The Christmas story could start with a prophesy ‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.’ (Isaiah 7:14) It could end with the Cross and Resurrection, with Jesus crucified and risen. However, the story starts much earlier than that, and it is yet to come to an end! The Christmas story could involve the usual suspects of Mary and Joseph, shepherds and kings, angels and even the odd octopus if you follow certain films. But the cast of the story is far larger, going back to ancient times and striding forward into a future as yet unknown.
In all that vastness of space and time, of ancient promises and future promises we are left with now. Where are we in the story? Where is that story in us?
God’s ancient purpose is to bridge the gulf between time and eternity, between humanity and divinity to be ‘God with us’, Immanuel. Such a purpose is costly, for it costs God’s ‘only Son’. The bridge builder the ‘at-one-ment’ act of sacrifice. It is a vast purpose that enfolds the whole of the created order and in the vastness, we are left with ourselves. Where are we in that story? Where is that story in us?
There are many good things about being a twin! But there are certain disadvantages; on at least one occasion, we were forced to share a birthday cake, and I find it strangely hard to actually remember my sister’s birthday! There was one distinct problem I had at Christmas time. With my sister being called Mary, and being very bright and pretty, she was always cast as Mary in the nativity and I being far less bright and not quite as pretty was rarely cast above fifth shepherd. The wounds still trouble me on wet days. In the real story, the ages old story that goes back to prehistory and stretches forward into ‘the glory that is to be’ – what part do I play? Where are we in that story? Where is that story in us?
In January we will be celebrating our Covenant with God. All three services on the 21st January will have the words of recommitment. Committing ourselves to be part of that great story. We respond to God’s love as we are caught up in the story!
Over the next few weeks many people will be receiving their membership card. As you get your card please be prayerful about what this means for you. Are there new ways in which you would like to belong to EMC? Would you like to explore your faith further through coming to the Alpha Course or being part of a house group? Will you spend time in praying for those in need and pick up a copy of the prayer sheet to prompt your prayers. Growing as part of the story.
Some people will not be getting a membership ticket as they are not formally members of EMC but feel they belong here. If you would like to explore what that might mean for you, it would be great to hear from you. Whatever you decide you will still be very welcome though!
There will be a ‘new members’ service of welcome and commitment at Easter. Perhaps you would like to be part of that? We will follow the book, ‘Called by Name’, perhaps it’s your name that is being called! Becoming part of the story.