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The Flight to Egypt

Second Sunday of Christmas
1st January 2023

What follows is a worship service which, I pray, you can participate in at a time(s) that are convenient to you. This 'service' will take about forty five (45) minutes.

I pray that you will feel called to ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in this service.

The text that is in reguar typeface (that is what you are reading at the moment) is to be read quietly, while the text that is in bold face (like you are reading right now) is meant to be read aloud.

Opening Hymn:


Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing or read aloud the lyrics, as we remember what we should be looking for above all else.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

Use your mouse to scroll through the contents of each window.

Clicking on the buttons across the tops of the windows below will allow you to zoom in\out,

search, switch to full screen, print, and download the contents to your computer.

The Pewsheet:

Call to Worship:

We meet in the name of God,

Creator of the universe,

source of true humanity,

mother and father of all. Amen.


We meet in the name of Jesus,

Word made flesh,
saviour of fallen humanity, lover of all. Amen.


We meet in the name of the Holy Spirit,

Lord and giver of life,
midwife of new humanity,
inspirer of all. Amen.

An Assurance of Forgiveness

(click the "play" button, below:)

00:00 / 00:18

The Sentence for the Day

I shall cause a righteous branch to spring forth for David;  and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  Then Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely.

The Prayer for the Day (Collect)


Let us pray together.

We thank you, Lord God, for the gift of your Son whom you commanded to be called Jesus;  grant that we may so honour his name on earth, that others may be led to him who alone is Lord and Saviour.  Amen.

A reading from The Old Testament

(click the "play" button, below:)

Isaiah 63:7-9
00:00 / 00:54

A reading from The New Testament

(click the "play" button, below:)

Hebrews 2:10-18
00:00 / 02:44

Pause for a moment of silent reflection.

The Gradual Hymn


Let us continue by watching, and please do feel free to sing along with this beautiful hymn.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:

The Gospel Reading, Matthew 2:13-23

(click the "play" button, below:)

Matthew 2:13-23
00:00 / 02:51

Listen to the sermon:
(click the "play" button below when you are ready to begin)

Sermon Christmas 2 : Tell The Story!
00:00 / 11:31

or, if you prefer, you can read to the sermon, below:


MAY the words of my mouth and the meditations in our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our Redeemer. <Amen>


One of the great traditions of Christmas is the giving and receiving of Christmas cards (more and more emails these days!) from our parish family be they near or far. Even people I haven’t heard from since last Christmas somehow track me down and send Kim and I Christmas joy.


What I noticed this year more than any other is how the people have changed. Some families have grown larger, with weddings and births. Others – because of death or divorce – are smaller. Some people have gray hair … or less hair … or no hair; AND people look older; somehow they got old and I didn’t!


However, this year, I especially noticed the children who have grown up. Babies that I baptised are now at school. Couples that I married bring their children for baptism. My grand-daughter, Summer, has qualified as a doctor and is working in a hospital outside of London.


They grow up so fast, don’t they? I know it’s a cliché, but one day children and grand-children are toddlers, walking around in cute pyjamas and throwing tantrums and then - seemingly the next day - they’re off to uni. It all happened so fast, we don’t know where the years went.


To you who are parents and grand-parents of little ones: the cliché is true. So, share the journey with your kids. Read them books, bring them to church, take them to ballet classes, coach their rugby teams, drive them to their friend's house. Because before you know it, they’ll be grown up. Every parent knows it true; EVERY parent. Even Mary and Joseph.


Seven days ago, we gathered in churches to celebrate our Saviour’s birth. Wasn’t the Baby Jesus precious as he slept in that manger? Didn’t our hearts rejoice when we sang “The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.”


One week later, everything is different. We’re still celebrating Christmas; we’re still singing carols and basking in the glow of the Saviour’s birth, but Mary and Joseph are fleeing Bethlehem to protect their young son.


We’re still in awe of this baby king, but the powers of their world are threatened by Him, and want to destroy Him … and it only took seven days!


Allow me to explain how things changed so quickly for the Christ-child, and how some things have not really changed for us in more 2000 years.


