Archive for December, 2020

NOW 12th January Bible study – Tuesday 5th January – Epiphany

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Read Matthew 2:1-12

This is very much a story of two kings not three. Jesus was tellingly born in Bethlehem- the hometown of David. David had been dead for 950 years, but he was still celebrated as the best King the Jews had ever had. Herod had no royal pedigree. His father was an Edomite whose ancestors had converted to Judaism. Herod gained the throne by successfully gathering taxes for Rome and thus he was made a vassal king. He was ruthless in his pursuit of power. He banished his first wife and son to make a more politically beneficial alliance. Herod executed a large number of his own family including his wife for treason. He upset both the Sadducees and Pharisees for bringing in priests from Babylonia and Alexandria and erecting a huge gold eagle over the entrance (a symbol of Rome).

It says that ‘Herod was disturbed and all Jerusalem with him (verse3)’

  1. Why do think Herod was disturbed? Read Micah 5:2-6
  2. Why do you the city was disturbed?
  3. Are the Magi wise in how they go about looking for the child?
  4. What do you think about Herod’s methods?

Who are the Magi? We don’t know their number and we certainly don’t know their names. They are wealthy (looking at the gifts) but probably not kings. That understanding comes from a prophecy in Isaiah 60:3. They are scholarly, mystical astrologers originally from Persia where they had almost a priestly role. In Matthew they are the first to see the significance of Jesus’ birth after Joseph. We don’t know what Mary thinks or knows in Matthew’s gospel.

  1. Why are human beings fascinated by stars?

There are lots of theories about the star. It was probably not a huge shining blob otherwise everyone would have recognised it. It was common-place to associate the brightening of a star with a new ruler’s birth. Strange heavenly phenomena were linked to the births Augustus, Tiberius and Nero. We may no longer think in such terms, but the inclusion of the star prevents the story of Epiphany being a parochial one- it has cosmic proportions.

  1. The star is for a child who is a very different sort of king from Herod. The magi do not prostrate themselves in the palace but they do in this ordinary home. In what ways is Jesus different?

Read Isaiah 60:6, Psalm 45: 6-8, Song of Songs 3:6-7.

  1. In light of the passages above what do the gifts convey to us? Again, they seem both incongruous and yet ‘not enough’.

After seeing Jesus, they have a revelation from God and do not go home via Herod. A true piece of divine wisdom and they obey without question. However, Herod is angry and begins an infanticide. The holy family is forced to flee to Egypt. Their blundering and misunderstanding of power cause great harm.

  1. Can you think of other times in history when misunderstanding of local power structures causes harm or when perceived wisdom is nothing of the sort?
  2. What does it add to the story of Jesus and our understanding of Jesus that he was once a refugee?

Wednesday Worship 30th December

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

Led by Mr Darryl Lomas

Reading Ecclesiastes 3

Starting with the poem ‘Christmas’ by John Betjeman, a custom Darryl has continued over a number of years.

Theme of the service -= It didnt quite work out!

He pointed out the importance of his diary this year in which he had planned for many events in 2020 only to discover that Covid19 had conspired to cancel each and everyone.

The events required planning and provided something to look forward to and who expected to have to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Ecclesiastes 3 reveals the time for everything. The author of Ecclesiastes reflects on how short and contradictory are our lives.

Darryl concluded by suggesting we need to work hard and enjoy the results. 2020 showed us we were less control than we can imagine. Though we can plan our lives in the diary we actually control nothing.

Remember we are here by God’s grace and it may be later than we think. Ecc 3:15 tells us it is God who makes things happen.

27th December Sunday afternoon worship

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Christmas Day Service

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels against the backdrop of tea lights in decorated jam jars.

Christmas Eve worship

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Sunday 20th December

Sunday, December 27th, 2020

We were kindly invited to join the congregation of Hillsborough Tabernacle Church, Sheffield for a joint service led by Rev Suzanne Nockels.

Part of the service involved the congregation taking part in a socially distanced play of the annunciation.

Wednesday worship – 16th December

Sunday, December 20th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

‘Night of Light’ event 13th – 15th December

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

The church garden was illuminated with tea lights in decorated jars from 6.30pm x 8pm. At least 40 people took the opportunity to come along on one of the three evenings whilst many more hung something on the wooden Christmas tree to remember something or someone special. There was also a Nativity window trail where members of the congregation decorated their windows with one aspect of the nativity leading back to the manger scene on the front doors of church. Normally we would have offered warm refreshments but due to Covid this was not possible.

Church Anniversary – 13th December 2020 led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Thursday, December 10th, 2020

Led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Wednesday Worship – 9th December led by Rev Suzanne Nockels

Thursday, December 10th, 2020