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Parish News

Introduction to Scripture Readings

Fri 15 Dec 2017

  • Third Sunday of Advent

  • Sunday 17 December 2017

  • In faith and hope we wait in this time of Advent.

  • Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11 

    Isaiah’s words form the text of the first sermon Jesus preached to his own family, relatives and neighbours in his home town Nazareth.  They were so incensed by his allusions to the prophecy that they ran him out of town, to the brow of the hill. As Jesus replaced the Scroll of Isaiah’s prophecy in its niche he declared himself to be against this exclusive covenant.  He interprets Isaiah’s prophecy as inclusive.  Messiah will be the one who preaches the good news to the poor, proclaims release to captives and sets prisoners free.  No wonder they “thrust him out of their synagogue.”  The Good News of Jesus’ kingdom has nothing to do with exclusive clubs.  

  • Song of Mary   "The Almighty has done great things for us."    

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28  

    In this passage we have one of the very earliest hints of the evolving Order of the Church. Written about twenty years after the Resurrection-Ascension Paul tells his readers/hearers to respect those who are “set over you in the Lord”.  Ordination conveys heavy responsibility.  Christ’s ministers have an awesome responsibility to care for souls.  In today’s Church we want clergy to be administrators, pastors, teachers, theologians, liturgists, organizers.  We want them to be good PR people, ‘run’ groups, visit the parish, visit the sick, celebrate the Occasional Offices, be intercessors and even, in some places to mow the lawns, sweep out the parish hall and be police at teenage social occasions! In our lists of what we ask from our priests, we don’t often ask for holy ones – let’s hope this is simply implied. But we also need to remember that this passage has implications for us all as Christian ministers of God’s love in the places where we live, work, learn and have influence. 

  • John 1:6-8,19-28 

    John strides out of the wilderness of Judaea, from somewhere near to Qumran on the Dead Sea, to begin his ministry.  It has been four hundred years since a prophet had spoken. The hierarchy of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites down to the Dead Sea to ask John, “Who are you”.  This is the record of John.  “I am not the Messiah”.  Who are you? Elijah? No. The Prophet? No.  “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord.” Jesus’ opinion of John was, “Of all born of women there has never arisen one greater than John”.  All this happened at Bethany “beyond the Jordan”.  Not Bethany on the Mount of Olives, but in what is the present day Hashemite kingdom of Jordan.  Recent archaeology has discovered this site and ‘digging’ is carried on ‘even as we speak’. 

Bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, proclaim the year of the Lord's favour, the day of vengeance of our God.  Isaiah 61:1-2 

Next week.....


2 Samuel 7:1-11,16    Psalm 89:1-4,19-27    Romans 16:25-27    Luke 1:26-38