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Advent III - Simeon's Song - Light and Salvation to the World
Written by John Tsang   
Monday, 15 December 2014 21:38

On this 3rd week of Advent we pause to reflect on Simeon’s Song, Nunc DimittisThe setting for this song is the story known as The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Luke begins this part of the Infancy Narrative by referring to three Jewish customs associated with the birth of a child: circumcision (2:21), purification rite of the mother (2:22, 24) and the consecration of the firstborn (2:23).  In these few short verses, Luke highlighted Mary and Joseph’s faithfulness to what was required of the Law (mentioned three times - 2:22, 23, 24) and connected the birth of Jesus to the long standing tradition of the Jewish faith.  As well, I believe that Luke also foreshadowed the climactic moment at the end of Jesus’ life in which He intentionally returned to Jerusalem and the Temple, to end the way of Old Testament sacrifice once and for all (Heb 10:10).  On a devotional note, Joseph and Mary’s willingness to offer to God what little (but the best and most precious ‘thing’) that they had, is something for us all to seriously consider, whether it be our resources, our time, our finances, or even our children.

 

The words of Simeon’s Song are also beautifully preserved for us in Luke 2:29-32:

“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,

you may now dismiss your servant in peace.

For my eyes have seen your salvation,

which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:

a light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and the glory of your people Israel.”

Here, this aged, wise, mature, faithful servant of God, filled and moved by the Holy Spirit finally saw what He was promised (2:26), namely, the consolation of Israel or the Messiah. Simeon, feeling so blessed and content uttered these well-known words, ‘you may now dismiss your servant in peace.”

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 09:52
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Advent II – Zechariah’s Song
Written by Conrade Yap   
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 14:25

What is the Christmas Spirit? Retailers call it ‘shopping.’ Families call it Christmas tree ‘decorating.’ Proud house owners stringing their houses with pretty illumination call it ‘lighting.’ Kitchen personnel preparing cookies call it ‘baking.’ Office workers call it year-end “partying.” Generally, people call it ‘giving.’ If you are Christian, what would you say is the Christmas Spirit?

Continuing our Advent series on Enter the Song, Thomas shared with us last Sunday on the second song: the Song of Zechariah. The Latin name for the song is Benedictus, based on the first word of the Latin translation of “Blessed” in Luke 1:68. Showing us that Luke’s gospel is written theologically rather than historically, the whole song of Zechariah is like a miniature version of the Christian story. It is a story of redemption, where the ‘horn of salvation’ had saved Israel. It is a story of provision in which God showed mercy and grace upon the people of Israel despite their sins. It is also a story of hope and blessings, that the people of God become channels of the good news, to help bring the light of Christ to a world that is still shrouded in darkness.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 14:04
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Advent I - Mary's Song - God is my Redeemer
Written by John Tsang   
Monday, 01 December 2014 13:11

Our Advent journey has begun. In our times of worship, we will be reflecting on the four songs found in the Infancy Narratives of Luke’s Gospel – Songs of Mary, Zacharias, Simeon, and the Angels. Personally, I’m very excited to journey through Advent with the theme of Enter the Songs. Songs have a way of touching us beyond our intellect, it reaches deep into our very being, it awakens affections and emotions, it resonates within us, and can surprise us at the most unexpected moments. These theologically rich songs have been a significant part of our Christian worship. Let us Enter the Songs of joy, peace, hope, and love. Then, in our personal spiritual journey, we follow the daily meditations on the writing of C.S. Lewis, The Grand Miracle. May our personal and corporate Advent journey draw us closer to Christ, the Child, the Saviour of the world.

 

This past Sunday, we began with the story of the Annunciation and the very well-known song of Mary, the Magnificat (Latin for My Soul Magnifies). Mary’s song is one of the oldest Christian hymns and it is one of the most influential passages of our Christian faith. It is sung (or read) daily as an evening song both in the Liturgy of the Hours (Monastic communities) and in the Common Book of Prayers (Anglican tradition). There have been numerous works of art based on this passage: paintings, hymns, and classical choral pieces. All of which have a way of touching our whole being, leading us to the deeper mystery of this very special part of the story of Christ’s birth.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 11:37
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