Church of England Diocese of Norwich St. Peter, Sheringham

Message from the Minister: The Third Sunday of Advent

13 Dec 2020, 1 a.m.

Who is Jesus: Jesus is the light of the world. Jesus speaks from God and for God and as God. Apart from Jesus, we live in darkness. We have limited capacity to understand who we are or what we see in the world (John Piper)

John the Baptist told the Pharisees the one who comes is ‘one whom you do not know’. In John’s Gospel Jesus is not known or understood. John speaks in poetic, symbolic language of the mystery of Jesus. At the beginning of his Gospel John describes Jesus as the word, there at the beginning of creation, in everything made when God swept over the waters and said ‘Let there be light!’

Mystery does not sit comfortably in our scientific culture as we like to know why things happen and feel in control but Isaiah tells us ‘Our Father God is the potter and we are the clay’. The pandemic has shown us that we are certainly <span style="font-size: 1rem; -webkit-text-size-adjust: 100%;">not in control of our world - a bacteria has changed our world.</span>

However, this week light has come into the darkness of the pandemic as our scientific cavalry have produced a vaccine. The first person to have the vaccine, Maggie, is delightfully full of light and hope at 90.

Isaiah tells us ‘the mountains will tremble before God’. God did awesome things that the Israelites did not expect and still does! In John’s Gospel we find people who did not understand the things of the Spirit of God. Nicodemus, a Pharisee in authority, came to Jesus under the cover of darkness at night. Jesus told him that he needed to be born again in the Spirit to see the light but he did not understand. The Samaritan woman, who encountered Jesus at the well, did not understand the gift of living water that Jesus offered her.

John the Baptist baptised with water and pointed to Jesus coming to baptise with the Spirit of God, to bring the light of God into the world.

John the Baptist was the voice crying out in the wilderness. We create our own wilderness, our dark uninhabited, abandoned spaces that we do not let the light of God into. We create jungles of complexities when we do not allow God to keep our paths straight. Jesus said Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John called people to repent, to be baptised and turn their lives around. He was a witness to the light, he leapt in Elizabeth’s womb when first meeting Jesus in Mary’s womb!

Our Baptism reminds us that we have been born again in the Spirit and carry the light of God in our hearts. We have been cleansed with the living water that springs up within us with love, joy and peace. We are part of the family of the Church called to be beacons of light in the darkness. God Our Father is the Potter and we are the clay to be moulded into delightful creations. We are here to do God’s will, not our own. Jesus said, ‘I came…not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me’. The coming of the Messiah, long expected, brings light and hope into dark places. Jesus is the light of the world, working all things for good. Let us, this Christmas, bring that life and love to our world.

Angela Stewart 

Lay Minister