Four movements for full Orchestra

This is a project to help us think afresh about our faith, who was and is Jesus, and where is God in our world.

Advent is a time of preparation and each week we follow a theme, as we draw closer to Christmas Day. The daily thoughts may seem a little disjointed at times but they will come together, theme and counter-theme threaded through the four weeks to provide a rich symphony a fuller picture of Jesus

O come let us adore Him

Week 1 – Bible and Literature

In the first week we think about the Bible, our Scriptures, the book of God, without which we would know so little about Jesus.

We think about its richness and variety – it is not really one book at all, but 66 documents gathered into sections, with two main sections, what we call the Old and New Testaments.

It is full of stories, narratives, poetry, drama, characters, instructions, challenges, images, but sometimes we make it dull and flat.

Good Christians all rejoice

Week 2 – Bible and History [not live until 7th Dec]

In the second week we think more about the prophets – Why? Because they were trying to see where God was in the world, and what God was calling people to do. How is God at work in history? What is judgement, and is God merciful? What about other people?

As people deep in prayer they were given insights, pictures, understanding including glimpses of what God would do in the future. For the God of then had a plan for the ‘then’ and the future, to bring in his Kingdom, on the Day of the Lord.

And we too live in the real world of ‘now’ but have faith in and hope for the Kingdom which is to come, not as passive spectators, but active in the world today.

Week 3 – The real world of Jesus [not live until 14th Dec]

In the third week we will look a bit at the world in which Jesus was born and in which he lived, a complex world. Jesus lived in a real place, a restive place, with the joys of family and the pressures of making a living, made harder by the politics of his time. As a Jewish man, he was brought up in the synagogue and his family took him to the Temple.

It was a real world but very different from ours today. What does it mean to say that God became human in that particular context.

Once in royal David’s city .. in a lowly manger bed

Week 4 – The Names of Jesus [not live until 21st Dec]

And in the fourth week we think about what the names of Jesus tell us. In this fourth movement of the Symphony the four gospel writers play variations on a common theme and we pick up the themes that the prophets had hinted at many years before.

And there are new themes, not least from the messages of the angels, to Mary, to Joseph, to the shepherds.

This very ordinary birth is extra-ordinary;

This humble scene is frequented by angels and shepherds and foreign Magi;

And in the midst, trying to make sense, committed to doing the will of God, is Mary, a young, “ordinary” woman, caught up in the most amazing moment since Creation.

Let us get back to the wonder, the awe, the mystery, the majesty, the cosmic shock of Christmas. This is the final movement of this Symphony, and we should return to our homes with the music ringing in our ears, and our lives changed.

O come, O come, Emmanuel