God brings light to his people

This is one of a series of short reflections that can be used by individuals or small groups. It may be worth considering keeping a journal to make notes as you use each reflection.

This session continues with the book of Isaiah, looking at part of Isaiah 60. This part of Isaiah is set in the period after the temple had been rebuilt, there is evidence that the new community is slipping back into old patterns of behaviour.

Settling in.
Spend a few moments to prepare to be open to receive from God during this reflection.
You may consider putting your phone on silent for a while. Light a candle. Get comfortable.

Gathering worship

Make your room as dark as possible. Light a candle and be still.

Put books and sheets of paper on the floor so that your hands are uncluttered.

Listen to the following pieces of music from Handel’s Messiah.

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain: O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold you God! Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

At the end of prayer – say this prayer:
May I prepare myself for the Word of God, as it comes to me in the reading of Holy Scripture.

Bible Study part 1 – God promises light

Look at Isaiah 60: 1-3; 19

In this passage – Isaiah brings to God’s people news that God will come to them as a light.

Light is a recurring word and image in the Bible and in the church. Think of as many examples as you can.

Bible Study part 2. Jesus as light in John’s gospel

Christians see Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

Look at each of the following verses from John’s gospel.

What do they tell you about Jesus as a light? What do they tell you about darkness?

John 1:1-5

John 3:19 – 21

John 8:12

John 12:46

Darkness or light

God promises his light – and we see the light in the person of Jesus.

Reflect on examples of ‘darkness’ in the world, the church, our own lives.

Are there examples people can give of ways in which ‘darkness’ can be a place we are drawn to, rather than light?

Why is darkness so enticing?

Closing Worship

Make the room as dark as possible. Light 1 candle

Listen to the Advent Prose

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour.

Be not very angry, O Lord, neither remember our iniquity for ever:
thy holy cities are a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation:
our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour.

We have sinned, and are as an unclean thing,
and we all do fade as a leaf:
our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away;
thou hast hid thy face from us:
and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour.

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen;
that ye may know me and believe me:
I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour:
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness: let the earth be fruitful, and bring forth a Saviour.

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, my salvation shall not tarry:
I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions:
fear not for I will save thee:
for I am the Lord thy god, the holy one of Israel, thy Redeemer.

end with this prayer:
Almighty God,
As your kingdom dawns,
Turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness,
That we may be ready to meet you in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
Amen

This is part of a series originally compiled by Bob Callaghan and Alison Spreadbridge for St Edmund’s Church, Dartford.

Still figuring out what being a disciple might mean. Anglican priest and cyclist. One of the founders and editors of New Roots - partly as a way of hanging on in there!

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