1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 88(89):20-22,27-28;Mark 2:23-28
A God of Surprises! Through Samuel, God chooses the young child David to be the anointed King of his people. Not the most obvious choice - but then that simply means that we did not look upon the many older, wiser, stronger candidates in from the same viewpoint as God did! This often happens in our world today. One good example is the election of a new Pope - often surprising us, and at least in my lifetime, always completely the right person for his time!
David's anointing is recorded three times in the Old Testament - and this one, in Bethlehem, is not referred to again in scripture. The other two are later, and take place when David is anointed King over the Southern Tribes (at Hebron, 2 Samuel 2.4) and later, the Northern Tribes (2 Samuel 5.5). Why might David have been anointed three times? This is an example of Typology - the Old Testament foreshadowing the New. David was anointed by Samuel, foreshadowing the baptism of Jesus by John, at which God says this is my Son, the Beloved. (David means Beloved, and Samuel means taking the name of God). The second anointing, by Joshua (praise) foreshadows the recognition of Jesus as King by his followers. And the third anointing, by Jabesh-Gilead (perpetual fountain) foreshadows Jesus' promise of perpetual nourishment (for example, offering the woman at the well, a drink that will never leave (us) thirsty again.
Each one of us, at our Baptism, was anointed with oil, as was David, and washed with the same water of life from the eternal spring Jesus set for us. Let us rejoice and be glad!
The Nationality and Borders Bill
Following up on the St Gregory’s Advent Prayer Service with the focus on refugees and asylum seekers, and the meeting beforehand between Alex Chalk MP and some of the refugees in the town whom Parishioners have been helping, a further meeting has now been arranged with our MP. This takes place online on Friday 28th January, 9.30-10am. The objective is to discuss how the provisions of the Nationality and Borders Bill are likely to affect those fleeing persecution in future, and linked issues. If you wish to take part in this Zoom meeting (you do not have to speak unless you want to), email Bill Flynn (email@example.com) or Martin Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
As yet the Heating engineers have been unable to repair the heating system. Efforts are taking place to install temporary heaters, which will make a little difference, but please be prepared to wear warm clothes in case!
Saturday of Week 1 Per Annum (15th January): I Samuel 9.1-4,17-19; 10.1; Ps 20; Mark 2.13-17
Saul is thought to be the most suitable man to be king because he looked like a king: handsome, taller than anyone else, and strong. As Samuel anointed him he declared that Saul would be able ‘to save’ the nation of Israel ‘from the power of the enemies surrounding them.’
How much different is God’s own choice of king for his people: ‘Without beauty, without majesty we saw him; no looks to attract our eyes; a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him.’ [Isaiah 53.2-3] Saul’s kingship will ultimately come to a disastrous conclusion, but the Man of God’s own choosing reigns as King for ever and ever. [Apocalypse 11.15] This everlasting King calls us each and all to be loyal to him and to find in him salvation from the power of every enemy.
Friday of Week 1 Per Annum (14th January): I Samuel 8.4-7, 10-22; Psalm 88; Mark 2.1-12
The cry of the people to Samuel was ‘Give us a king like other nations have!’ That cry was a blasphemous denial of the Kingship of God, and a faithless denial of God’s choice of this people for his own. [Exodus 6.7; Deuteronomy 4.8] Samuel went so far as to declare the request ‘a very wicked thing.’ [I Samuel 12.17]
Nevertheless, Israel as a confederation of tribes, each with its own leadership, was no match for the strength of the nations and empires that surrounded it. The word monarch literally means ‘one ruler.’ A king is a unifying force, drawing the hearts and minds of the people together by drawing them to himself. Though the history of the monarchy in Israel will prove a disaster (and the books of the Kings appear to have been written by someone whose outlook was hostile to the monarchy) nonetheless it is presented as a virtual inevitability, a necessary stage in the development of God’s chosen people as a nation.
- Set up a means of receiving, sorting, and storing items received.
- Have people who can sort the clothing
- Volunteer, to organize the operation.
- Suggestions for or the offer of a suitable space that is available for the next 3 months.
- Volunteers to help with the operation.
Thursday of Week 1 Per Annum (13th January): I Samuel 4.1-11; Psalm 43; Mark 1.40-45
God’s condemnation of the house of Eli [I Samuel 3.12-14] is enacted in a dramatic way as an emboldened Philistine army defeated Israel in a kind of blitzkrieg and captured the Ark as well. The two sons of Eli died, and shortly afterwards the 98-year-old Eli himself breathed his last. [4.18] Almost immediately the wife of Phinehas underwent premature labour and gave birth to a son. She died in childbirth, naming her son Ichabod: ‘Where is the glory?’ [4.19-22]
The prophet Isaiah [43.7] declared that God created humanity for his glory; millennia later
the Bishop of Lyon, St Irenaeus, in the 2nd Century of our era, exuberantly declared that ‘the Glory of God is a human being fully alive.’ The glory of God is his splendour, his radiance; at once it attracts us and astounds us; it makes us want to come near him and at the same time it repels us from his pervasive holiness.
To be fully alive, Jesus reminds us, necessitates first our death [Luke 9.24]—death to our self-centredness, death to our preference for the appetites of the flesh instead of our true hunger for God himself. The glory of God departs from us whenever we choose to be less than God made us to be. The glory of God shines out from our lives whenever like Christ Jesus himself [Hebrews 1.3] we offer ourselves, our souls and bodies, as living sacrifices. [Romans 12.1-2] Pontius Pilate himself unwittingly declared Jesus to be ‘the real man’ [John 19.5]: the truest exemplar of God’s own will and purpose, the radiance of God’s own glory.