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We update our blog several times a week, with news and comment on ministry, theology, the Bible, liturgy and issues of the day.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 13 Dec 2017

The readings for this week focus our attention again on the coming of Christ, prophesied in the Old Testament, announced by John the Baptist, and anticipated by those who await his final return in glory. The pastoral impact of each passage is to direct our attention to the Lord God himself, who alone can save and sanctify us.

In this short video, Lee Gatiss explains the lectionary readings for the 3rd Sunday of Advent (Year B): Isaiah 61:1-4 and 8-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, and John 1:6-8 and 19-28.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 12 Dec 2017

Ros Clarke collects together some of the best resources for Christians at Christmas.

Nativity plays
James Cary (The God Particle, A Monk’s Tale) has written THREE different nativity plays, suitable for use in churches, as well as two puppet sketches and two Christmas readings available in The Christmas Collection.

I wrote a Nativity play set on Twitter a few years ago: The Natwivity.

This Nativity play from Tearfund has options for narrated or dialogue versions.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 11 Dec 2017

Ros visits an Operation Christmas Child warehouse and talks to Helen Buckley, author of Christmas books for young children.

Many of us will pack Christmas shoeboxes every year for Operation Christmas Child.. On this week’s podcast, Ros finds out a bit more about how they end up in the hands of children around the world. The podcast also features Helen Buckley, children’s worker at St Stephen’s and St Wulstan’s, Birmingham, and author of several books for very young children.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 10 Dec 2017

Read, mark, learn and inwardly digest!

Blessed Lord,
who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning:
Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them,
that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word,
we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life,
which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Amen.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 9 Dec 2017

Ed Moll preaches at St George's Church, Wembdon, about Advent: the return of the Lord Jesus in power and glory.

We’d all love to know the future: not just what will happen next year, but what will happen in the next world? Jesus begins to answer that question in his response to the disciples in Matthew 24: The Son of Man is going to come. His return will be sudden, unmissable and certain.

One to help us lift our eyes to the future, by trusting the word of the Lord in the past.

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Posted by Lee Gatiss, 6 Dec 2017

In this second Sunday of Advent, the Lectionary readings remind us of the preparation required as we wait for the glorious arrival of the Lord Jesus.

The Lectionary readings for the 2nd Sunday of Advent (Year B) are Isaiah 40:1-11, 2 Peter 3:8-15a, and Mark 1:1-8. In this short video, Lee Gatiss expounds those readings for us today.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 4 Dec 2017

Ros Clarke and Amanda Robbie discuss books to give, books for children, and books to put on your own wish list.

Ros Clarke and Amanda Robbie discuss books to give, books for children, and books to put on your own wish list.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 3 Dec 2017

The collects in Advent remind us to look forward to Christ's return, not just look back to his first coming.

Almighty God,
give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness,
and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life,
in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility;
that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty,
to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,
now and ever. Amen.

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Posted by Ros Clarke, 2 Dec 2017

Mark Redhouse preaches at All Souls, Eastbourne, showing us a bigger vision of Jesus from Revelation 5: the Lamb, who was slain for us, who is worthy of our whole lives.

In times of persecution and hardship, we may be tempted to look up to the heavens and wonder if there is anyone really there. In times of ease, our faith may grow lukewarm and lazy. And so Revelation shows us a glimpse of the throne room of heaven, so that we can see who is there: God in all his glory, the Lamb upon the throne. Take courage and sing praise!

Listen to the sermon here.

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Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew

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Posted by Nick Gowers, 30 Nov 2017

Nick Gowers discusses the linguistic considerations in using the feminine gender for the Holy Spirit

The third person of the Trinity, gender language and translation

I attended an event recently during which we sung a number of songs - as Christians do. What made it particularly interesting this time was the gender language.  These songs made many mentions of “God”, little (or no) mention of the Father and the Son, and, in two instances, addressed the Holy Spirit as “she.”

I was somewhat surprised, though perhaps I shouldn’t be. The gender issues in culture are affecting language (see here).  In the church they are seeping into our theology and hymnody. The next step, as suggested by the Church of Sweden, will be our liturgy. A subtle but significant shift seems to be happening. What do we make of it?

Instead of just going with my gut response, I thought it better to go back to Scripture. At which point it gets complicated.

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