Blogroll: Sussex Parson
I read blogs, as well as write one. The 'blogroll' on this site reproduces some posts from some of the people I enjoy reading. There are currently 8 posts from the blog 'Sussex Parson.'
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From The Rectory
I recently went to an excellent event, which shall remain nameless, where the many children present were told to follow their dreams. There was lots of “you’re all very special and marvellous” and “you can do anything you really want to do. Never give up!” You know the kind of thing.
And there is much in it, of course. I am all for being positive. There is a danger that we crush ambition. Perhaps as Brits we love to chop down a tall poppy. We fear anyone getting above themselves and being too big for their boots. So, yes, think big, kids! Dare to dream! Seek to fulfil all your marvellous potential. But from a Christian perspective we might say at least five quick things.
(1) You are very wonderful and special
You are not just a wet chemical machine or a higher ape. In fact, you are made in the image of God. As such you are so so so loved. You are unique and brilliant and almost infinite in your depths and potential. You are almost like a god. Wow to you, times one million!
(2) But you are also weak and wicked
You are a fallen, broken god. You are so vulnerable and needy. Self-sufficiency is a dangerous illusion. But it is more than that. You don’t just mess up. There is bad as well as good in you. Some of your motives are crooked and… You have done and said and thought things you shouldn’t have done and failed to do things you should have done. And sometimes quite deliberately and knowingly. You are both more loved than you could dream but also more wicked than you really know or care to admit.
(3) You should raise your sights and aim high
Yes, dream! C. S. Lewis once said that our problem is that we settle. Our dreams are not too big but too small. We are like kids making mud pies in a slum. We have not imagined what the beach might be like!
(4) But you should not stop at aiming for fame and fortune – you should look even Higher!
Follow your dreams, but not just selfishly. Could you actually do good for others and for the world as well as doing what you really want to do? Sometimes you should do things you don’t want to do.
And your ultimate aim should be the glory of God. Your goal, your hope, is God Himself and his New Creation. Inventing a cure for cancer or the longer lasting lightbulb, by itself, would be too small a thing! You need a really big picture. The biggest. God. You are to know and love him. Don’t settle for anything less than the eternal and infinite. That is what you really really want and that for which you were made. Anything else will disappoint.
(5) And ultimately all this will be sheer gift, not just hard graft
It is not, “try really really hard and you can do whatever you want”. Some of your dreams will fail.
But you can know God and be known by him. You can serve his kingdom and purposes and make a wonderful difference of eternal significance. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. But aim for anything less and you ultimately lose it all.
And all this is not because you’re so fab on your own. God made you. If you are a believer, he saved you in Christ. He empowers you. He will get you to glory. It is all gift – all the way down. So, receive his love and mercy. It is from that position of grace (“You are my child whom I love”, God says to you) that you are to take on the world. And in Jesus you can be sure of victory. Enjoy the adventure!
The Revd Marc LloydMarc Lloyd
2 Peter 1:19
Philippians 2:15 Marc Lloyd
Jesus as Israel: Matthew Through New Eyes (Athanasius Press, 2017) p70
Don't you think the wonderful literary artistry of the Bible proves it must have been written by God, by the way? People literally could not have made it up.Marc Lloyd
Joseph of Nazareth is parallel to the Joseph in the book of Genesis: Both are righteous men who dream (1:20), both go to Egypt with their family (2:14), and both return (2:21).
Jesus as Israel: Matthew Through New Eyes (Athanasius Press, 2017), p69Marc Lloyd
The name Mary is used 12x in the gospels but only once (13:55) between chapters 2 and 27
The gift of a rich man's tomb recalls the gifts of the Magi
Herod's efforts to eliminate Jesus as a rival king // Pilate
The death of the innocents and of Jesus
The beatitudes and the woes of ch. 23
(Annoyingly, I have owned the book for less than a day and page has just fallen out!)
The Magi: From Heretics to Heroes (a sermon title I saw somewhere)
The Magi from the East might seem rather unlike us, but we too were born East of Eden, in the realm of sin
Jesus in his coming and going from the world was attended by great men bringing valuable gifts of spices
It is clear that Jesus had come for all the world since he was born in an inn, a place for travellers from whatever place, when the whole world had come to be taxed and the star of his birth was clear to all. (After Lancelot Andrews)
3 manifest stars: (1) The star in heaven (2) the star of faith in the Magi's hearts (3) Christ, the bright morning star himself. Will you make it a 4 star Epiphany?!
The Magi - as the star had risen in heavens, so the morning star had risen in their hearts
The Wisdom of God is found by the wise men.
The star leads us to The Bright Morning Star
A star high in the heavens signifies a lowly baby in a manger
Contrast the Shepherds and the Wise Men
The revelation to the former was somewhat private, the revelation to the latter public.
Lowly / High born
Local / Distant
Stars are signs. Open the signature who can. (Lancelot Andrews)
Natural revelation is helpful but insufficient. The heavens bring them some of the way, but they need the Bible. The star is gone, the Scriptures remain.
They have the light of the star in their eyes but they also need the word of God in their ears and the Spirit of life in their hearts.
Seeking Jesus is not enough.
It is possible to seek him for the wrong reasons, as Herod did.
Knowing about his coming, as the Scribes did, is not sufficient.
We must seek him in order to worship him.
And we must actually worship him.
The other Herod at his death will seek him and give him a mocking worship.
The whole world and the Scriptures and all our journeying and seeking are to this end: that we might worship Christ
What a great and necessary thing it is to come and worship, which was so hard for them and so easy for us
We are to worship him with soul and body (head, knee, feet, hands etc.) and goods. After all, he made us and gave us our goods.
Much of the above inspired by / stolen from:
Lee on the Lectionary and also videos from other years: https://vimeo.com/308897977/02327ab44c?fbclid=IwAR2hgsoB96gyUFj397lN4e_n8mOOCVioiCS1TbFF9ExEYe9fxwbgU54_kfwMarc Lloyd
Their origin / nationality
Their occupation / status / roles / learning / skill / rich / kingly etc.
Their occasion - it's nature and location
(After http://anglicanhistory.org/lact/andrewes/v1/sermon14.html)Marc Lloyd
Lancelot Andrewes Works, Sermons, Volume One, SERMONS OF THE NATIVITY PREACHED UPON CHRISTMAS-DAY, 1620. Preached before King James, at Whitehall, on Monday, the Twenty-fifth of December, A.D. MDCXX. http://anglicanhistory.org/lact/andrewes/v1/sermon14.html