Good Morning! Welcome to this mornings Carol service.
Worship today is led by Martin Sykes and Rev Christine Fox.
Click below on the red play button to start the video. You can also find the service on YouTube here if it isn’t working on the blog.
God Bless x
If you'd like to connect with Grangewood please contact us.
Rev Christine Fox: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children's and Family worker - Jessica Bullett: Jessicagrangewood@outlook.com
Thank you to all those who have been part of putting together this weeks service.
Reflections and Images - Christine Fox
I wonder what’s the most shocking thing that has happened to you? – Maybe someone hit you out of the blue – or said something dreadful to you, or maybe it was some amazingly good news? Now imagine Mary, confronted with an angel – who tells her something that so obviously instils fear into her that the angel has to say ‘don’t be afraid’.
Very often when God speaks to someone the reaction is terror! Who me?! The angel assures Mary that the Lord is with her, and outlines what is about to happen. By the Holy Spirit she will conceive and give birth to a son who will be called the Son of the Most High! Literally the Lord would not just be with her but within her!
What will Mary say to this? Would the angel’s knowledge of her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy, after years of not being able to conceive persuade her to believe and accept the message? Would Mary make space in her life – in her womb – for the Son of God?
We don’t know how long she pondered but we do know that her self-doubt turned to acceptance as she said ‘I am the Lord’s servant; may your word to me be fulfilled’
God’s ridiculous plan to show the earth his love through coming as a baby looks like it might just work!
I’ve chosen some images from the Methodist art collection
The first picture is called The Dalit Madonna – with Jesus occupying the space Mary made for him – close to her heart. And through Mary’s agreeing to make that space for Jesus, our Lord found the space to show the love of God here on earth – shown in Jyoti’s beautiful painting by the plants and flowers around Mary and the night sky.
One of these coming days over Christmas as you perhaps reluctantly give space to others to keep them safe, you might find a moment to go outside and look at the night sky and ponder the message of the angel for you. Becoming aware of the vastness of space, wonder at God the creator of all things, prepared to come near, whenever anyone responds to the amazing invitation to welcome Jesus within their hearts.
Of course a baby doesn’t stay in the mother’s womb – the Christ-child was born that first Christmas – and once we have welcomed Jesus within, we will find in due course that we can’t help but share him with others!
Our second image is called ‘people visit the stable’.
As soon as Jesus is born, Mary discovers that she has to share him with other people. Luke tells us about local shepherds coming up from the fields and Matthew tells us about Magi who travelled a long way, from different lands to find him. Mary and Joseph must have been amazed that these people knew about Jesus’ birth – but as soon as they heard their stories of angels and a star they would have understood – after all angels had been their messengers too.
Take a look at the people in this picture – we can identify Jesus and possibly his parents together looking over him – but who are these other four? We expect that they must be those characters from a thousand years ago, but God’s plan was that all people might come and worship his Son.
So maybe one of these in the picture could be you.
It is as if Mary’s opening of herself to give space for Jesus had begun a whole opening up of a crack in the defences of the world, letting the light shine through. But of course this outburst of glory was just the next stage of a plan whose seeds God had sown at creation; the creativity of God’s Spirit and the Word bursting out at different times all down the ages, through angels, through the Prophets – speaking words that had seemed important enough to be passed down through the generations.
But God’s ‘ridiculous’ plan to save his creation from destroying itself through closing in on itself in self-pity and greed, is still working itself out. Against all odds, even in the grip of a world pandemic we can still rejoice, because Bethlem’s little baby can be salvation, eternity, forgiveness and true joy for all who make space for him in their hearts, and that includes you.
Rest on the flight to Egypt