There were two places where he knew he could always find the 'backrow people' , two places where they loved to go and where they would always gather: McDonald's and the churches.
Our Bermondsey Community Carol Service includes readings from Neil Coyle MP, Simon Dyer of Albins, the Headteacher of St James School, and Russell Dryden from the Blue, plus lots of traditional carols, what local people think of Christmas, and solo by Jay Britton:
Odel has participated in a full range of Christmas activities: Christingles, carol services, leafletting and outreach, school nativity and carol services. He has eaten his first mince pie and he has had the chance to compare Christmas customs between his native Rwanda and the UK.
And he has had the chance to view the Christmas lights in the West End (pictured).
If only life was really like that, if only things could make us really happy. If only all you needed was to get the right sofa in your lounge, the right car outside your house, the right dishwasher in the kitchen, and the right clothes in the wardrobe – and, bingo, everything in your life falls into place! If only. Life would be so much easier.
Yet, tempting though it is to believe the adverts that bombard us from all directions –we know in our hearts of hearts they’re very clever fibs. They’re modern day fairy stories, with as much connection with real life as Jack & his Beanstalk, or Snow White and the seven dwarves
But you and I know its all ‘make believe.’ To really sort your life out, you’re going need something more than a re-arrangement of the furniture in your living room. To really sort your life out, you’ve get to get yourself right.
But how do you do that?
That’s where God steps in
to these verses from the Bible that we have just had read to us:
But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour was revealed, he saved us. It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy that he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us. Titus 3.4-5
God has come to us - not because we’ve been so good - but because we need him so badly
Why did Jesus leave the safety and security of his father’s heavenly home in order to be despised & rejected, scorned and mocked, and ultimately to be nailed to a cross to die?
Our verse says he didn’t come because of ‘any good deeds that we ourselves had done. ’He didn’t come down to organise an awards ceremony, like the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Show or an investiture at Buckingham Palace. He didn’t come to dish out medals to us because we have all led such good lives. He didn’t come to congratulate us on making such a brilliant job of running the world on his behalf
No, the Bible says it was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy. It was because he took pity on us. It was because we were messing up so badly: our own lives, other people’s lives, the very planet we live on, that God decided to come to us.
When God looks at you and me and sees the mess we’re in without him, when he sees the suffering of this world, his heart is full of love and mercy. In fact, so great was that mercy that he decided to visit Planet Earth in person. He decided to become one of us
He’s come, because we need rescuing so badly, that why he gave his Son the name Jesus: the name means rescuer
Away in a manger no crib for a bed, the little Lord Rescuer lays down his sweet head
But how has God come to rescue us?
God has come not to give us a makeover but a whole new start
You can give your house a makeover, you can even give your face a makeover, but God came to earth to give you much more: a whole new start:
Our verse says: he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us. Titus 3.4-5
God has come to wash so we’re clean
God has come to give us a new life, like being born all over again
Our kind and loving saviour God, has had mercy on us. He wants to come into our lives and give us a whole new start
That’s the wonderful message of Christmas.
God loves you. He’s come to earth not because of the good things you have done but because of all the wrong. Jesus has died in your place.
Right now you can get a new start with God, and your life can start falling into the place our kind and loving saviour has planned for it.
For twenty-eight years she has worked for St James's School. Today she retires.