicity of true religion, shaming our clever discussion. 

* Can we tell when being convinced of our own faith leads us to dismiss the truths in the faith of others?

February 2011
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Sunday 6 February 2011
Presentation of Christ        

Malachi 3. 1 – 5
The focus is on the temple in Jerusalem, symbol of God's presence.  Malachi sees it as the scene of the coming revelation of God's power.

Hebrews 2. 14 – 18
Hebrews is firm on Christ's genuine humanity.  This is what enables us to see him as truly 'one of us' – ­and enables him to be our representative  before God.  Just like the high priest in the temple of old.

Luke 2. 22 – 40
Luke tells of Mary's humble keeping of the Jewish law relating to childbirth.  As the new world is born, the old is superseded but not despised.

* We need powerful symbols, like the temple in Malachi's prophecy.  How powerful can we let them be, and can they come to dominate the reality they stand for?

* It is surely helpful to see Jesus as our 'go-between' in relation to God.  He has a foot on either side and joins the two together.

* Religious devotion can be glad of the past, even as the future dawns and draws our eyes.

Sunday 13 February 2011
Fourth Sunday before Lent

Deuteronomy 30. 15 – 20
God sets before Israel the stark choice as the Land lies before them: to live by his law or to reject it – with inevitable results either way.

or ¶ Ecclesiasticus 15. 15 – 20
The writer of this book is a clear-sighted servant of God, and he sees the plain choices that face his people: to obey or to reject.

1 Corinthians 3. 1 – 9
The Christians in Corinth are apt to bicker and divide – here, in hero-worshipping various teachers and leaders of the Church.  This distracts from the fact that their roots are in Christ alone.

Matthew 5. 21 - 37
Jesus is shown penetrating to the depths of traditional rules.  Only so can their full meaning be seen.

* Pray not to shirk hard choices in loyalties or actions.

* May we preserve at all costs our unity in Christ.

* Let us never be content with merely formal religion.

Sunday 20 February 2011
Third Sunday before Lent

¶ Leviticus 19. 1 – 2, 9 – 18
This summary of Jewish moratily, even more clearly than the familiar Ten Commandments, is based in social relations under God within Israel.  Worth pondering all the same, even in our very different society.

1 Corinthians 3. 10 – 11, 16 – 23
Paul is a mixture of awareness of his vital role as Christ’s apostle and a sense that God through Christ transcends all that he does – and all that his Christians are.

Psalm 119. 33 - 40

Matthew 5. 38 – 48
The Sermon on the Mount goes beyond conventional moral teaching, with its stress on fairness and social boundaries.  Generosity and love leap all fences.

* Pray to hold to high ideals, through all failures.

* May we be saved from narrowness of vision.

* Thank God that he raises our eyes to the highest possibilities.

27 February 2011
Second Sunday before Lent

¶ Genesis 1.1 – 2.3
This first of the two accounts of creation in Genesis makes a set scheme of it, stressing that all comes from God’s all-powerful decree and depends utterly upon him.

¶ Romans 8. 18 - 25
Paul sees our assured hope of salvation as bringing with it the release of all creation from its appointed state.

Matthew 6. 25 – 34
Jesus teaches us to live before God in the everyday world with simplicity and so without anxiety; because it is God’s world and we are his, our needs can be met and we should not fret for more.

* Give thanks to God for the wonder of his created order.

* Pray that we as Christians play our part in the renewal of the world.

* Need it be a vain hope to put worries aside, out of trust in God’s love?

March 2011
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Sunday 6 March 2011
Sunday next before Lent

Genesis 6. 9 – 22; 8. 14 – 19
The story of the making and entering of the ark speaks of Providence for those chosen by God.

or Deuteronomy 11. 18 - 21, 26 - 28
Here at least, Israel’s religion seems relentless and unyielding.  It centred more on a way of life than a scheme of belief, and demanded observance above all.  A stark choice is presented – to obey or to evade.  Does that now seem the whole story?

Romans 1. 16 – 17; 3. 22b – 28 (29 – 31)
Paul insists that God accepts us, not because of any merits we may or may not possess, but freely of his own sheer grace – at the cost of Christ’s life given for us.

Matthew 7. 21 – 29
These last words of the Sermon on the Mount redress the balance yet again. they seem to strike a note of caution by comparison with Paul’s dramatic message.  Moral obedience, relentless following of Jesus, through thick and thin, is not sidelined by the drama of our response of pure faith.

* Is it not good for us sometimes to see things as black and white?  But with dangers?

* We thank God for the gift of faith – it is not our achievement in the least.

* There is a mystery in where we recognize authority, and it is often both hidden and complex.  What part does Jesus play for us?

Wednesday 9 March 2011
Ash Wednesday

Joel 2. 1 – 2, 12 – 17
The prophet calls on God’s people to observe the holy time with all solemnity.  It binds all together in the strict, heartfelt service of God.

or ¶ Isaiah 58. 1 – 12
God speaks via the prophet in exasperation at superficial religion.  True service of God lies not in ritual acts but in care for the needy, bringing joy for all.

2 Corinthians 5. 20b – 6. 10
Paul sets out his credentials as Christ’s ambassador.  They lie in the trials he has endured – leading to all the many blessings of the gospel of Christ.

¶ Matthew 6. 1 – 6, 16 – 21
Religious observance can be done for absurd reasons, even to win the approval of other people.  Purity of motive is required – for the love of God.

or John 8. 1 – 11
We are not to sin – but equally, we must not be censorious, in effect putting ourselves on a pedestal of virtue.  How wickedly foolish!

* Pray for purity in our love of God.

* The gift of Lent is to deepen out true service.

* Thank God for the chance to grow in love.

.Sunday 13 March 2011
First Sunday in Lent 

Genesis 2. 15 – 17; 3. 1 – 7
The story is a picture of the flawed character of our human nature, however 'good' we try to be.  It is a sad truth about us - but not the whole truth.

