Luke 2

  • Good News for All People

    The angel's words to the shepherds echo down to us today: fear not, there is good news of great joy for all people.
  • Jesus Comes for All

    Last Sunday (December 16) we began a three-week Bible study on Luke 1-2. Luke paints such beautiful detail of the Christmas story. He notes the visit of the angel Gabriel to Zechariah and then to Mary. Luke details the birth of John the Baptist and the birth of Jesus. And Luke records three songs or poems in the first two chapters—the Magnificat (often called Mary’s Song), the Benedictus (Zechariah’s prophecy), and the Nunc Dimittis (the song of Simeon). These three passages of Scripture have been instilled in the song of the Church for generations.

    What I have found most interesting in preparing these Bible studies is what Luke does not include. There is no mention of Joseph’s desire to divorce Mary quietly (Matthew mentions that). There is no visit from the Magi (again, Matthew). There is no talk of Jesus as the Word made flesh (that’s John).

    Such details make me appreciate the Scriptures in their wholeness. The four Gospel writers record the same story of Jesus, but each of them brings to light different details in telling the story.

    We do something similar as we tell stories. If a family of four goes on vacation somewhere, you can bet that all four will tell different versions of the same events. That’s not to say any of them is wrong or inaccurate, it simply means we all highlight different details and construct stories and histories from differing points of view.

    The multiple points of view that produce the Christmas story help us see that Jesus comes to the devout (Zechariah Elizabeth), to the fearful (Mary and Joseph), to the lowly (the shepherds), to foreigners (the Magi), to the old (Simeon and Anna), to the young (John the Baptist), to all.

    As you worship in the coming days, remember these words from the angel Gabriel spoken to the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.” That good news of great joy is Jesus.

    God’s blessings on your Christmas celebrations.

    Pastor Andy

  • Post-Communion Canticle

    After we receive the Lord's Supper, we sing in response to this wonderful gift of God. Such singing is reflective of the song Moses and the Israelites compose and sing in Exodus 15 after they are saved from the Egyptians, crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. Such singing is reflective of the song Deborah and Barak sing in Judges 5 after they defeat Jabin and Sisera.
    And such singing is reflective of one of the options for the post-communion canticle, the words of Simeon after he meets baby Jesus in the temple. Simeon says, and we often sing:
     "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel" (Luke 2:29-32).
    After Simeon sees Jesus, all is well. After we receive the Lord's Supper, all is well. 
    It is a moment of intense relief and joy. A burden (all our sin) is lifted from us that is so freeing, we feel like we can finally breathe again. It reminds me of that moment in The Lord of the Rings when the ring is finally destroyed, and Frodo says, "It's gone! It's done!"
    Our songs in response to God's marvelous actions continue to echo Moses, Deborah, and Simeon. 
    As another version of the Post-Communion Canticle puts it:
    "Thank the Lord and sing His praise; tell everyone what He has done."
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