‘God’s story: you’re in it!’ – Sunday service, 6th December
SUNDAY 6th December
WORSHIP @ HILTON PARISH CHURCH
The service which took place in the Church this Sunday, the second Sunday in Advent was also be livestreamed on the Church Facebook page – follow link below or see here.
The Bible readings for Sunday were:
John writes: Don’t miss Duncan’s sermon this morning in which he spoke about today’s Advent Bible passages, with particular reference to Mark 1:1-8.
Part of God’s story
I liked his story about the theological students who were invited to sum up the Gospel in just five words. Lots of theological words were suggested – including grace, love, forgiveness, justification – but one student came up with this ‘God’s story: you’re in it.’ Not the whole story of the gospel, Duncan admitted, but a wonderful place to start.
Each of us, no matter our feelings or beliefs are part of God’s story. And it’s a story full of love and forgiveness and freedom. There is a purpose, there is meaning, there is hope, there is courage to endure hard times.
So how do I react? In anger, and denial? Or in joyful acceptance of God’s love for me, and of the challenge God sets me to live wisely and compassionately, working with God to improvise my storyline.
Hope in the Wilderness
And I loved Duncan’s reference to John the Baptist in Mark 1:1-8 bringing good news to the wilderness. The wilderness – a place of desolation, far, as Duncan reminded us, from the Temple in Jerusalem. Is the ‘wilderness’ a symbol of our experiences of fear and uncertainty this year, of our isolation from church gatherings, and of the desolation which some of us are perhaps feeling even today?
Into the wilderness – good news came from the lips of John. God had not abandoned the people – the promised Messiah was coming. ‘Get ready!’ John urged his listeners. And so, as they were baptized as a sign of their repentance, they readied themselves to meet the One who was coming. The wilderness became a place of hope!
In whatever wilderness we find ourselves today, there is hope. God has not deserted us. We are part of God’s story. God’s love reaches out to us, with the tenderness of a shepherd:
He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arm, and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11.