Sermons by Bernard Bell (Page 3)

Sermons by Bernard Bell (Page 3)

The Magnificat: He has remembered his love!

Luke 1:48-55 While the world rushes from Black Friday and Cyber Monday into the hectic frenzy of Christmas, with its seasonal liturgy of music and art, much of the church observes Advent, when we remember God’s promises to come to his people, and anticipate the second advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. How would you have responded had you been there when God fulfilled those promises through the birth of Jesus? According to Luke’s account, those who were there responded in song. Rather, they responded in psalm-like poetry, which the church quickly set to music and has sung ever since, often every day. We know these Lukan canticles (songs) by their opening words in Latin: the Magnificat of Mary, the Benedictus of Zechariah, and the Nunc Dimittis of Simeon. In the three remaining Sundays of Advent we will look at these three songs in turn. On Christmas Day itself we’ll consider the Gloria, sung by the angels announcing to the shepherds the birth of Jesus.

A Window on Advent

PRELUDE: GOD Before God can come to his world and his people, there must be a world and a people. But before that there must be God; and so we begin at the very top of the window with God, represented by two symbols. On the left is the Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In the Old Testament God declared, “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god” (Isa 44:6 esv; cf. 48:12). In the New Testament Jesus applies the same language to himself: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13; cf. 1:8, 17; 21:6). Everything begins and ends with God, and so our thinking must begin and end with God, otherwise we’ll get everything wrong.