Rev. John Durant, Vicar of the Vale Benefice, 18th May 2014: Zechariah 4 : 1 – 10; Luke 2 : 22 – 28

18th May 2014 Worcester College Evensong Zechariah 4 : 1 – 10 Luke 2 : 22 – 28  

Thank you very much for inviting me to preach this evening and enjoying the uplifting worship to our Heavenly Father . Worcester College is the patron of one of the 4 parishes where I’m vicar parish of St James the great Denchworth a small village of about 80 houses with roughly 200 people. There is a very nice pub Fox inn recommend the food and a sweet little church.

Average congregation increased last year by 50% 8 à 12 9(last week 19)   Thomas Hardy’s sister Mary used to play the organ there in fact she was the school teacher the old Schoolhouse right by the church unfortunately the school is no longer active but as one of the ladies said in our annual general meeting there are a lot more young people and children living in the village at the moment. And one of our concerns and projects the future is to see what we can do in terms of Christian teaching children the village

Neatly leads me onto looking at our second reading today where Jesus is dedicated presented in the Temple and I want to look at what we can learn about family life from this event

there is of course a lot of debate about what family is. To narrow down the definition of family as just illustrated by Mary and Joseph & the little baby Jesus is very restrictive . The family is broader + inclusive nature so it could include the more oddball characters such as Simeon & certainly should include the elderly such as Anna. ( It is good that society is re-examining its treatment and attitude towards the elderly or they are part of our family) They deserve respect

What connects a family? Common blood type? the church often calls itself a family and we are spiritually connected by the blood of Christ. I was an Army chaplain and some regiments like to think of themselves as family regiment again the blood that connects them is their fallen comrades.

Not true – family members have different blood typesI don’t even think of family should just be defined as being connected by blood. Thinking of someone like Simeon I remember my parents often invite rather eccentric folk to share in our family life – one such stayed with us borstal young offenders correctional institution was supposedly a member of Hells Angel gang è Robin BOB Banks

but ideally I think what defines a family is our shared values, our shared experiences, and shared traditions.

we have some younger people as well as more mature/with us tonight each one of us have been part of a family. I hope it has been a loving enjoyable comforting encouraging experience à

It is a place where we learn and grow where love is shared where we can be ourselves develop our full potential

and there are two aspects from this passage which I think we can learn and which if we take note of will enhance all family life all life so that we can deliver a loving secure and stimulating environment in which to live

living according to God’s guide lines

4 times at the end of chapter 2 is expression when Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the law of the Lord.

What sort of people did God want to be the parents of Jesus Christ? Mary was described as joyfully obedient; Joseph as righteous, they both followed Gods ways

of course some people adhere very rigidly to God’s commands, others are far more elastic in their approach but God’s guidelines are very good basis (the best in fact) for family life

ð   10 commandments can you list them? Miss out 2 respect , faithfulness, honesty,

Many organisations have Core Values Army CDRILS                        RFU    Teamwork  Respect     EnjoymentDiscipline          Sportsmanship


10 è summed up by Jesus as LOVE

If you follow God’s guidelines properly you are more lilely to produce a loving character

When in a loving family the joys and love help bring balance & comfort in pains of life

Focusing on Jesus Christ

The focus in this story is Jesus

family life is about relationships – these relationships will be enhanced when ahave relationship with Jesus

because when we focus on our personal trust in Christ we personally benefit not only we can be sure of our past sins forgiven, our present purposes guided by his love and the certainty of an eternal future in heaven

not only but also we will start thinking of others and their needs and e ven the needs of our enemies society benefits

the family is important because it is the stable yet flexible basis of community. And whether the government is serious or just play lip service to the structure of family life, the church certainly should be encouraging and supporting this strong yet versatile set of people. The family may be a small unit but as Zechariah says who despises the day small things?

also broadens our horizons to take on Xt’s values for the whole world

SONGnot just the redemption of Jerusalem and the glory of God’s people Israel but

salvation of all people                                     

revealing God’s truth to all the nations    justice and mercy            compassion & kindness to anybody           purpose peace constructive & positive hope

XN AID -> song Tuimbe let us pray à Kenya street Kids orphanages Radio prayer programme

So may I challenge you whether à personal benefits or because you want our society to improve/ because you actually want to help the whole world not despise the day of small things but learn from Christ

Follow God’s guidelines and

Focus on Jesus Christ


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