Isaiah 11: 1-2 “A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.”
During this busy time of year, we often lack a spirit of peace. We are often stressed about getting everything done: the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, the visiting, etc… The first Christmas was not a peaceful time either. Under Roman rule, the people of Israel were looking for a Saviour. Little did they know that one night in a small town, God would come to the world and be born Jesus, the Prince of Peace. With the spirit of the Lord resting upon him, Jesus would change the world in unexpected and surprising ways, ushering in a new kingdom of peace and love.
Isaiah 9: 6 “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Yes, it is that time of the year again! Christmas is coming! We see the signs all around us in the stores and the lights and decorations. We are tempted by flyers with the best sales of the year. We are looking forward to special holiday foods. Sometimes, the Christmas season can get so busy and overwhelming.
This year, Knox Church is going back to basics to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Each week, we will hear a part of the Christmas story, sing carols, and remember why we celebrate. We will also see images from Rev. Tobey’s recent trip to the Holy Land of the places that we read about in the Nativity story from the Bible. On the first Sunday of Advent, we will consider Mary and Elizabeth and their very important role in ‘The First Noel’.
Luke 10: 37 “Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”
When Jesus was being tested by a lawyer, he told one of the most famous stories in the Bible: The Good Samaritan. A man was robbed, beaten, and left by the side of the road. Some people who should have helped, just passed on by. Then a Samaritan, who was a hated outsider, stopped and cared for the injured man. Jesus asked the lawyer ‘Who was a neighbour? He said ‘The one who showed him mercy.”. To which Jesus said, ‘Go and do likewise.’
What does it mean to show mercy? Mercy is showing compassion when you don’t have to. Mercy is forgiveness even when it’s hard. Mercy is being kind just because it is the right thing to do. Mercy is caring for those in need even if it’s inconvenient. For Christians, showing mercy is an essential part of loving God and loving our neighbours as ourselves. From Jesus, we learn that it may be in unexpected people and surprising situations that mercy is shown, and with his example, we can go and do likewise.
1 Chronicles 29: 11 “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in heaven and in earth is thine.”
As we come to the end of our series on “The Lord’s Prayer: the power and meaning of the prayer Jesus taught” by Adam Hamilton, we turn to the final line. ‘For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever, Amen. Even though the line was probably not part of the original words of Jesus, it is an appropriate end to the prayer. It is a doxology, which is a fancy word for an expression of praise to God. Christians believe God is worthy to be praised for all that God has done and all that God will do. The kingdom, the power, and the glory of God is to be celebrated, so we sing, worship, and pray in response.
The Lord’s Prayer is an important part of Christian worship. It teaches about the nature of God and is a call to live out our faith. It strengthens our relationship with the divine and turns our eyes to the needs of the world. Adam Hamilton says “May these powerful words daily shape our hearts and lives, and through us the world in which we live. Forever. Amen”.