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Memorize & Ponder for Sunday May 11 & 18, 2014

Reflections on Emmanuel – God Is With Us

Matthew 1:22-23  (NRSV)

All this took place to fulfill
what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call him Emmanuel,
which means, ‘God is with us’.”

Throughout 2014, the Christian community at Brentwood Presbyterian Church is getting to know Jesus, the Christ, in a refreshing and transformative way. We invite you to listen for what the Spirit is saying in the text, then question how those insights might change the ways you see things and act in the world. Share your thoughts during the week on the meaning the Spirit creates for you in this text by posting a comment here.

A Provocative Ponder

Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us provoke one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together … (Hebrews 10:23-25a)

When I first came to Brentwood over four year ago, and we were exploring with each other the core convictions of our Christian faith, this crucial affirmation from Matthew’s gospel came up over and over again.

Our faith is centred on the conscious conviction that God is with us.  And, as we have seen in our ponderings so far this year, that God surrounds us with the provocative and protecting power of his love so we can be blessings in everything that we do.

The quote is from the book of the prophet Isaiah, where Christians found the majority of the promises of God that were fulfilled in Jesus, the Christ.  Isaiah focuses on the promises and the problems of Jerusalem – the aspirations that God had for this centre of faith and the disappointments that God experienced as his people distorted his will to abuse themselves, others, and God in a wide variety of ways.  In Jesus, God makes the final promise to be with us forever, in spite of our failures, to equip us with the riches of grace to be ‘in Christ,’ to be the blessings God created us to be.

The assurance of God’s loving presence is our ultimate foundation for a flourishing life.  That’s what we nourish here at Brentwood.  Just how to best nourish this faith is what we will explore further over the next couple of weeks.

Join us in our study groups and worship services to ponder together what the Spirit is teaching us through this text.

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