Romans 5. 12 – 19
The fuller truth is that God does not abandon us to our spoiled and foolish selfishness.  With Christ to stir us and Christ for us, we are taken out of ourselves to a quite different level of life. It is God's supreme, free gift.

Matthew 4. 1 – 11
Jesus triumphs over the natural temptations of his mission and (unlike Adam and Eve) is not turned away from what he must be and do.

* The fact that we are flawed must be humbly accepted if ever we are to be healed.

* The healing comes from God. Can we grasp it gladly?

* Temptations are often minor, but they can be symptoms of (and the test of) where we really stand.

Sunday 20 March 2011
Second Sunday in Lent 

Genesis 12. 1 - 4a
In Abraham, the focus of the Old Testament story narrows from humanity as a whole to one man - with a huge destiny, which spreads out again, for the good of all.

¶ Romans 4. 1 – 5, 13 – 17
As a Jew, Paul knew Abraham as the seed of God's good will to us.  To get that great boon out to the world at large, Paul seized on Abraham's faith and trust in God as the key. It is all that God requires of any of us.

Psalm: 121

John 3. 1 – 17
The final verses give the other side (God's side) of the coin from Paul. We trust, but first God gives, without stint or reserve, out of sheer love.

* We often tend to think of the big picture (nations, humanity). Is that the best way, when great matters are at stake, or is the small scale often crucial?

 * Can our natural pride accept that God needs only trust, and not, for example, that we earn salvation by our perhaps rather threadbare virtue?

 * Reflect that being accepted by God - receiving the gift - is the heart of our great good.

Sunday 27 March 2011
Third Sunday in Lent

¶ Exodus 17. 1 – 7
Trusting in God, not only in principle, but through thick and thin, is often an ordeal; but faith is the better for being tested.

¶ Roman 5. 1 – 11
Paul never ceases to be amazed at God's love for us – creatures of his who, in sober fact, merit nothing from him at all.

John 4. 5 – 42
John presents Jesus under two images, and he 'plays' with both.  Jesus is the giver of the 'water' (baptism?) that alone can slake our real thirst; and he is the 'place' where God is most truly worshipped, our bond with God.

* Can we really be heartened when our faith is tested or do we fight shy?

* We pray – to keep to the faith that God's love is beyond all we have a right to expect.

* Jesus fulfils all our good and godly hopes, whatever shape we give to them.

April 2011
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Sunday 3 April 2011
Fourth Sunday in Lent 
Mothering Sunday & Baptism Sunday

¶ Exodus 2. 1 – 10
Male Hebrew babies had to be drowned in the Nile, so Moses' mother acted shrewdly to save his life.  In due course, he in turn was God's agent to save his people from slavery.  It is a picture of Jesus' role for us all. Salvation hangs by a (golden) thread, does it not?

or 1 Samuel 1. 20 – 28
The birth of Samuel, dedicated for God’s special purpose, is an advance-echo for the coming of Jesus.

¶ 2 Corinthians 1. 3 – 7
Here we see Paul’s true pastoral spirit as he writes to a Christian Community that causes him much trouble.

or Colossians 3. 12 – 17
Here is Paul’s ideal picture of the Christian community – a generous, kindly people, devoted to God’s praise, all for the sake of Christ.

¶ Luke 2. 33 – 35
Like the mother of Moses, Mary has a crisis ahead.  Jesus will be a man at risk as well as the giver of life and freedom.

or John 19. 25b – 27
Jesus provides for the future in his moment of death.  Perhaps we should see his mother as standing for old Israel and the beloved disciple as the Church of the future, now inaugurated.

¶ John 3. 1 - 8
The final verses give the other side (God's side) of the coin from Paul. We trust, but first God gives, without stint or reserve, out of sheer love.

* Is it hard to accept that the triumph of good is never plain sailing?

* How hard it is for church life to live up to so attractive an ideal.
* Pray for grace to share Mary's pain and suffering for the ultimate good of us all.

* Reflect that being accepted by God - receiving the gift - is the heart of our great good.

Sunday 10 April 2011
Fifth Sunday in Lent& Sunday School

Ezekiel 37. 1 – 14
The dry bones stand for the people of Israel, and the prophet's vision brings assurance of their new life, restored by God's power.

Romans 8. 6 – 11
God's spirit is his life-giving power.  It exemplifies his central,
all-embracing character.  Those who receive him will have true 'life' like the dry bones. The vision comes true.

John 11. 1 – 45
The raising of Lazarus is Jesus' greatest ‘sign' told in this Gospel.  It shows us his power over all enemies - and the sisters rightly come to faith.

* What if your life is like dry bones, and where are the signs of newness?

* We believe that such life is God's gift, available for us.

* Life out of death is the gift at its most dramatic. What might it mean to us, even now?

Sunday 17 April 2011
Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday

Matthew 21. 1 - 11 (at blessing of Palms)

¶ Isaiah 50. 4 – 9a
The passage is a haunting description of one who suffers for the cause of God.  It is no wonder that Christians soon saw it as helping to make sense of what happened to Jesus, and bringing it within the scope of God's mysterious purposes.

Philippians 2. 5 – 11
We should probably read this passage as an early Christian hymn, summing up (rather like a kind of creed) the career of Christ: from God's highest place of esteem and dignity to the degradation of death by crucifixion, and then to glorious vindication.

Matthew 26. 14 – 27.66
Matthew tells the familiar story of Jesus' arrest, trial and death, much as the earlier Gospel of Mark had done; but adding his own vivid touches, like Pilate washing his hands and leaving all responsibility to the Jewish authorities, and then Judas' suicide out of remorse.

or ¶ Matthew 27. 11 – 54
The shorter extract focuses on the climax of Pilate’s trial of Jesus, his final torture and death by crucifixion – the inexorable process fills our vision.

* That suffering can be beneficial and the only route to some great benefits is a hard pill for us to swallow.  Here we see the principle at work on the grandest of scales.

* We wonder at the sweep of Christ's self-humbling and rejoice at his vindication.

* We should identify in imagination with characters in the story - and make what we can of ourselves.

