Readings each Sunday Vanderbilt lectionary library and Textweek

Second Sunday after Epiphany 14 Jan 2018

Gareth Hughes

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1 Samuel 3:1-10; Psalm 139: 1-5, 12-18; 1 Corinthians  6: 12-20; John 1: 43-51 Vanderbilt Lectionary
Epiphany 2B January 14, 2018 Textweek

First Sunday after Epiphany/Baptism of Our Lord 7 Jan 2018

Ros Fairless

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Genesis 1:1-5   ; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11 Vanderbilt Lectionary
Baptism of Christ B January 7, 2018 Textweek

Welcome to Epiphanytide, a season of mysteries, revelation, light and joy, in which we recognize the divine glory in Jesus’ life and ministry, and in our own.

Today, we celebrate the central mystery: the manifestation of Christ at his baptism, where the heavens are torn apart and the voice of God is heard; where Christ emerges from the swirling waters of chaos into freedom, a new creation; where heaven and earth kiss, and a humanity fully alive to God is revealed.

We are talking about an immersion – not just into water – but also into the Spirit of the living God!

So, whether your baptism was an unforgettable occasion or a beige affair, you and I have experienced what Gerard Manly Hopkins called the “dearest freshness deep down things”, and we cannot ever be the same, no matter how hard we try. In a world that is bleared and smeared with trade, toil, and Trumpery, remembering that is, in itself, a miracle. Today, remember: heaven has kissed earth. Hear God’s voice and take heart: “My son, my daughter, my beloved: I see you, and in you I am well-pleased.

First Sunday after Christmas Eve 31st December 2017

Howard Eaton


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Isaiah 61: 10-62.3; Psalm 148; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:22-40 Vanderbilt Lectionary
Christmas 1B December December 31, 2017 Textweek

‘Open up your hearts and let the sun shine in’

Life is fragile:

Enough rocky road to have learnt something

The idea of God, and the experience of the sun shining in = Moving beyond ourself as the “fount of all knowledge” – “ She who knows everything”.- the ultimate reference point of life

Praise is the partner of Sense of there being more.. being open to it, and opening up oneself

Finding the place where we are opened up to something bigger than us which is in fact Gracious/ Merciful/ self Giving / Life Giving

Choosing to be open to praise/placing ourselves in the place where the sun shines in..

Christmas Eve 24th December 2017

Michael Wood

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As I listen to this poem I imagine Mary and Joseph praying for their newborn son…praying that he might be safe, but knowing that he will be drawn into a future uncradled by them and full of painful and glorious promise, a journey involving:

  • the loneliness of temptations in the desert and the friendship of his disciples who he will call friends;
  • the exile of crucifixion and the homecoming of resurrection
  • the awkward steps of an infant and the confident leaps of an adult, across the landscape of Palestine

In the humanity of Jesus, God transforms the world not through a set of infallible texts, or a book called ‘10 tips for a successful life’; or even a declaration of human rights.

God transforms the world through the incarnation of the true image of God’s self. All God seems to be saying is, ‘look at me….gaze at me…..follow….me…..into the uniqueness of
yourself….a Christ-patterned WORD’. This can sometimes feel like a lonely journey but we do not do it alone. We undertake this journey in the company of others…..fellow travellers…..mentors, fellow outcasts, refugees, poor shepherds…..cheered on by choirs of angels. We are led through the turbulent, and what sometimes feels like despairing, violence of the world by a God who prays for us, and whose prayer carries us even when we are unaware of it.

Fourth Sunday of Advent 24th December 2017

Michael Wood


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2 Samuel 7: 1-11, 16; Psalm  89:1-4, 19-27; Romans 16: 25-27; Luke 1: 26-38 Vanderbilt Lectionary

Advent 4B December 24, 2017 November 27, 2017 Textweek

The story is wrestling, from a post-resurrection perspective, with the mystery of who Jesus is and where he came from. In their experience of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the disciples are absolutely clear that two apparently irreconcilable facts are coexisting in the same space and time. (i) Jesus is a flesh and blood human being (ii) In Jesus, they have encountered God – not just a ‘prophet’ speaking the word of God, but they have encountered God face to face. As radical mono-theists, this was quite an emotional and intellectual journey to go on.

Jesus was both fully human and fully divine – and the implications of THAT claim are enormous, revolutionary and dangerous. At the very least it means that we can’t easily separate the transcendent and physical worlds because God uses physical stuff to reveal God’s self. The second main point of the story (and this is even more relevant to each of us) is that God can become fully present in the world only through participation and consent of a human being.

So maybe that is what it was like for Mary. Hearing the whisper of a tune in her ear called Jesus. What whispers have we heard in our lives? What is being whispered now? Are we listening?

Third Sunday of Advent 17th December 2017

Michael Wood
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Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11; Psalm 126; 1Thess 5: 12-28; John 1: 6-8, 19-28 Vanderbilt Lectionary

Advent 3B December 17, 2017 November 26, 2017 Textweek

John says of himself, “I am the one who points to the Christ”. John is a highway maker – he’s building a straight path to make it possible for people to return from exile. John is opening up a spiritual way for people (clear out the junk; turn around; pay attention to what God is doing here). It seems to me that what John the Baptist is doing is that he is pointing towards the future. The people questioning John are trying to locate him in relation to the story of the people of God – to see how he fits into THEIR story and THEIR categories. But John won’t do this. He’s just keeps pointing to Jesus and saying that God is doing some spectacularly new here which is going to be way outside their expectations. Looking to the past is not going to be much use to them. In fact they are going to have to entirely re-read their past in the light of this new apocalypse – this great unveiling of ‘things hidden since the foundation of the world’.

We need to read the Bible backwards, from a resurrection future. Christ is the interpretative key. Then we can see clearly what’s going on…..in Christ God is making God’s character clear…as the utterly nonviolent one. God is bringing peace, not by taking God’s vengeance out on us, but by absorbing OUR vengeance on each other and transforming it.

If anyone is IN Christ there is a new creation. We are all being re-created. What we DO – what job we have or don’t have; whether we are a priest, a pilot or a writer, is not really anywhere near as important as what God is doing in us by way of God’s Spirit– which is, day by day, turning us into something rather surprising, which is not bound by the expectations or others, or the categories of the past. We are being formed by Gods’ eternally creative, peace-filled, future. As to what that future might look like? That is the question which we incline towards this Christmas.