The presentation of Jesus in Luke 2 video

The lectionary reading for Epiphany 4 in Year C is Luke 2.22–40 as we celebrate the Presentation of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem; this is also celebrated as the feast of Candlemas(s) and in many churches it marks the formal end of the Christmas season. (In the Church of England lectionary, we have this reading both for Epiphany 4 and the Presentation, though other versions of the RCL continue reading in Luke 4 for Epiphany 4. In Years A and B, the readings for Epiphany 4 are from Matthew 5 and Mark 1.)

If you are following Luke in the lectionary, this will all feel slightly odd; last week we heard about the beginning of Jesus’ teaching ministry in the synagogue in Nazareth, and have already reflected on the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus’ own baptism, as well as the miracle in Cana. So this is a step back in the narrative before we move on to the catch of fish in Luke 5 and then loop back again to the temptations of Jesus at the beginning of Lent. It feels a bit like playing gospel narrative hop-scotch!

James Blandford-Baker and I discuss the passage in the video here; you can find the usual article discussing the text in detail in the previous post.

Who Are the Seven Spirits in Revelation?

Brandon Smith writes: Who are the seven spirits in Revelation? This question arises in the opening lines of John’s vision in which he refers to “the seven spirits who are before [God’s] throne” (Rev. 1:4). The seven spirits are named again in Jesus’s message to Sardis (Rev. 3:1), as well as twice in the throne-room scenes … Continue Reading

What does charismatic renewal bring to the Church?

Christopher Landau is being commissioned as the new Director of ReSource, formerly known as Anglican Renewal Ministries, on Wednesday 8th September. I asked him about the organisation, his own experiences, and renewal in the Church today. IP: What is ReSource? Where did the organisation come from, and what has been its role recently? CL: One … Continue Reading

What does it mean to be the ‘church’?

I write a column for Preach magazine, in which I explore a significant word or phrase in the Bible and the ideas that it expresses. I have written for them on the phrase ‘Word of God’, on the theme of ‘Mission’, on the meaning of ‘Apocalypse‘, on the ministry of ‘Healing’, on the question of ‘Welcome’ and on … Continue Reading

The kingdom of God in Acts 1

We are beginning a sermon series looking at the kingdom of God, and I started by consider the opening three verses of Acts 1 and what they say about the kingdom. There are a number of striking statements that Luke makes in this short passage. First, his reference to Theophilus reminds us of the opening of … Continue Reading