Thursday 21 April 2011
Maundy Thursday

Exodus 12. 1 – 4 (5 – 10), 11 – 14
The Last Supper was the Passover Meal, so here are the rubrics for its observance – on the eve of Israel’s great salvation from slavery in Egypt.  We have always seen it as the model for our redemption in Christ.

1 Corinthians 11. 23 – 26
The oldest telling of the story of the Last Supper, whose actions are the model for the Eucharist – for all times and places.

John 13. 1 – 17, 31b – 35
The washing of the disciples’ feet is an act of deep humility, teaching the bond of love that is to join the followers of Jesus and make them one.

* Pray for a deeper devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist.

* We praise God for our rescue by God from all that threatens us.

* We trust that we can grow in love for each other.

Sunday 24 April 2011
Easter Day

¶ Acts 10. 34 – 43
Peter gives a summary of the story of the salvation brought by Jesus, but the crucial point here is the universal scope of that work; it is for gentiles as well as for Jews.  A major step in the Church's life and the spread of the good news.

or ¶ Jeremiah 31. 1 – 6
The prophet foresees a time when Israel’s hopes will be amply fulfilled, in joy and without stint.

Colossians 3. 1 – 4
To become a Christian is to enter a whole new sphere of life, with Christ as its principle, indeed its true setting.  This is the real fruit of Easter.

¶ John 20. 1- 18
Two stories of Easter Day, telling first of the abandoned tomb and then of Jesus' meeting with Mary Magdalene. A new world is born and the old is put behind.  And love and recognition are the marks of the new.

or Matthew 28. 1 – 10
The women discover the tomb empty and report their finding – with joy and fear, both fitting reactions to the wonder of the day.

* To contemplate the story of Jesus is itself an act of thanksgiving to God.

* We pray not to forget the revolution that being a Christian must mean for us.

* Each of us should identify and cherish the events and experiences that clinch Christian faith for us.

May 2011
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Sunday 1 May 2011
Second Sunday of Easter

¶ Exodus 14. 10 – 31; 15.  20 – 21
The Israelites try to flee their Egyptian captors.  All is in the balance: will they get away or not?  With God’s help, success is assured.

Acts 2. 14a, 22 – 32
This first example of apostolic preaching after the Ascension sees the raising of Jesus as fulfilling prophecy. It is meant by God and no mere fluke of nature. 1

Peter 1. 3 – 9
An exuberant affirmation of Christian belief written to people who must be ready for their share in Christ's triumph in the long term to be tested by suffering in the short term.

John 20. 19 – 31
Should faith depend on evidence? No, says the Gospel, for that destroys the character of faith itself. Faith is a matter of pure trust.  Thomas is a sobering model for us as well as a reassurance.

* We are surely to be content that God's deep-laid providence should be worked out, for the good of all his creatures.

* Is it not hard to trust when the going is hard? It is also uniquely important and full of reward.

* Pray for the gift of pure trust, the true sign of love, not demanding proofs or measurable recompense.

Sunday 8 May 2011
Third Sunday of Easter       

¶ Zephaniah 3. 14 – 20
The prophet foresees, exuberantly, a time of fulfilment when all shall be well.

or Acts 2. 14a, 36 – 41
Peter's first great sermon in Jerusalem has a miraculous response and baptism follows.  Only rarely does religious activity flourish at such a high pitch.  We should rejoice without depending on such striking events for faith to be valid.

1 Peter 1. 17 – 23
We must be encouraged when we read of how Christian life felt in the days when all was fresh and new. Life in the here-and-now seemed like a kind of exile from our true home with God - where, through Christ, we truly belong.

Luke 24. 13 – 35
The meal at Emmaus shows us 'the breaking of bread' as a key way of recognizing Jesus, ever and afresh; and as a way of learning his true significance.  To walk with him through life can even be an unconscious way of 'finding' him.

* God's Spirit is his gift to renew and remake us, and to remove scales from our eyes.

* Pray not to lose a sense of tension between the 'everyday world' and the 'real world' whose meaning is given by God.

* We should hold to a sense of the wonder of Christ-with-us in the Eucharist.

Sunday 15 May 2011
Fourth Sunday of Easter

¶ Genesis 7
Noah in his ark, surviving the direst threats, can be seen as a symbol of salvation against all odds.  In a way, we are always saved by the skin of our teeth, by an act of grace.

Acts 2. 42 – 47
Being Christian thrives best not just on our 'going to church' or even on our 'being good', but also on some kind of shared Christian community life for the good of all.

Psalm 23

¶ 1 Peter 2. 19 – 25
The message is sobering: that we are never so Christian as when, like Jesus, we suffer undeservedly.  But the outcome of faith is assured and draws us like a magnet, despite all.

John 10. 1 – 10
The image is not sentimental but down-to-earth. The shepherd values the sheep because they are his property.  What is more, he is the only true and reliable guardian of the flock.  These are Jesus' roles towards us.

* Do we see our faith as chiefly an individual thing or a life we live with others?

* Can we identify with a positive Christian valuing of the sufferings that come our way?

* We must recognize Christ as the only true basis and measure of our value and our security.

Sunday 22 May 2011
Fifth Sunday of Easter       

¶ Genesis 8.  1 – 19
The day of relief and final safety for Noah is taken up in the Church as a symbol of Jesus fulfilling our dreams.  So it serves well for the Easter season.

Acts 7. 55 – 60
Stephen, first martyr for Christ, dies with words on his lips that echo those of Jesus at his dying (as described in Luke 23. 34 & 46).  The disciple is to be as his lord and master – now as then. 

¶ 1 Peter 2. 2 – 10
It is not just the work of Jesus that we must see as God's new deed in our midst, but the creation of a new people or community, taking over the inheritance and task of the Israel of old.  Words that echo the Old Testament make the point.

John 14. 1 – 14
We tend always to ask for more – from God as in other more mundane areas of life.  But we should rest content. In Christ, God has amply supplied all we can truly need.

* We are to see martyrs of any time, including our own day, as especially sharp images of genuine Christian life.

