Jesus the Sage (Jan – Apr)               Matthew  5 – 7: The Sermon on the Mount      

Any reader of Mark – our earliest Gospel – cannot help but be impressed by the huge impact Jesus made by what he said and did: his unparalleled authority causes jaw-dropping amazement all around. Matthew’s Gospel closely follows Mark, in both sequence and detail, expounding and expanding on Mark’s basic picture to create a much fuller account both of Jesus’ words and his deeds. Matthew intersperses Jesus’ actions and encounters with five carefully assembled collections of his teaching; the first and most famous of these is the Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew 5 – 7.

We began 2014 with Praise for a New Year (in the morning) and Wisdom for a

New Year (in the evening). On the congregation’s road through Lent to Easter, listening to Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount will be like hearing Wisdom speak in Person. Across the centuries, believers and admirers have gasped at the power and pondered the daring of Jesus’ impossible teaching – and then built (or rebuilt) their house on this rock. His teaching is for followers, both the already signed-up and those who find themselves drawn to Jesus.

As a congregation, and in the name of Jesus, Fisherwick is committed to worship and witness, mission and service in our local community and beyond. 2014 is sure to reveal many opportunities and conceal as many challenges: we could do with some wisdom for taking and meeting them all! If the Sermon on the Mount has one goal, it would be right living, according to Jesus; and if it has one route to goal, it would be a right relation to the Father, through Jesus. Jesus – and this is really Good News – is not just the way to the Father, but the Guide: how much better to follow Someone than just to muddle through, amidst the rush and noise of our lives or the diversity of our activities as a congregation!

So, from Beatitudes to Builders, or from salt and light to sheep and wolves, don’t miss out: join us as, Sunday by Sunday, we taste and savour the food of wisdom and are nourished together by Jesus the Sage.


James the Sage (Jan – Apr)       The Letter of James

On Sunday mornings in Fisherwick, from January till Holy Week, we will be learning how better to follow Jesus, grappling with his challenging teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. On Sunday evenings, meanwhile, our parallel focus will be the Letter of James.

Almost everybody knows a famous slogan from this New Testament Letter: “faith without works is dead” (Jas 2.17,26). For James, faith can never be theory; it is always faith-in-action. For James, having faith (or believing) is meaningless until it becomes lived-out faithfulness. As a result his letter is full of practical wisdom. But James also forces us to look long and hard at ourselves – just like Jesus, his master. Just as Jesus’ teaching could be jaw-dropping, so the wisdom of James the Sage also takes unexpected turns as he hands on the logic-defying tradition of Jesus, for whom God’s grace is extravagant yet demanding love. Long after our New Year’s resolutions have crumbled, James will still be helping us discover, week by week, how to translate our faith into our everyday lives.

Those who join us in worship both morning and evening will find, in the teaching of James the Sage, echoes and developments of the wisdom of Jesus the Sage (in Matthew 5 – 7). The added value will be a real bonus in Christ-centred wisdom for living!