First Sunday After Christmas

He Qi - Flight into Egypt

Escape to Egypt
Matthew 2: 13-20 The Message

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”

Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”

Herod, when he realized that the scholars had tricked him, flew into a rage. He commanded the murder of every little boy two years old and under who lived in Bethlehem and its surrounding hills. (He determined that age from information he’d gotten from the scholars.)

That’s when Jeremiah’s sermon was fulfilled:
“A sound was heard in Ramah, weeping and much lament. Rachel weeping for her children, Rachel refusing all solace,
Her children gone, dead and buried.”

Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.” Continue reading “First Sunday After Christmas”

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2014

He Qi - The Magi

The Magi [Art by He Qi. http://www.heqiart.com]

Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-12 (The Message)
The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant…. Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced. While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant….”

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village… a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signalled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

When word of their inquiry got to Herod, he was terrified…. Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religion scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” They told him, “Bethlehem, Judah territory….”

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as devout as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the birth-announcement star appeared. Then he… said, “Go find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. Continue reading “Fourth Sunday of Advent, 2014”

Second Sunday of Advent 2014

He Qi - Visitation

The Visitation
[Art by He Qi. http://www.heqiart.com]
Blessed Among Women
Luke 1:39-56 (The Message) 
Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and travelled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly, “You’re so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed! And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me? The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears the babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy. Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!”

And Mary said, “I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Saviour God. God took one good look at me, and look what happened – I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others. His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him.

He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.


Advent: a waiting place
Two women in similar situations with entirely different stories. Their stories run side by side, coming together at times, moving apart at others.
Two people whose stories are part of a much bigger story of God that neither can yet see or understand. Continue reading “Second Sunday of Advent 2014”

First Sunday of Advent 2014

HeQi_Annunciation

Note: I was away on the first Sunday of Advent. That is why I post quite late in the Advent time. Apologies. Again, thanks for this to my friend Mark Pierson, from World Vision New Zealand.

ANNUNCIATION  (Announcement)  [Art by He Qi. http://www.heqiart.com]

Luke 1:26-38 (The Message)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”

She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: you will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus. He will be great, be called ‘Son of the Highest’. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David; he will rule Jacob’s house forever – no end, ever, to his kingdom.”

Mary said to the angel, “But how? I’ve never slept with a man.” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Highest hover over you; therefore, the child you bring to birth will be called Holy, Son of God.”

“And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Yes, I see it all now….” Then the angel left her.

Advent: a waiting place
Mary was waiting to get married.
Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, had been waiting to get pregnant, but she was well past child-bearing age. She had waited a long time. Continue reading “First Sunday of Advent 2014”

Cristos a inviat!


He Qi – Ressurection
(See HERE an article on the artist.) Continue reading “Cristos a inviat!”