The meaning in the angel’s message…

It’s been a while since my last entry (typical amateur blogging ‘blah blah’). I’m blessed that in this entry I don’t have to do the work, because it would be still even longer between entries if I didn’t have this great fodder for reflection! I’m still busy!

At any rate…

I participate in a weekly “watch” of prayer an intercession whereby the participants, using a guided set of notes sent out each week by email, spend an hour of prayer a week sometime between 9pm and 6am. It’s called the Nightwatch. If you want more information, you can find it here. The notes are prepared by a team in the UK led by Roger Mitchell.

For the Christmas week, the Nightwatch contained a meditation by Roger and his wife Sue about the advent of Jesus that I found to resonate deeply. Because of that I asked their permission to share it more widely. Obviously it’s a bit late (early?) for Christmas but I believe that the depth of Jesus’ Advent, as also the depth of His Cross or Resurrection, has no limits…other than what we put on it. I’m leaving it in its “prayer-guideline” format and encourage you to perhaps read it/meditate on it using those guidelines. Enjoy…;c)

WELCOME TO THIS CHRISTMAS NIGHT WATCH FOR EUROPE

Last week Sue and I had the opportunity to speak at a Christmas event on the shepherds encounter with the angel.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.'” (Luke 2:10-12)

We were hugely impacted by the last sentence and the nature of the sign. This week we will reflect and pray over the angels words and the implications of the sign the shepherds were given.

1. TAKE 15 MINUTES TO DECLARE AND PRAY OVER THE ANGEL’S FIRST WORDS TO THE SHEPHERDS

Declare these words over your family, street, workplace, town, city, region, nation and expression of church you are part of:

“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people”

Notice that the first words of the angel to the shepherds were ‘do not be afraid’. Repent of and repudiate any fear or anxiety that is disturbing you at this time. Note too that the good news is of great joy for all people. Take time to thank God that the good news really is for all, without exception. Specifically thank God that it is for the ethnic minorities, immigrant groups and social, religious or political opponents of our Christian viewpoint being careful to bless each group by name before the Lord and his holy angels. Finally declare the angel’s words over your neighbouring nations as well as Romania and Bulgaria that will be joining the EU in the New Year.

2. TAKE 15 MINUTES TO DECLARE AND PRAY OVER THE SECOND PART OF THE ANGEL’S WORD TO THE SHEPHERDS

Declare these words over your family, street, workplace, town, city, region, nation and expression of church you are part of:

“For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

Think about the significance of ‘the city of David.’ Some people think immediately of Jerusalem as the city of David: the centre of political power, religious worship and promised blessing. But the Lord was not born there, but instead in the place where David had himself encountered God on the margins as a shepherd boy, forgotten by his father. Reflect and pray over the implications of this for the neglected, the marginalised, and the youth today. Consider the implications that although Bethlehem was their home town, there was not even room in the inn for them, let alone with relatives. Pray for the poor, the rejected and the forgotten this Christmas time. Finally reflect over the situation in Bethlehem today, with divisions there between Jews and Palestinians. Pray about this in the light of these words of the angel to the shepherds, setting aside all bigotry and preconceived ideas about the situation.

3. TAKE 10 MINUTES TO DECLARE AND PRAY OVER THE FIRST STATEMENT OF THE SIGN THE ANGEL GAVE

“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby…”

I can think of three particular things about babies. They are very human, very vulnerable and very new. All true of this baby, but he was also God. Reflect and pray over what this sign means for humanity. There is humanity in God right now in heaven for ever! Don’t ever regard lightly your humanity or anyone else’s – it is glorious to be human! Reflect and pray over what this sign means about the importance of being vulnerable, subject to risk, to pain to dirt, to rejection and about our attitude to all those things in ourselves and others. Finally consider the implications that even God became new, had to do things he’d never done before. Pray for the body of Christ in Europe to be ready for this new day for the kingdom of God.

4. TAKE 10 MINUTES TO DECLARE AND PRAY OVER THE SECOND STATEMENT OF THE SIGN THE ANGEL GAVE

“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths…”

Reflect and pray over the awesome reality that God was bound, wrapped up tightly, powerless in our hands. Remember that this was true again at the cross and in the grave. Now that he is alive and the Lord of all, consider the way that his power is still the opposite of human power, that he does not force himself on us, that he is still a gift, even in his resurrection glory with his grave cloths discarded, still wrapped and in our hands for us to unwrap for our world. How did Mary, the Shepherds, the wise men do that? How did Mary and the apostles do it after the resurrection?

5. TAKE 10 MINUTES TO DECLARE AND PRAY OVER THE THIRD STATEMENT OF THE SIGN THE ANGEL GAVE

“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

What does the sign of the manger mean to you? It’s an animal feeding trough. Consider the way it speaks of the creation, the environment, the workplace, the lowest place. Reflect and pray over the significance of this being the context for the revelation of God, the kingdom of God, the appropriate location of the church and whatever more the Lord shows you. Finally ask the Lord that the fullness of this sign be expressed by the body of Christ in Europe in the coming year. Try and put this into words that describe the church being the steward of the kingdom of God in practical terms. ‘This will a sign for you: you will find the body of Christ…’

HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS!

ROGER AND TEAM


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Posted in Reflection.