• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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John-SentamuThe people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2 ESV)

Dr. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York:

Up to the time that God took upon himself our human nature and was born of Mary, and entered into, and anointed, flesh and blood – “He was born of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary” – the world had lacked a human being perfect in holiness, distinguished in wisdom which inherent righteousness can bring to humanity. A child pre-eminent in love, compassion and forgiveness revealing the fatherhood of God. Humanity did not need a new religion; it needed a Divine presence in human flesh. …

God, in Jesus Christ came to save – not to judge. He lived in our unloving world, exiled from its Creator, for as long as we allowed him to. In the end, it wasn’t that Jesus rejected us because of all our failings, faults and a refusal to change, but that we rejected him. …

At the birth of Jesus Christ the world began to live a new life. Religious beliefs were translated out of words into humanity, life and spirit, out of the intellect into the simple impulses of the soul: “A child has been born for us, a Son given to us.”

And this Son’s character is “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6b). Yes! His rule is characterized by everlasting justice and righteousness …

As followers of the Prince of Peace we are to be peace-makers rather than peace-lovers, and this is a challenging calling, but it is what we must be if we are to be true followers of Jesus Christ.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined … for a child has been born for us, a son given to us…” (Isaiah 9:2, 6).

The details of the new-born child in the manger and the visit of the shepherds emphasize the simple human aspects of Jesus, while the angelic song shows us the divine purpose to be achieved through him.

God works through human agents to achieve his purposes. So let us feed those who hunger with the Bread come down from heaven. Let us give shelter to the homeless with him who could find no room in the inn. Let us welcome him into the inn of our lives, so we might be fully alive, fully human again.  Amen. (Excerpts from Christmas Sermon, 2012)

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