Press the play button to listen to the recording or click on the download link to download a .mp3 file to your computer.

Psalm 80.1-8,18-20* / Romans 1.1-7Matthew 1.18-25

We live in an era where the wellbeing business makes lots of restorative products and claims.

  • skin care cream to restore your natural spring.
  • green drinks made from spinach, avocado and algae to restore .
  • Weekend retreats to restore your sanity.

Restore, restore, restore.

And in our Psalms reading for the day, the psalmist urges God to restore them.

‘Restore us, o God Almighty. Make your face shine upon us. That we might be saved.’ v3 & v7

But yet in this very idea of restoration, the idea of returning to the way it was is somewhat paradoxical. Growing up me and my brother would play football manager video games, my brother was pretty good at it, because he would save the video game before every match and if his team didn’t win, he would simply hit the reset button to restore the saved game…and then proceed but with hindsight and the knowledge of a possible outcome.

But yet in life restoration isn’t quite as simple. There might be in your moments in your life that you wish you could return to … or broken relationships that you wish you could restore. But you can’t just unforget what you have learnt. The things you see, hear, experience and learn shape the way you view the world around you.

Working as one of the diocesion mission enablers I often hear people who want their churches restored to the good olde days… a full restoration of the glory days when our churches were full of people. It feels like people want to hit a reset button and restore the church to when it was winning. The good new is that we have a God is who in the business of restoring…but God does things his way and that doesn’t always happen in the way we expect or anticipate it to happen.

The nation of Israel needed restoration, which many expected the messiah to return in the form of a prophet or a king who could redeem and restore. But God being God and doing things God’s way choose the form of an fragile infant, Jesus to restore the relationship between humankind and God.

This action was very unorthodox, it was very unglamorous, it was very God.

So at Christmas we stop, think and celebrate the birth of Christ who was the restorer of the relationship between God and Humankind. Maybe we need to stop thinking about the restoration of our churches to the good olde days but the restoration of or creation of a relationship between people in our communities and God and Maybe its within the unpredictable, the unglamorous, and the alternative worship communities is the scared meeting place where God is restoring and shining his face to those who seek him.