 * To be Christian is to belong to a 'new people' that transcends other bodies we may also be members of.

* How hard is it truly to believe in the adequacy of God's gift to us in Christ?

Sunday 29 May 2011
Sixth Sunday of Easter

¶ Genesis 8. 20 – 9.  17
The saga of Noah has its climax in the bond God made with him, which has the rainbow as its symbol.  Mutual trust and fidelity is promised.  It is taken up for us in Jesus-centred terms.

¶ Acts 17. 22 – 31
Paul's address in Athens seeks common religious ground with pagan Greeks, but takes care to go beyond it with the distinctive Christian message as his punch-line. It makes a strategy to think about.

¶ 1 Peter 3. 13 – 22
These words are written for Christians facing dire attack.  But their sense of great crisis speaks in its way to lesser crises too and sharpens up our duller reactions.

John 14. 15 – 21
The constant presence of Christ is assured, a presence of love which carries the necessity of obedience to his overriding command – that we love one another.

* It is important to know and value both what we share with other seekers for truth and what our own Christian contribution is.  No good comes from either despising
the first or underplaying the second.

* Pray for grace not to lose touch with the greatness of Christ's suffering for us.

* Is it hard to believe that love is the only bond that finally counts in the life of those who serve God?

June 2011
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Thursday 2 June 2011
Ascension Day

Daniel 7. 9 – 14
This fantastic picture certainly takes us to another realm and helps to make the point of Jesus’ heavenly role in glory.

or ¶ Acts 1. 1 – 11
This act, assuring Jesus’ triumph, marks the transition to the time of the Church. 

Ephesians 1. 15 – 23
The writer sings a hymn of adoration for Christ in the heavenly endorsement of his triumph.

Luke 24. 44 – 53
Luke’s Gospel ends with Jesus’ heavenly withdrawal at the end of Easter Day – and the disciples go to the Temple, keeping the link with Israel.

* Pray to identify with Christ as joining earth and heaven.

* We praise God for his gifts in Christ.

* Can we bear too strong a sense of glory?

Sunday 5 June 2011
Seventh Sunday of Easter

¶ Ezekiel 36. 24 – 28
The theme is restoration and homecoming, one that recurs in the Old Testament.  Here, it centres on the Land of Isreal – a foretaste of heaven.

Acts 1. 6 – 14
The story of the Ascension can easily seem just ‘strange’.  See it as a picture of the divine vindication of Jesus, leading immediately to the shared life of his followers, the infant Church.

1 Peter 4. 12 – 14; 5. 6 – 11
The testing of faith by persecution or otherwise is always hard; but it carries with it the seal of God’s restoration and even the experience of joy.

John 17. 1 – 11
We read here the most profound of all statements about the interweaving of Jesus with the Father and then of us with them;  it is our assurance for now and always.

* Pray that the Church may always look to Jesus before it looks to itself.

* Can we accept the testing of our faith as in the end a benefit?

* The goal we share is our being involved with Christ in the life of God.

Sunday 12 June 2011
Day of Pentecost, Whit Sunday

Acts 2. 1 – 21
The Spirit means: God as powerfully involved among us – and the story gives us a striking picture of such power that it has made its mark on the Christian imagination, especially in its promise of life for everyone.

or ¶ Numbers 11. 24 – 30
If only God’s people shared and showed his gifts to the full.  It is the dream of a time and place when God’s gifts visibly abound.

1 Corinthians 12. 3b – 13
The Christian community is a single whole, imbued with the single power of God.  But the roles God inspires and enables are many and utterly varied.

John 20. 19 – 23
Jesus gives the Spirit of wholesome peace and with it the removal of sin – which spoils his gift.

or ¶ John 7. 37 – 39
The prophets foresaw a time when water would flow from Jerusalem to revive the energies of all the people.  Jesus is such a source, as he told the woman in John 4 and as the Cross will demonstrate, with baptism to fulfil.

* Pray to recognise the splendour of the diverse gifts of God.

* Give thanks for the wonder of creation.

* May we recognise the gifts of the Spirit around and within us.

Sunday 19 June 2011
Trinity Sunday

¶ Genesis 1. 1 – 2. 4a
The writer shows the whole of creation as resulting from God’s orderly purpose – no accident, no meaningless process, but rational.

or Isaiah 40. 12 – 17, 27 – 31
The prophet praises God’s creative order, now in a spirit filled with wonder – and with hope for the perfection of God’s purposes for the world.

2 Corinthians 13. 11 – 13
Paul ends his letter with a farewell greeting of peace, and Christians have taken it into general use in our prayers.  It tells of God’s all-embracing gift of himself to us.

Matthew 28. 16 – 20
Jesus left behind a legacy of teaching and a mission for us to fulfil – for the good of all humankind.

* Pray for the wholesome peace which God offers us.

* Praise God for the glory of Creation.

* Pray for our part in making the gospel known.

Sunday 26 June 2011
Trinity 1 – Proper 8

¶ Isaiah 49. 8 – 16a
In a passage of beautiful poetry, the prophet has in view a time when God will fill his people, at last, with fulfilment and delight.

¶ 1 Corinthians 4. 1 – 5
Paul claims only one distinction: as ‘steward’ of God’s ‘mysteries’.  His apostolic role is all, and on that he is content to be judged.

¶ Matthew 6. 24 – 34
Jesus calls for a profound hatred of anxiety.  God is to be trusted – whatever the appearances.  And the Kingdom of God is our only concern.

Matthew 5:38-48
The Sermon on the Mount goes beyond conventional moral teaching, with its stress on fairness and social boundaries.  Generosity and love leap all fences.

* Can we truly lay our fretfulness safely at God’s door?

* Pray for the gift of contentment with our role in God’s purpose.

* May we learn to trust in the provision of God.

* Thank God that he raises our eyes to the highest possibilities.

