January 30, 2022

My eyes have seen

Ben Green | Luke 2.22-40 

There was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God.

To anyone else, Joseph and Mary would have looked like just another couple with a newborn baby observing the law of Moses. But Simeon, responding as he did to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, welcomed Jesus literally with open arms, thanking God for the salvation he had come to bring. Ben challenges us to be a people who will similarly walk in step with God.

A longer edited video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

January 23, 2022

Blessed be

John Lanchbury | Luke 1:57-80 

They made signs to [Zechariah], to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone's astonishment he wrote, 'His name is John.' Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbours were filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, 'What then is this child going to be?' For the Lord’s hand was with him.

When Zechariah, something like a year earlier, was told by the angel Gabriel that his aged wife would have a son, he was literally dumbstruck. Now, with the promise fulfilled in his own sight, he obeys the angel's instruction: the child's name is John. Immediately his tongue is freed, and he proclaims the greatness of God in a prophecy which our own John explains.

A longer edited video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

January 16, 2022

Magnificent

Graham Romp | Luke 1:39-56 

Mary said:

'My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour...
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me -
holy is his name...
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.'

When Mary, pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit, meets Elizabeth, also pregnant through God's intervention, she bursts out into a song of praise. Graham explains why the meeting was so significant, and explores the challenging and radical message of Mary's song.

A longer edited video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

January 9, 2022

The Lord’s servant

Dan Parnell | Luke 1:26-38 

The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end."

Out of the blue, it seems, this teenage girl living in an obscure town is given a responsibility and a challenge that she could never have imagined. How does she respond? Dan explains what Mary was facing, and encourages us to trust God's call just as she did.

This is the image from Worcester Cathedral that Dan refers to in his talk:

Wood carving from Worcester Cathedral depicting the Annunciation

A longer edited video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

January 2, 2022

Be prepared

Chris Turner | Luke 1:5-25 

An angel of the Lord appeared to [Zechariah], standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.'

For hundreds of years it seemed that heaven had been silent. Temple worship continued, but maybe few - Zechariah among them - thought it really mattered. Suddenly, God broke in, and Zechariah was literally dumbstruck. His elderly wife, who had lost hope of bearing a child, would conceive, and through the child, hope would come to the whole nation.

Chris begins our new series Light and glory focusing on the angelic messages announcing Jesus' birth. Chris encourages us to make time to hear God's voice in our own lives.

A longer edited video recording of the Sunday service can be viewed on YouTube.

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