Intervention Initiated (7 Lessons and Carols Reflections)

nativity_he-qi

Reflection: We’ve Shut the Door
Did you hear that?! Who shut the door on us – between us and God? Was it God? Was it Eve (as so many are quick to say), or even Adam? No! It was us – each of us and all of us. Finding it easier to believe in our own intelligence, capabilities and efforts to get us what we we’re looking for – rather than trusting God (after all He might not want us to have what we want – and His plans can be a bit inscrutable or tricky at times). So every time we rebel at whatever He is calling us to be and do, every time we – er – sin, we affirm that the guards He’d had on the door had every right to be there.
And yet our relationships are disrupted, nations are disrupted, the environment is disrupted, lives are a mess, and humanity is frankly in a very bad way, because of that shut door and our conspiracy that keeps it shut, well – apparently shut.
But this is where the story of Christmas starts for us – at a closed and guarded door – and all our dysfunctional attempts to open it lying in the dust around it’s frame.
Reflection: Catching Us By Surprise
The whole of this story of God’s plan of liberation for all creatures is full of surprises; not the least of which is where these events will unfold. A small hick town with royal connections, at the edge of the hill country – people who grew up there can trace their ancestors back to King David – but no-one really cares. This is after all, little Bethlehem – why would you live there when you can live in Jerusalem only a day’s walk away?
But the surprises keep coming – the Messiah will arrive on planet Earth as a baby, born to an artisan family of no great note. AND the birth is to take place in a stable with the smells and dust of farm animals as His fragrant palace.
And his first earthly heralds? Well, more of them later. At least he was out of the baleful sight of evil rulers…
Reflection: Not Just a Baby in a Stable
So here he is…the Messiah…the Prince of Peace…a baby, born in all the noise, and bustle, and mess as all the rest of us. According to the carol “no crying He makes” – well, really? We do believe he is fully human, (along with His total divinity) so perhaps there was a fair amount of infant protest going on from time to time. But this is God-with-us, wrapped snugly in soft cotton, dozing contentedly in a manger, a feed box stuffed with hay.
In this stable, in a manger, lies the one who will save his people from their sins and sweep aside all our pathetic, religious enterprises, and open the door between God and women and men forever. This is the child that the angels herald as the Saviour, the Messiah (great deliverer), the Lord, the one who will bring a new era of peace among humankind. Not just a baby upon whom we can focus our gooey, emotional, devotion – but the very Son of God who to know and follow is to have our lives forever turned upside down (or perhaps right-side up).
Reflection: Good News Indeed
200 years ago, a missionary preacher told a cluster of Tangata Whenua and would-be immigrants (with my ancestors in attendance) that he brought a message that was Te Harinui, news of great joy. God has reached out to humanity with astonishing grace, unbounded love and an open invitation to a relationship of eternal dimension, with Cosmic consequences. This little infant, God-with-us, had issued in a new era for this new country, as he had for the whole world at the pivot of history. Not just in His birth but his act of astonishing, sacrificial grace that disarmed the power of sin over the whole Cosmos, but especially over humankind. No longer was sin to rule and determine the shape of present lives, nor of our future destiny. Our purpose in the Creator’s great love and mercy was to take this effective grace and spread it’s consequences wherever this God-with-us sent and took us.
All the striving and struggling of humanity (you and me) with each other and with God has been overcome, a new order has founded where love and trust underlie all our dealings, where God affirms that we are precious in His sight, loved and yearned for as his fellow workers from now and until his Son’s return in glorious power to establish forever the Kingdom of God.

Order of Service

Call to worship and bidding prayer]

Good Christians All Rejoice
Genesis 3.8-15 [Jonathan Lawry]
Reflection: We’ve Shut the Door
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
Micah 5.2-5a [Jonathan Lawry]
Reflection: Catching Us By Surprise
Once in Royal David’s City
Isaiah 64.1-12 (NLT) [Leanne Pascoe]
Offering: [Kings College Choir: O Holy Night]
Prayer of dedication
Luke 1.26-38 (The Message) [Lorna Donald]
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Luke 1.46-56 (The Message) [Bernadette Bristow]
Reflection: Not Just a Baby in a Stable
Silent Reflection
Silent Night , Holy Night- CHOIR
Luke 2.1-7 [Jono Widjaja]
Silence
Angels We Have Heard upon High – CHOIR
Luke 2.8-20 [Rosalie Horne]
Reflection: Good News Indeed
Prayer of commitment
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Charge and Blessing

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