Category Archives: Insights

Glory

15. Then the whole sky filled with angels who sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth.” The angels left and the shepherds decided to go and see the baby.


Music can lift my spirit and take my whole being somewhere unexpected. What is your favourite piece of music? Does it inspire or well up melancholy into you very being. These angels singing must have been all your top ten rolled into one. Not one but a veritable host singing God’s praise; really professional worship, top draw. The shepherds so moved they left there sheep to view the child.

What will draw you from worship to action today’s?

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Great Expectations 

10. It was a long and difficult journey, especially for Mary whose tummy was getting very big because the baby was nearly ready to be born.

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There is a strange encumbrance, a draw back to being heavily pregnant; how you move, what you can eat it or drink. What a time for Mary to take a long journey? There must have been great expectation, in the simple birth of a first child and this promise of Emmanuel.

Advent can be a time of preparation as we move toward the birth of the Christ-child. We may grow wise in the encumbrances or draw backs in our own spirituality in this ‘long and difficult journey’ we call life.

What burden do we gift to Jesus that he would carry for us?

Loving and Planning 

4. Mary and Joseph loved each other very much and were engaged to be married.

 

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No one is an island in that we live in a sea of relationships. Jesus’ ministry and the Christian faith is still about relationships; with God and our neighbours. Our Advent story places the events of Jesus birth within a relationship. Dig deeply and it seems a strange relationship to modern norms but our story place Mary and Joseph together, loving and planning. What a state of grace to be in – loving and planning!

Where will you loving and planning take you spiritually today and through Advent. Focus on someone or a particular situation for a few moments.

God made…..!

2. God made all things: the sky and the land, the heavens and the earth; and they were good.

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I recall a response that always comes to mind when I hear the phrase: “God is good!” My knee jerk reaction is, “All of the time!” When you look at the creation stories the regular phrase used is, “and God saw that it was good.” Advent is a time when we may look at all that is amiss in the world but recognise that ‘goodness’ is an element of the spirit of God. An Advent theme is repentance but also an acknowledgment that we seek what is good in the world, that even in the tainted and ugly situations we may bring the lovely and good. Jesus found the kernel of his Father’s goodness and grace in the most unlikely of people.

Today look at the most tainted events in the news and look for God’s grace embedded there, pray that goodness may prevail.

In the Beginning.

1. In the beginning there was God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

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The focus of Advent would usually be the coming of Jesus at Christmas and His return. Yet as we retell the Christmas story through the Huddersfield Parish Church Advent calendar the writer of our account begins with the opening from Genesis: “in the beginning”. We are asked then immediately to broadens out our vision straight into the Trinity. We are taken from the beginning of creation and drawn into the fuller Jesus story; our very salvation. So as we wait for the coming we should remember “God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit” is with us on the anticipated journey.
Pray at the start of this Advent journey for God accompanying us through the retelling and our thoughts that develop

But God….

Readings for Easter Sunday

Acts 10.34-43, Colossians 3.1-4; and Matthew 28.1-10

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Saturday 22 April

But God raised him from the dead” I love that phrase: “But God…” It is the antidote to mess we get into in our lives, and the answer to the despair we often feel when we hear the news from around the world: “But God…” And our job as Christians, as witnessed to what God has done in Jesus Christ, is to keep that message alive. To keep alive the rumour of God in  a sceptical world, and to remind people of the possibility of approaching life in a different way. Faith not fear, hope not hate, love not lies, Our communities, our nation, our politics – and our children and grandchildren – all need to hear this message: “But God raised him from the dead” – because Easter changed everything – forever.

 Question: What difference should the message of Easter make to the way you approach the things you will be doing in the year ahead?

 Prayer: Lord, thank you that Jesus broke the power of sin and death by his resurrection from the dead. May the new life of his kingdom come into our world in me and through me today.

 

Encouragement

Readings for Easter Sunday

Acts 10.34-43, Colossians 3.1-4; and Matthew 28.1-10

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Friday 21 April

Cornelius was an outsider, a Gentile, a foreigner. Normally Peter as a faithful Jew would not have entered his home or sat down to eat with him. But now God was challenging him, breaking down his preconceptions and asking him to step outside his comfort zone. Maybe we need to do a little more of that. It is easy to stick with the people we know, the people who look and talk more or less like us. But God has a plan to include all people within his new family, the Church – and he wants you and me to help him do that. Have a think about the people you see in your church. How many outsiders, foreigners, people of different cultures and backgrounds are there – or are they mostly “people like us”?

Question: What could you do – or encourage your Church family to do – to reach out to and draw in new and different people?    What barriers might there be?

 Prayer: Lord, give me the courage to step outside my comfort zone so that your Church may become the diverse community you want us to be.