When Wise Men from the east noticed signs in the heavens that the Saviour had been born, they made their way to Bethlehem, by way of Jerusalem. When they tell King Herod about the Saviour’s birth, Herod pretends to worship Jesus, too. “Hey, on your way back home, let me know the exact location so I can send a gift or something” were Herod’s last words to the three wise man.


This is where today’s gospel picks up. The wise men never do come back. In a dream, they find out that the Christ-child’s life was at risk, and they take a different route home. So Herod does a terrible thing: he has all the male infants, under two years old,  living in and around Bethlehem ... killed! “The massacre of The Innocents”. <PAUSE>


So today, as we continue singing “Joy to the World” we read about children dying senselessly, and mothers weeping uncontrollably. These verses, along with other verses in the bible that are almost too painful to read, have been named “texts of terror” by feminist Christian scholar, Phyllis Trible.


You see, terrorism didn’t get invented in our lifetimes. Evil people have been perfecting that dreadful thing since human frailty got them tossed out of the Garden of Eden. Whenever there is an opportunity to stand in the way of peace, or work against love, or insult human dignity, evil people have found a way to do just that. Herod figured if he could eliminate a heavenly king at birth, the earthly kingdom would be his.


As we read on through the gospel narratives, we see that evil people would dog Jesus all the days of His life. <PAUSE>


The dream that the wise men had was also given to Joseph, so he and Mary took their young son off to Nazareth via Egypt, and Nazareth is where Jesus grew up … but that happened all to quickly, as well. One day, Jesus is laughing and playing a backyard game with his friends, and seemingly the next day, he was arguing with the Pharisees in the synagogue. One day he was learning the carpentry trade with Joseph, and not long after that, he was crucified. From wooden cradle to wooden cross in 33 short years. The time went by so quickly. <PAUSE>


All you parents and grand-parents are probably just like me … we love sharing stories of the kids. (I know it embarrasses them when they are present but isn’t that half the fun?) I tell the stories because I love them and I’m proud of them and blessed to have them in my life. <PAUSE>


Now - remember Jesus, born in a manger, belittled by the religious purists, hated by his adversaries, and abandoned by his friends; this Jesus came to prove that ultimately, love wins over evil! There was no other way to show this, except by the life He lived, and the life He gave. <PAUSE>


This message will come to a close in a moment and you’ll get up and go on with your earthly journey BUT BE ENCOURAGED BY THE PURPOSE OF CHRISTMAS.” <PAUSE>.


Who will tell the story that there is hope? Who will tell the story that darkness will eventually give way to light? Who will tell the story that the birth of a baby in Bethlehem was not the end of the story … it was just the beginning? Only those who know the good news can tell the good news … and that is YOU AND ME.


So go, tell the stories, tell the news, the Saviour is born, and all will be well. Thanks be to God!

In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit <AMEN>

Pause and Reflect


Just take a moment now to pause. Bow your head, close your eyes.

Allow these words of Holy Scripture and this interpretation of them today speak to you.

An Affirmation of Our Faith

Let us affirm our faith by listening as "The Apostles Creed" is read to us.
(click the "play" button below when you are ready to listen) 

apostles creed AD
00:00 / 01:03

 ... and now ... let us pray for the Church and for the World, giving thanks for God's goodness.

(click the "play" button below when you are ready to begin) 


The Lord's Prayer


Remembering that we are confident to pray this day, and every day, because Jesus Christ has taught us:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever.   Amen.


Let us conclude our prayers by praying together and aloud:


God of mercy,
you have given us grace to pray with one heart and one voice,
and have promised to hear the prayers
of two or three who agree in your name,
fulfil now, we pray,
the prayers and longings of your people
as may be best for us and for your kingdom.
Grant us in this world to know your truth,
and in the world to come to see your glory. Amen.

The Blessing


The blessing of Almighty God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be with you and all of those whom you love,

on this day and forever more.

A Closing Hymn


In closing our service let us raise our voices in praise and celebration by singing along with our final hymn.

When you are ready - click the "play" button on the video window, below:



Go now to love and serve The Lord,

Go in peace.


Amen, we go in the name of Christ.

Are you missing Holy Communion? Click here.

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