July 2011
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Sunday 3 July 2011
Trinity 2 – Proper 9

Genesis 24.  24 – 38, 42 – 49, 58 – 67
The blood-line of Abraham, carrying God’s promise for ever, must be preserved with infinite care and at all costs.  No short-termism here.

or Zechariah 9. 9 – 12
The passage is full of excitement at the prospect of rescue and vindication for God’s people.  There is a strong sense of the boundless extent of his joyful power.

Romans 7. 15 – 25a
Paul describes the inner struggle we may endure before responding to God’s shining gift in Christ.  Perhaps we have to repeat the process again and again through our lives.

Matthew 11. 16 – 19, 25 – 30
Jesus was not known for his ascetic strictness of life, and he opens his heart as widely as can be.  It is a lesson to Christians inclined to be niggardly and narrow-minded in the name of religion.  In Jesus’ service we are as free as air, with all the burdens lifted – except the ‘light’ one of his service.

* How often we fail through narrowness of vision.

* Inner struggle can be the necessary prelude to a worthwhile outcome.

* Pray to trust in the freedom that life in Christ offers to us.

Sunday 10 July 2011
Trinity 3 – Proper 10

Genesis 25.  19 – 34
At each generation, choices must be made.  Jacob is not ‘nicer’ than Esau, he is simply the one chosen.  We can think of parallels in many areas!

or Isaiah 55. 10 – 13
The prophet paints a joyful picture of God’s purpose which achieves good results in all directions and all spheres.  There is, in the end, no failure in God’s work.

Romans 8. 1 – 11
Paul has the positive sense of what Christ has achieved and there is no question of ‘partly’ or ‘perhaps’.  Flesh here means not ‘body’ but us, stuck  in our own weakness and meanness; and ‘Spirit’ here means the liberating power of God, taking over our whole selves..

Matthew 13. 1 – 9, 18 – 23
The parable is so familiar and seems so much a matter of common sense that we may miss its drive.  All sorts of resistance and failure happen, but the push of the story is towards the good soil, where success is abundant.

* How hard do we find it actually to rejoice in the good purpose of God?

* Does the sharp contrast of ‘flesh’ and ‘Spirit’ alarm or encourage us?

* Can we tell which kind of soil truly attracts us and holds us?

Sunday 17 July 2011
Trinity 4 – Proper 11

Genesis 28. 10 – 19a
Jacob’s vocation is ratified by his encounter with God at Bethel (‘house of God’).  It is an image that has moved many Christians too (and see John 1. 51).

or Wisdom of Solomon 12. 13, 16 – 19
To be confident in life under the one and only God is to feel at ease in the pursuit of all that is good.

or Isaiah 44. 6 – 8
This prophet was perhaps the first to see clearly that there really is only one God (and that the gods of the nations were an illusion).  It is exciting to realize afresh, as if from scratch, what this entails for us.

Psalm 86. 11 - 17

Romans 8. 12 – 25
Paul saw that we Christians are not like subjects of a lord or monarch but like members of a family, marked by love and acceptance for our own sake – and by hope that all shall be well.

Matthew 13. 24 – 30, 36 – 43
Matthew gives us a parable offering a stark and frightening choice, with a future to match.  The message is that we should not relax in complacent ignorance of the choice, but buckle to in the Christian task.

* Do we take God’s amazing ‘oneness’ for granted?

* To be aware of our liberty is surely to be full of hope for all good.

* Evil oppresses the world but we hold fast to God’s victory, with its signs all around us. 

Sunday 24 July 2011
Trinity 5 – Proper 12

Genesis 29. 15 – 28
We read a love story which takes the story of the origins of God’s people one step further.

or 1 Kings 3. 5 – 12
Solomon, a hero-king of Israel, modestly asked for the gift of wisdom. Not a bad choice – but a brave one – for any up-and-coming person with a serious job to do.

Romans 8. 26 – 39
The passage leads up to the most confident and triumphant cry of Christian faith in all the New Testament.  No hostile force can finally count against the love of God.

Matthew 13. 31 –  33,  44 – 52
The cause of God, whose success is assured, is so precious that we should forego anything to grasp it for ourselves.  To be on God’s side is our ultimate good.

* Pray for the gift of wise discernment in the problems that face us.

* We have every reason to face our adversities with courage from God.

* Reflect on where the rule of God comes in your scale of values.

Sunday 31 July 2011
Trinity 6 – Proper 13

Genesis 32. 22 31
Our relationship with God is so serious that conflict and disputing with God is not ruled out.  It may be a step on the journey.

or Isaiah 55. 1 – 5
The invitation from God is open and generous, offered to more and more people.

Romans 9. 1 – 5
Paul is embarking here on a long discussion about how Jews and Gentiles share together in God’s purpose and gift.  He begins by recognising the Jews’ long role as first receivers of that gift – and we are reminded.

Matthew 14. 13 – 21
The story of the crowd being fed by Jesus must always have made Christian people think of the Eucharist – God’s free and abundant gift to his people, expressed in simple bread but so full of meaning.

* We recognise that our faith does not come from nowehere but, for each of  us, has deep-laid roots that we easily forget.

* Thank God for his constant goodness.

* Wet thank God for the greatness of his sacramental gift to us.

August 2011
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Sunday 7 August 2011
Trinity 7 – Proper 14

Genesis 37. 1 – 4, 12 – 28
The story of the family strife that led into Joseph’s being sold into Egypt – with, in due course, huge results for his people.

or 1 Kings 19. 9 – 18
Elijah, desolate and demoralized, finds God in ‘a sound of sheer silence’ (a better but more mysterious translation than the old ‘still small voice’); and it is a good launch-pad for the strong action for God that he goes on to take.

Romans 10. 5 – 15
Paul finds scriptural backing for the core of his message and mission: that God’s acceptance is open to all.  Jews and Gentiles alike can join in faith in Jesus.

Matthew 14. 22 – 33
The Gospel gives us a picture of God’s utter reliability in life’s storms.  Yet on our part, trust in God can always be strengthened, as testing may show.

* Pray to value ‘sheer silence’ at the heart of spiritual life.

* Can we accept gladly that God has no favourites?

