Daily Archives: December 26, 2017

Alister McGrath on the Incarnation: He alone is the mediator

This mediator must represent God to humankind, and humankind to God. He must have points of contact with both God and humanity, and yet be distinguishable from them both”¦.the central Christian idea of the incarnation, which expresses the belief that Jesus is both God and man, divine and human, portrays Jesus as the perfect mediator between God and human beings. He, and he alone, is able to redeem us and reconcile us to God.

“I Believe”: Exploring the Apostles’ Creed ( Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998), p.48

Posted in Christmas, Christology

The Gloucester Cathedral Choir sings In the Bleak Midwinter

Listen to it all.

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

The Archbishop of York’s 2017 Christmas Message in the Yorkshire Post–‘Christmas should re-awaken the rebel in us. It’s an invitation to start again’

Every Christmas is a renewal of God’s invitation to turn away from pessimism and despair and embrace the Christian virtue of hope. God has not given up on us. The inner conviction that things could be better can be revived and nurtured. It has tremendous potential for good. Or, alas, for evil.

Among the European volunteers for Daesh (ISIS), were hundreds from the UK, all of them young. Obsessed by an ideal, they were and are willing to sacrifice everything to make it happen. Youthful enthusiasm was also the driving force in 1930’s Germany, when millions of disaffected young people were enticed by the promise that National Socialism would deliver a proud, pure, reinvigorated nation. Newsreel pictures of those days recorded hordes of adulatory teenagers screaming their support for Hitler’s cavalcades. The recently republished book, “Darkness Over Germany” by E. Amy Buller, recounts how that sophisticated nation succumbed to a malevolent force masquerading as righteous. The book’s message is “spiritual bankruptcy finds expression in political upheaval”[1]. It is sub-titled “A Warning from History”.

I don’t think many British people today realise that by casually distancing themselves from their Christian heritage, they have become ripe for a political or religious takeover. Neil McGregor, the former director of the National Gallery and British Museum, has just completed the marathon series of broadcasts on Radio 4, “Living with the gods”. He comments on the state of the UK today, “In a sense, we are a very unusual society. We are trying to do something that no society has really done. We are trying to live without an agreed narrative of our communal place in the cosmos and in time.”

Gordon Brown, in his reflections on his time in office as Chancellor and then Prime Minister, writes “… some argue that we should banish religious arguments from the public square altogether… without such a national conversation it is difficult… to find a solid basis for national unity”.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Christmas, England / UK, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Theology

Happy Boxing Day to All Blog Readers!

Posted in Canada, Christmas, England / UK

Kendall Harmon’s Christmas 2017 Sermon–Will We Grasp the Real meaning of Christmas (Luke 2:1-20)?

You can listen directly here and download the mp3 there. “Christmas is a subversive story in a subversive book written by a subversive God.”

Posted in * South Carolina, Christmas, Christology, Preaching / Homiletics, Sermons & Teachings, Theology: Scripture

TS Eliot for Christmas–A moment in time and of time

Then came, at a predetermined moment, a moment in time
and of time,
A moment not out of time, but in time, in what we call history:
transecting, bisecting the world of time,
a moment in time but not like a moment of time,
A moment in time but time was made through that moment:
for without the meaning there is no time,
and that moment of time gave the meaning.

—T.S. Eliot, Choruses from “The Rock”, VII, as found for example there (page 107).

Posted in Christmas, Poetry & Literature

Pope Francis’ ‘Urbi et Orbi’ Message for 2017

The first people to see the humble glory of the Savior, after Mary and Joseph, were the shepherds of Bethlehem. They recognized the sign proclaimed to them by the angels and adored the Child. Those humble and watchful men are an example for believers of every age who, before the mystery of Jesus, are not scandalized by his poverty. Rather, like Mary, they trust in God’s word and contemplate his glory with simple eyes. Before the mystery of the Word made flesh, Christians in every place confess with the words of the Evangelist John: “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14).

Today, as the winds of war are blowing in our world and an outdated model of development continues to produce human, societal and environmental decline, Christmas invites us to focus on the sign of the Child and to recognize him in the faces of little children, especially those for whom, like Jesus, “there is no place in the inn” (Lk 2:7).

We see Jesus in the children of the Middle East who continue to suffer because of growing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. On this festive day, let us ask the Lord for peace for Jerusalem and for all the Holy Land. Let us pray that the will to resume dialogue may prevail between the parties and that a negotiated solution can finally be reached, one that would allow the peaceful coexistence of two States within mutually agreed and internationally recognized borders. May the Lord also sustain the efforts of all those in the international community inspired by good will to help that afflicted land to find, despite grave obstacles the harmony, justice, and security that it has long awaited.

Read it all.

Posted in Christmas, Pope Francis, Roman Catholic

The Christ-child

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast,
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world’s desire.)

The Christ-child stood at Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown.
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.

–G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

Posted in Christmas, Poetry & Literature

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Stephen

We give thee thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to thy Son Jesus Christ, who standeth at thy right hand: where he liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer for Christmas

O God, who before all others didst call shepherds to the cradle of thy Son: Grant that by the preaching of the gospel the poor, the humble, and the forgotten, may know that they are at home with thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–Church of South India

Posted in Christmas, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts; so I am helped, and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

–Psalm 28:7

Posted in Theology: Scripture