February 2018

Sunday 4th February: 2nd Sunday before Lent  John 1: 1-14

In this well-known reading about the Word and Light, both refer to the coming of Jesus.  Through Jesus, his life on earth, his death and his rising again, we have become God’s children – not because we deserve it, or because we have earned it – but because God so loves us that that is what he wants us to be. It is his wonderful gift, and one which we can be certain of and give thanks for all our life.  

How do you feel you can best say thank you to the loving and generous God who has given us so much?  Can we pass this on to others by being generous ourselves?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Sunday 11th February: Sunday before Lent  Mark 9: 2-9

This must have been really frightening for the three disciples – to be taken away from the others, up a mountain, and there to experience something so big, so new, so mind-shattering it must have left them speechless, wondering what was to happen next.  And they then heard God say that Jesus – their Jesus – was his son and they should listen to him.  As they were taking all this in and wondering what it meant, suddenly things seemed to return to normal, or as normal as life could be after what had happened.

God still speaks to us in this way – perhaps when we are least expecting it;  he wants our complete attention – he wants to show us just how important we are to him – to make an impact on our life and to make us stop and just listen. Are we ready to do so when the time comes?  But more importantly, are we then ready to return to our normal everyday lives and let Jesus be an important part of it?                                                                                                                                                                

After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. ……….


Sunday 18th February: Lent 1   Mark 1: 9-15

Jesus was God’s son – but he was human, and, like us, he was tempted, being offered easy options for letting people know the good news from God.  That news was that their sins would be forgiven, and they could remain in God’s love and with his help live our lives as he wants us to.

We are often tempted to do things which, deep down, we know aren’t right.  Phrases such as ‘Everyone does it’- or ‘No-one will notice’ – or ‘Just this once ……’ come into our minds – it’s so easy to justify what we really want to do or say.  But God is there rooting for us, wanting us to choose the right way to go – and he will help us do so.  Are you facing challenges or temptations at the moment?  Take them to God – ask him to help you deal with them, and he will. 

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”


Sunday 25th February: Lent 2:  Mark 8: 31-38

Jesus tried to explain to his disciples what was going to happen to him, but it sounded so far-fetched that they couldn’t understand or accept what he was saying.  Later, after he had been crucified and rose again from death to be with them, they would remember these words and realise what he was trying to tell them. 

To follow Jesus, we need to ‘take up our cross’ – take the problems, successes and failures of our daily lives and deal with them – with God’s help.  Being a Christian doesn’t mean no problems – far from it.  But we do have someone with us – Jesus – who has promised to share everything we face and help us see our way forward.

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

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