Bobbie Frere | John 1.1-14
At Christmas we especially celebrate Jesus coming into the world, but where can he be found today? As we live in a society that largely excludes Jesus from his own birth celebration, Bobbie challenges us to find, follow and reflect the true light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Jenny Tomlinson | 1 John 1:5-7
Darkness is real: the place where we try to hide things from ourselves and others, where we shy away from hard choices, where we let our human failings take control. Yet, says Jenny, the true light not only overcomes the darkness but also transforms the things it reveals - and that light is God himself. Here is both a challenge and an encouragement to reflect that light in the world.
We were pleased to welcome Jenny as our guest. In her role as Archdeacon of Birmingham Jenny has an important role in the process of appointing a new vicar for Christ Church and this was a great opportunity to build on that relationship.
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Chris Turner | Psalm 78:9-16
In the days of the Exodus the people of Israel had a very clear indication of the way that they should go. If they had chosen a route through the desert themselves, it would have been very different from the one they followed - and they would never have made it. Chris gives some modern day examples of how God still leads his people and teaches us to trust him.
He divided the sea and led them through;
he made the water stand up like a wall.
He guided them with the cloud by day
and with light from the fire all night.
Allan Bartlam | Matthew 5:14-16
But... isn't Jesus the light of the world? It's a privilege that he gives that title and responsibility to us also, says Allan, but often we feel the pressure of our weakness and failure and so our light is never seen in this dark world. Suppose we were honest about our struggles and showed those around us the forgiveness and hope that Jesus brings? Allan has some practical ideas for doing this.
Discussion questions can be downloaded here.
'You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.'
Chris Chalmers | Isaiah 49:1-6
On the first Sunday in Advent, Chris shows us how we can make a difference that will outlast the season - but we have to work out the details in our own lives. We had a chance to do just that as we responded in different ways after Chris spoke in our All-In service.
“And now,” God says,
this God who took me in hand
from the moment of birth to be his servant,
To bring Jacob back home to him,
to set a reunion for Israel -
What an honour for me in God's eyes!
That God should be my strength!
He says, “But that's not a big enough job for my servant -
just to recover the tribes of Jacob,
merely to round up the strays of Israel.
I'm setting you up as a light for the nations
so that my salvation becomes global!” - The Message version
Two lights: Can you see the difference?
Some lights are brighter than others, but we all shine together
Questions for the Write zone: how will you respond?