* Pray for the deepening of trust in God’s love and power.

Sunday 14 August 2011
Trinity 8 – Proper 15

Genesis 45. 1 – 15
The long-delayed reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers brings Israel’s sojourn in Egypt ever closer – with fateful results.

or Isaiah 56.1, 6 – 8
Some voices in the later Old Testament writings look beyond Israel to the wider world as they consider the scope of God’s love.  For them, it is clear that it must be universal.

Romans 11. 1 – 2a, 29 – 32
In the light of Christ, Paul builds on the insights found in the reading from Isaiah and holds to his conviction of Christ’s role for everybody.

Matthew 15 (10 – 20), 21 – 28
The Canaanite woman serves as a test-case for Jesus’ ministry of rescue for all.  She perseveres and her need is met.

* Can we stop ourselves putting limits of some kind on our sense of God’s love for his creation?

* Pray to have a simple faith in God’s concern for all.

* Do we need to persevere more doggedly in our faith in God and not be discouraged?

Sunday 21 August 2011
Trinity 9 – Proper 16

Exodus 1. 8 – 2. 10
Isarael’s stay in Egypt became a time of servitude, but the birth of Moses is the hidden beginning of the people’s release.  Through ‘death’ to ‘new life’.

or Isaiah 51. 1 – 6
Two contrasting thoughts: first, behind our desired future lies our valuable past (‘the rock from which you were hewn’), and the two must belong together; but second, the greatness of God dwarfs us all.

Psalm 138

Romans 12. 1 – 8
Christians are to be distinct from the society around – in the world but not of it.  The reason is that it is Christ who gives us our shared identity and makes us one.

Matthew 16. 13 – 20
To say ‘Yes’ to Jesus leads straight to a practical role.  Peter (his name means ‘rock’) signifies the church in all its day-to-day life and whose ultimate victory on behalf of God is sure.

* It is hard to keep a balanced sense of our importance before God. Not too much, not too little.

* Do we see the Christian community as truly Christ’s people – and that alone?

* Pray that confession of Christ leads us to a live part in his purpose.

Sunday 28 August 2011
Trinity 10 – Proper 17

Exodus 3. 1 – 15
Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush is crucial – a sacred moment: with the name of God, Moses receives his orders.

or Jeremiah 15. 15 – 21
The service of God is not an easy ride and we can protest to him at its impossibility; but he will surely see us through.

Romans 12. 9 – 21
Paul gives simple and basic moral teaching, some of it echoing Jesus in the Gospels.  Much of it is not unusual – but that makes it no easier to accept and follow, except in God’s grace.

Matthew 16. 21 – 28
It is a solemn message. To follow Jesus is essentially to share the cross and all that it entails for our way of life.  That is the unavoidable route to success and triumph.

* To rail at God can be a form of faithfulness.

* Pray even to accept ill from others with true patience.

* Can we bear to become nothing for the sake of having everything that matters in the end?

September 2011
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Sunday 4 September 2011
Trinity 11 – Proper 18

Exodus 12. 1 – 14
The rules for the meal of the Pasover have always been crucial for the Jewsih peple.  They tell of the great release, to which the meal was the prelude, and for us give promise of Jesus’ act of redemption.

or Ezekiel 33. 7 – 11
The prophet is God’s watchman, bringing due warning to his people when their faithfulness falters.

Romans 13.  8 – 14
Paul’s moral teaching echoes Jesus’ own stress on the command to love – and we live the good life always in the setting of the urgency of Christ’s call.

Matthew 18. 15 – 20
Matthew provides a stern process for the discipline of the Christian community, but promises his own good presence to his people when they meet.

* Pray to commemorate past blessings with joy.

* May we heed the wise teaching that we hear.

* Thank God for the good fellowship we enjoy.

Sunday 11 September 2011
Trinity 12 – Proper 19

Exodus 14. 19 – 31
The fearsome story of the Israelites’ escape may now make us conscious of the Egyptians’ horrific fate.

or Exodus 15. 1b – 11, 21b
It may now seem wicked to rejoice in our own success at the expense of gruesome horrors for others.

or Genesis 50. 15 – 21
The life of God’s people seems to hang by a thread, and it takes Joseph’s gracious act for things to be carried forward.

Romans 14. 1 – 12
Christians, like others, can squabble and divide about matters that seem to be, in the end, of minor importance.  Only love can restore a true sense of proportion.

Matthew 18. 21 35
It is a terrifying parable bringing home dramatically the message of the Lord’s Prayer – to forgive readily, as we ourselves are forgiven by God.

* How hard it is to trust that, even despite all appearances, all shall be well.

* Pray always to hold to the great signs of God’s love.

* Pray to be forgiving to others, for we also are forgiven much.

Sunday 18 September 2011
Trinity 13 – Proper 20

Exodus 16. 2 – 15
God’s people grumble their way through the wilderness, and God’s care is firm but tangible.  Discipline is the dominant note.

or Jonah 3. 10 – 4. 11
The Book of Jonah is a short story about repentance and God’s forbearance, even to foreigners, outside the people of Israel – and the ‘righteous’ do not always like God for it.

Philippians 1. 21 – 30
Paul wants to encourage his converts at Philippi and shows himself a good and wise pastor, who has suffered at they do – and has stood firm.

Matthew 20. 1 – 16
No parable of Jesus strikes us as more shocking than this. What sort of world is it about?  It is not about our world, but God’s – where, fortunately for us, his grace takes no account of our deserts.

* Do we resent God’s goodness, extending even to our enemies?

* Christian ministry is family-like – given to us, but from alongside us.

* Pray to be glad that God has no favourites.

Sunday 25 September 2011
Trinity 14 – Proper 21

Exodus 17. 1 – 7
Grumbling from below meets, as always, provision from above.  Not a pleasing picture, but not beyond our experience.

or Ezekiel 18. 1 – 4, 25 – 32
It is easy to blame some of our ills and sins on forces outside ourselves – upbringing, the culture, our society, the way the world is.  Whatever the truth of that, God takes us for what we are - responsible individuals, all of us having the potential for glory.

