At our All-Age service at Abinger this Sunday, Lucy reminded us of 3 stories of Epiphany - the Wise Men searching for a new king, the baptism of Jesus and the miracle of changing of water into wine.
Matthew 2:1-12. In Matthew's gospel, we read of the Magi who were searching for the King of the Jews who had been prophesied. But the child they were guided to, was not in a sumptuous palace but in a very humble home, his mother a young girl from an insignificant village called Nazareth, his father a carpenter. These travelling seers' idea of a royal child must have been turned upside down by the discovery of King Jesus - I wonder how their lives were changed after this revelation of who the promised Messiah-King was? How would he save his people as the prophets had foretold?
Matthew 3: 13-17. Baptism was originally a Jewish ritual of purification, a 'change of status', symbolised by immersion in water. Jesus' cousin, John, used baptism to call people to repentance in preparation for the imminent coming of the Messiah. At his baptism by John, Jesus was named by a voice from heaven as 'My own dear son' - that very Messiah who had been promised by God.
John 2:1-11. The story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee is another story of transformation. Jesus' first recorded miracle shows us that he cares about the situations of everyday life, that he can change the ordinary into something extraordinary.
These three episodes illustrate unexpected transformations: the expectation of who the King of the Jews would be; the coming of the Saviour - God taking on human flesh; the transforming power that Jesus has over his creation - and that includes us!
The collect for Sunday 16th January
Almighty God, in Christ you make all things new:
transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of your grace,
and in the renewal of our lives make known your heavenly glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. AMEN
Hilary Swift, 17th January 2022
St. James' Church is now open daily. Please do come in and enjoy our beautiful church when you are passing. Look at the Diary here for schedule of services.
You can see here some that would have been heard at Saint James' and other Benefice churches, including all the weekly thoughts that you see here. Also, you can see from Coldharbour here.
Tony Berry, the Rector since 1993, retired at the end of September 2021. See the page for information and updates on appointing his replacement.
Press Ctrl+F5 to refresh this page so you see the latest. See Site Map for all the information available on this site (parish registers, history, pictures, music etc.). Click on the address header to see a random page.
As you will gather as you browse over these pages, we are a church with a long history and, as a community, Abinger goes back even further. Even if we take the Domesday Book as a start point, we have been a Christian worshipping community for a very long time. So, we are very proud of our church building. It has had a very chequered history, not least in the 20th Century. But now we are doing our best to meet the challenges of the 21st both for our building and church community.
Worship, praise, prayer and the reading of God's word are all part of our regular Sunday services, and if you are ever passing and would like to join us, we'd love to see you and make you feel welcome. But we don't believe that our church building any more than our faith, is just for Sundays. We are always looking for ways which enable the building to be a community resource during the week. We use the church for a Café morning on Wednesdays in term time from 8.30am until 10.00am. We also believe in developing our understanding of the Christian faith, so we meet in small groups to study what practical things the Bible has to say about living out the Christian faith in today's world.
Again, if you would like to join us you are more than welcome; you should be able to find the dates somewhere on the website, failing that then do by all means get in touch. Thank you for visiting the website; I hope you find it helpful, informative and enjoyable, and we look forward to giving you more than a virtual welcome when you visit us for real!
Tony Berry, Rector
Tony Berry retired at the end of September 2021. See the page for information and updates on appointing his replacement.
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