30 Northumberland Square | North Shields | NE30 1PW
Weekly Update #138 January 8th, 2023 – First Sunday after Epiphany
From the Minister So Christmas 2022 is over?
Unless you are one of the few who hold out until Candlemas Day (February 2nd), then I expect that any Christmas decorations you might have are down now, until later this year (only 356 days to go until Christmas Day!). In our house we usually keep the decorations up until January 6th – Epiphany. It’s the day associated with the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. ‘Epiphany’ means ‘revelation’, and is associated with the light of the star that revealed to the travellers where they would find Jesus. For the Church, Epiphany is not just a day, it’s a season. It also includes the public revelation of Jesus as God’s Beloved Son at his baptism (often marked on this Sunday). Christmas is about Jesus, but Jesus is more than just about Christmas. The child grew up, was baptised, then started a ministry, which led to a cross, and then to an empty tomb, and we are invited to come along on that journey in 2023.
Prayer Loving God, just as your Spirit came upon Jesus at his baptism, so may I be filled with your Spirit, to guide and help me in my life, and in my care for others.
Sunday 8th January – All worshiping at Saint Andrew’s URC, Monkseaton (No service at Saint Columba’s on 8th January)
11.00 a.m. service at Saint Andrew’s, led by a ministerial candidate. They are ‘preaching with a view’, first, to becoming the minister at Saint Andrew’s in 2023, then also at St Columba’s, North Shields, when Trevor retires in just under three years’ time. This service will be followed by a joint Church Meeting to discern and decide whether to call them as the minister for the two congregations.
Those unable to attend the service at Saint Andrew’s may watch it online, To view please Click Here.
(Please note, though, only those present at the Church Meeting are able to share their views.)
Sunday 15th January 10.30 a.m. at church A communion service led by Trevor Jamison, including hearing about the work of North East Young Dads and Lads, the recipients for our Christmas collection in 2022.
Bible readings for this week
Bible readings for this week
Isaiah 42:1-9 God’s servant will bring justice to the nations
Psalm 29 Creation gives glory to God
Acts 10:34-43 God’s love is for all peoples and nations
Matthew 3:13-17 Jesus baptised ‘to fulfil all righteousness’ You can read the Bible passages online at https://www.biblegateway.com/
Reflection on the Readings
When John the Baptist baulked at the idea of baptising the one he believed was more powerful than him (Matthew 3:11), Jesus replied, ‘let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ (3:15) But what’s ‘all righteousness’? Is it just an individual about doing things the right way; following all the rules? Surely it’s about more than that. Isaiah’s message from God about God’s servant was, ‘I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.’ (42:1) ‘Righteousness’ and ‘justice’ overlap in meaning in the Bible, because ‘righteousness’ is not so much about ‘being good,’ but about the whole of Christian life in relating obediently to God. When the Spirit comes upon Jesus at his baptism (as for God’s servant in Isaiah), those who witness it (including us) are called to follow the pattern of his Spirit-filled life. And that pattern holds good for peoples/nations as well as for individuals; both for justice and for righteousness.
A hymn that responds to the readings
Christ to the world! We sing, the world to Christ we bring
The Revd Kim Plumpton has been nominated to serve as Moderator of the United Reformed Church (URC) Northern Synod after the Revd Dave Herbert retires later this year. Kim trained for ministry at Westminster College, Cambridge, and has served at Cobham United Church, Cobham Methodist, and Effingham Methodist Churches since 2010.