Philippians 2. 1 – 13
The drama of Christ’s self-humbling and his vindication by God is at the heart of our faith.  It gives us the best clue we have to the mystery of our own life and destiny.

Matthew 21. 23 – 32
If people cannot see Jesus’ meaning from his conduct in his ministry, the fault is their own.  Those pleased with their own goodness are the last people to grasp the character of God.

* Pray to discriminate between what life virtually forces us to be and what we let ourselves become.

* The gift of humility is surely a matter of being ‘real’ before God and everyone else.

* We wish to be delivered from stubborn blindness to Truth when it stares us in the face.

October 2011
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Sunday 2 October 2011
Trinity 15 – Proper 22

Exodus 20. 1 – 4, 7 – 9, 12 – 20
The Ten Commandments retain a place in Christian teaching, but they began with old Israelite  circumstances in mind - and Jesus gave a new slant to ethics with the stress on love.

or Isaiah 5. 1  -  7
The prophet’s poem tells of God’s patient fidelity to his people – and his endless love.

Philippians 3. 4b – 14
Paul breaks out in a fusion of his pride in his Jewish credentials with the utter priority of confidence in his Christian apostolic calling – until the end.

Matthew 21. 33 – 46
The parable tells of the long and varied flaws and failures of Israel as God’s people.  No wonder God has made a new start.

* Pray to rejoice in God’s guidance to us all.

* We praise God for his constancy.

* May we resist all complacency in our relationship with God.

Sunday 9 October 2011
Trinty16 – Proper 23 

Exodus 32. 1 – 14
The crisis of the making of the golden calf has become an emblem of all kinds of idolatry and foolish veneration.  Its message stands.

or Isaiah 25. 1 – 9
It is often harder for us than for our ancestors to receive God with such ecstatic joy, even when we recognize his love towards us and the promise of fulfilment he offers to us.

Philippians 4. 1 – 9
Familiar words, speaking of the positive comforts that follow from God’s gift of himself to us, summed up in wholesome and full-blooded ‘peace’.

Matthew 22. 1 – 14
In origin, the parable, put in brutal terms, is about the rejection of Christ by his own people and his acceptance by others – who should nevertheless not presume on their unmerited call.

* Praise God for the joy of his open invitation to us, regardless of merit.

* Pray to know the peace that is beyond our capacity to grasp.

* God gives – but to take him for granted is to put love in danger.

Sunday 16 October 2011
Trinity 17 – Proper 24

Exodus 33. 12 – 23
The work of a religious leader is ofter far from easy and may drive to despair.  But God’s presence will not fail in the crisis.

or Isaiah 45. 1 – 7
A widening of Israel’s view of God. He will use even pagan kings for his sovereign purposes.  His writ knows no frontiers.  It was, then, a daring idea.

1 Thessalonians 1. 1 – 10
The opening of Paul’s earliest letter.  We can sense the fervour and novelty of the mission he had embarked upon in an alien land, far from home – for the sake of God’s love for all, shown in Christ.

Matthew 22. 15 – 22
If we hear aright, the message is not ‘so much for the state’ and ‘so much for God or the Church’ (how could one make such a bargain?) but ‘all things are God’s, and all other duties are second to him.  Jesus thumps the table as he utters those last words.

* We would not dream of seeing God as somehow British; but do we sometimes get close to it?

* Pray to share the courage and width of imagination showed by Paul the apostle.

* Where might we let conflicts of loyalty move us?

Sunday 23 October 2011
Trinity 18 – Proper 25
Bible Sunday

Nehemiah 8. 1 – 4a, (5 – 6), 8 – 12
After the exile of leading Jews to Babylon in the 6th century BC, the return over a century later, was marked by a new focus on the sacred books of the Law (which became the first five books of our Old Testament).  They were becoming the heart and symbol of Israel’s life.

Colossians 3. 12 – 17
Paul give a serene and happy picture of the Christian common life: virtues crowned with love and the singing of joyful songs of faith.  Maybe Colossians 1. 15 – 20 was one of them.

Matthew 24. 30 – 35
 Jesus foretells his return as part of the drama of the end of the present world-order – but his teaching will endure through everything that happens in the process.

* Consider what is the core of your identity as a Christian.

* Can we enter into the joyful picture of shared Christian life painted by Paul?

* In what spirit do we look to the future of God’s world? Hope? Trust? Indifference?

Sunday 30 October 2011
Fourth Sunday before Advent
All Saints

Revelation 7. 9 – 17
The depiction of heaven is of crowds – made up of God’s faithful ones, those who have endured and won through.

1 John 3. 1 – 3
To know God’s love means having the hope of ‘seeing’ God and being thereby changed to his likeness – the destiny for which we are made.

Matthew 5. 1 – 12
A well-known film calls this passge the ‘beautiful attitudes’.  It is not a bad pun on ‘beatitudes’ (or blessings), so long as we see how tough some of the attitudes can be.

* The vision of God is an unfashionable objective. How do you feel about it?

* Dare we pray for the gift of becoming ‘like God’?

* The beatitudes give a full picture of holy life and its rewards – for our encouragement.

November 2011
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Sunday 6 November 2011
Third Sunday before Advent

Wisdom of Solomon 6. 12 – 16 or 6. 17 - 20
There is no sign of awesome crisis, as in most of the season’s readings.  Rather we are taught the duty of contemplation – of God’s wise doctrine for the good of our lives.

or Amos 5. 18 – 24
The prophet warns against complacent views of God’s coming ‘day’.  No, it will be a day of fearsome challenge when human indulgence will meet its doom.

1 Thessalonians 4. 13 – 18
Paul is assured that Christ will soon return and rescue  his people, few though they may be.  His perspective did not foresee the many centuries still to run.

Matthew 25. 1 – 3
The message is that vigilance before God is a vital part of the Christian life. The image of the wedding reminds us of the fulfilment that the new world brings.

* Give thanks for the ever-open invitation of God held towards us.

