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Chris (email link at the bottom of each page)

The Prodigal Son

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Luke 15:1–3, 11–32
 
The parable of the Prodigal Son is unique to St Luke’s Gospel.  The parable could equally be called the parable of the Father’s Heart, or of The Elder Brother.
 
Most people perhaps identify with the younger son – his destitution, his failure, his sinfulness, his wastrel nature . . .  Perhaps also we fully understand why his father’s heart went out to him.
 
But most likely we are more like the elder brother, indignant, self-righteous, looking down on such a sinner.  Note also that the father does not rebuke him harshly, but rather affirms his love for him as well.
 
Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and there are none so lost as those who do not understand that they are lost and walking in darkness.
 
We are all lost in some way, morally weak and confused; but God is a God of grace, mercy and forgiveness.  Every human being is love by God – no matter who they are, what they have done and how far beyond redemption they may seem.
 
Lord, preserve and protect me from having a heart like the elder brother.  Teach me to recognise profoundly that I am the worst of sinners, that I was once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
 
Chris
 
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Anger, righteous or not

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Matthew 5:17–37
 
 
Jesus teaches with extraordinary clarity that 'everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, "you fool” shall be liable to the hell of fire’ (v.22).
 
Jesus’s radical teaching on anger sees it as the root of murder.  Angry feelings, if they are nursed and not dealt with, become hatred.  The fruit of hatred can sometimes be actual murder.
 
Jesus does not say that we must not feel anger, express anger or even act on it, but he does say that we do not have the right to hang on to it, nurse it and vent it.
 
We must let anger go so that we can imitate Jesus more closely.  
 
Jesus’s anger never led him to sin.  He was betrayed, insulted, ridiculed tortured and crucified, but he let go any feelings of anger and forgave his oppressors, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34).
 
Jesus shows us a new way of living.  As his disciples we must emulate him.  Whenever we are angry we must acknowledge our anger but let it go by calling on the Lord’s grace.
 
Christ’s Spirit will give us the power to fulfil his commandment to live as he did.
 
’Be angry but do not sin.’  (Ephesians 4:24)
 
 
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In the Beginning was the Word

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John 1:1-18
 
The key to the mystery of life and death is found in the revelation that in the beginning was the Word.  The Word was God, and through the Word everything was created and has its being.
 
The beating heart of life has its source in the Word.
 
The wonder, beauty and glory of Christian revelation is that the Word broke into human history as a human being.  The eternal entered time.  The First-born clothed himself with our humanity.  The meaning, purpose and goal of our existence was revealed.  God became man in order that we might enjoy his divine life.
 
The truth of the incarnation liberates us from despair and hopelessness.  its light illuminates the darkness.  Our lasting inheritance is that through and in Christ we have become children of God.
 
In this truth we stand with dignity, joy, confidence and hope.  As we contemplate the beauty and the wonder of the incarnation, our faith is strengthened and our hope renewed.
 
On the eve of a new year it is good both to look back and to look forward.  We can look back in thanks and look forward in hope.  We can rejoice in Good’s goodness and grace to us and thank him for all that unfolded in 2019.
 
The new year ahead of us we dedicate to the loving care and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Lord the Giver of Life; through his power we shall plumb new depths of God’s grace and wisdom.
 
Heavenly Father, your wonderful plan of salvation, the mystery hidden in ages past, has now been revealed in all its splendour and truth.  Your Son, the Word, the Light and Life, entered human history and rescued us from the grip of sin, Satan and death.  On the threshold of 2020 I dedicate my life to your Holy Spirit and ask that you renew the face of the earth.
 
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The grace of Jesus

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Luke 19:1-10
 
Jesus came to seek and save the lost, for sure, but he also came to flip everything on its head.  
 
If we could but grasp that none of us is righteous.  The only way that anyone can be reconciled with God is through the saving death and resurrection of Jesus.
 
We share a common humanity with every person on Earth: the drug addicts, the prisoners, the cheats, the adulterers and those our media highlight as beyond redemption.  
 
No one is beyond redemption because Jesus died to save us all.
 
Lord Jesus, you came to seek and save the lost.  Grant me a compassionate heart, especially towards those despised and rejected by society; teach me that there for your grace go I.
 
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