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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

14 December 2016: Rev'd John Owen, Vicar of Steep and Froxfield with Privett

Rev'd John Owen - Vicar of Steep and Froxfield with PrivettThe continuing story

The phone rang. ‘Will you come into school and talk about the Infancy Narratives in the Bible?’ Year 6 in one of the two local church primaries was studying Matthew and Luke’s versions of the birth of Jesus, and exploring the different angles the two writers take.

The children had found out a lot (and far more than I would have ever known at their age). Matthew is interested in authority and how Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah. Luke, with his strong links in the then Roman Empire, is interested in how Jesus is a Saviour for everyone, Jews as well as Gentiles. He’s keen on ordinary people – young Mary’s reaction to her pregnancy, the shepherds, the stable and the animals. Matthew has the wise men and the escape to Egypt of the young family - figures of authority crop up more in his gospel.

The children were working out why the versions are different, and had come to the view that Matthew and Luke are speaking to different groups. After an hour of answering questions and asking a few of my own, I went home impressed by their maturity and understanding. Their study had the aim of interpreting the story of Jesus’s birth for themselves.

The story continues to give new insights, comforts and challenges today, when we give it our attention. ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ (Luke chapter 1 verse 14)

The PACT Carol Service will take place in The Square at 7:00 pm on Thursday 22 December followed by tea, coffee and mince pies in St Peter's

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