* Pray for the gift of vigilance in God’s service in our daily life.

* May we never lose heart as we watch and pray.

Sunday 13 November 2011
Second before Advent,     
Remembrance Sunday

Zephaniah 1. 7, 12 – 18
The prophet gives a vivid picture of the awesome future God has in store for a rebellious world.

1 Thessalonians 5. 1 – 11
Paul is convinced that God’s intervention is near – fearful for the world at large, but joyful for God’s faithful ones.

Matthew 25. 14 – 30
The Parable fo the Talents leaves us all feeling insecure.  It is not a story to encourage the least complacency.

* Pray to be stirred into vigilance before God.

* We thank God for the prodding we both need and deserve.

* May we love God even when he threatens.

Sunday 20 November 2011
Christ the King

Ezekiel 34. 11 – 16, 20 – 24
God is the shepherd-king of his people, with a duty of loving care which he will carry out with utmost diligence.

Ephesians 1. 15 – 23
This is one of the loftiest statements in the New Testament of the place of Jesus in the saving purposes of God; his triumph over all that stands against God gives us our secure place in his love.

Matthew 25. 31 – 46
This final parable in the Gospel of Matthew reminds us of the simple and straightforward duties of care for the needy that bear witness to our Christian calling.

* Pray for the grace to recognise the majesty and victory of Christ.

* We are glad to be called to worship God, our maker and redeemer.

* Pray for those in need in our own circles – and well beyond.


Sunday 27 November 2011
First Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 64. 1 – 9
The longing for the all-powerful and mysterious God to ' break through' to us is very deep in the religious spirit.  Here it is expressed in a pure, poetic form.

1 Corinthians 1. 3 – 9
As was common in his day, Paul's letters often open, after the greeting, with thanksgiving.  Here it is offered for the recent conversion to Christ of his readers, the fruit of his own mission in Corinth as short time before.

Mark 13. 24 – 37
Here we have a longing for God put in a Christ-centred form, but otherwise typical of its time.  The imagery could not be more dramatic.  But vigilance must be a key Christian quality, readiness for God's good time -- is that any and every time?

*  Let attachment to God stir the heart into longing.

*  Can we recapture the freshness of Paul's spring-time of faith?

*  Being alert for God is a quality to cultivate. 

December 2011
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Sunday 4 December 2011
2nd Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 40. 1 – 11
These words are taken up in the Gospels when they write about the role of John the Baptist as herald for Jesus.  In origin they looked to Israel's return from captivity in Babylon in the 5th century BC; and that in turn is compared to the release from Egyptian slavery under Moses centuries before.

2 Peter 3. 8 –15a          
This late New Testament writing seeks to preserve a sense of alert expectation when it is beginning to fade; and the best preparation for God is the living of an upright life.

Mark 1. 1 – 8
John the Baptist, herald for Jesus, has the good role of introducing -- and so beginning to explain who Jesus is and what his role is.  John lives in a way associated with the heroic prophet Elijah, the sign of a true spokesman for God.

*  It is good to see liberation as the constant will of God.

*  It takes effort to maintain a sense of expectancy for God as if for a loved one.

*  Can we too be 'introducers' or heralds for Jesus?

Sunday 11 December 2011
3rd Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 61. 1 – 4, 8 – 11
In a passage used by Jesus in his Nazareth sermon (Luke 4.16 on), the prophet paints the new world which God desires for us, with every hurt and ill done away

1 Thessalonians 5. 16 – 24
Paul makes it plain the basic duties placed on the shoulders of those who await God's fulfilment.

John 1. 6 – 8, 19 – 28
The opening of John's Gospel is chiefly about Christ's person and significance, but the writer rather surprisingly inserts passages about John the Baptist, emphasizing his secondary yet important role.  Perhaps there were followers of the Baptist who gave him a higher place and needed correcting?

*  We need ideals in order to know where to place our efforts and our hopes.

*  Ordinary duties are not exciting but are basic to the rhythm of our lives.

*  Jesus stands as our best and heaven-sent guide to God's character and purpose. 

Sunday 18 December 2011
4th Sunday of Advent

2 Samuel 7. 1 – 11, 16
The God-given legacy of David is to be the building of the temple in Jerusalem.

Romans 16. 25 – 27
Paul's doxology ends his letter on a note of praise and thanksgiving, and it sums up Christ's role as fulfiller of God's purpose -- at long last.

Luke 1. 26 – 28
The Annunciation story, endlessly and famously painted, is an amazing picture of the wonder of God's way of proceeding all unexpected, calling on the 'small' of the world as the route to triumph.  And Mary, humbly, accepts her role.

*  Are we happy that God's way is not 'airy-fairy' but rooted in life and events, time and place?

*  We should feel wonder at God's gracious condescension to Mary -- and to each of us in our place.

*  The proper Christian response is grateful co-operation in what is required of us. 

Saturday 24 December 2011
Midnight Mass

Isaiah 9. 2 – 7
A birth is usually an occasion for rejoicing and hope.  But this birth carries great promise for us all.

Titus 2. 11 – 14
God’s gift of himself in Jesus is unlimited in its scope.  It is for the great good of everyone.

Luke 2. 1 – 14 (15 – 20)
Jesus’ birth was both an obscure event, known to a mere handful, and universal in its scope and purpose.

* We praise God for the gift of Jesus: let us adore him.

* Thank God for opening up the widest of horizons.

* Pray to feel the wonder of God’s simplicity.

Sunday 25 December 2011
Christmas Day

Isaiah 9. 2 – 7
A birth is usually an occasion for rejoicing and hope.  But this birth carries great promise for us all.

Titus 2. 11 – 14
God’s gift of himself in Jesus is unlimited in its scope.  It is for the great good of everyone.

Luke 2. 1 – 14 (15 – 20)
Jesus’ birth was both an obscure event, known to a mere handful, and universal in its scope and purpose.

* We praise God for the gift of Jesus: let us adore him.

* Thank God for opening up the widest of horizons.

* Pray to feel the wonder of God’s simplicity.

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