Wednesday 21 December
How stories fire the imagination. Old classics be they fairy tales or myths from legend. Expressions of humanity that underline significant desires to recognise the good, the potential and positives of life and our desire for them to be ‘right’.
A fine story sets the scene, sets down markers for us to equate ourselves alongside. Place, people and character information give us a sense of the narrative and make the whole tale personal to us.
When you look at Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth all these elements are laid out for us. The incarnation needs a place, a cast of characters and some background.
We all know the traditional birth narrative. It is close to our hearts in its simplicity, but its familiarity may hide the stark and most important facts.
Looking with new eyes – within eternity God chose to place Jesus in a small town in Israel at a particular point in that country’s history. He was born to a specific mother in an unconventional family for the time. This birth was not heralded in a royal court, but in some dark, similarly insignificant countryside.
If there, if then, if……then why not to me, here in my unworthy circumstance.
That is the amazing point of the incarnation, it speaks of new possibilities.
As I read or hear the Christmas story anew, may I see, my I know the desire of God to be a part of my existence and the lives of those among whom I move. God of entity you are ultimately the God of an infinite number of moments in time when you break into the human state. In Jesus, in me and in my neighbour. Grant me grace to live as part of your story. Amen
Posted in Advent, Advent thoughts, Bible text, Christmas, Observation, Reflection
Tagged advent, baby, birth, christmas, classic, God, hpc, huddersfield parish church, incarnation, Jesus, mary, matthew, new eyes, new ways, Peter’s, right, Simplicity, speaking, St, story
Thursday 17 March
An excerpt from one of our Lent books, Holy Sweat, by Tim Hansel:
“One term, the lecturer set the preaching class up in a different way. He scheduled his students to preach on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and on the day of class, he choreographed his experiment so that each student would go, one a time, from one classroom to another where he or she would preach a sermon. The professor gave some students ten minutes to go from one room to the other; to others he allowed less time, forcing them to rush in order to meet the schedule. Each student, one at a time, had to walk down a certain corridor and pass by a bum [a social drop out], who was deliberately planted there, obviously in need of some sort of aid. The results showed that very few stopped to help. But also that those on the tightest schedule were least likely to stop … Rushing to preach a sermon on the Good Samaritan they had walked past the beggar at the heart of the parable.”
There are two lessons in this: putting into practice what we believe, and finding time in our lives to respond to the needs of others. Lent is a very good time to slow down and do less so that we can do more.
Posted in Lent, Reflection, Stories
Tagged busy, holy sweat, ignore, live, love, preaching, quote, samaritan, story, tim hansel
Sunday 13 March
Where are you in the story? Not just any story mind! The story that contains, and is marbled with, accounts of God’s touch and presence.
Tom Butler, former Bishop of Southwark, began our Lenten lecture by placing us in Christian salvation history. We are coloured by scripture but not encased in scriptural aspic, because we are part of the very essence that makes the story alive then and in the present.
Where are you in the story?
Tuesday 8 March
Come and Follow Jesus: a story about followers – see yesterday!