Rev Olwen Woolcock

ADVENT SUNDAY – 29th November 2021

ADVENT SUNDAY – 29th November 2021

ADVENT SUNDAY  –  29th November 2021
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Order of Service

Good Morning everybody. Welcome to our service of worship on Advent Sunday. This is the first Sunday of the new church year. The gospel readings during this year are centred on the gospel of Mark. Thank you to Julia Freeman and Diana Dunsford for taking part in this service.
 
HYMN O Come O Come Emmanuel
Peterborough Cathedral Choir
Recorded live at Peterborough Cathedral, Autumn 2020
           
 [* Copyright details below]     
 (Hymn only available on main video above)

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you
And also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

The Advent Candle is lit – Advent Week 1

A candle burns, the sign of our hope.
God of hope, come to us again this Advent.
May your hope live within us,
burning as a light in our lives.
Amen.

Prayer of Penitence

When the Lord comes,
he will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness,
and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
Therefore, in the light of Christ let us confess our sins.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us,
forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.
Amen.

May the God of love and power
forgive you and free you from your sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

KYRIE
Kyrie Eleison (Russian)


The Collect

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.  
Amen.

Old Testament Reading

Isaiah 64:1-9

64 
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
    so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
[a] as when fire kindles brushwood
    and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
    so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
    you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right,
    those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
    because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
    and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
    or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
    and have delivered[c] us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
    and do not remember iniquity for ever.
    Now consider, we are all your people.


This is the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

HYMN: Hark the glad sound the saviour comes


Gospel Reading

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you O Lord.

Mark 13: 24-37

But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light,
25 and the stars will be falling from heaven,
    and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
28 ‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly I tell you; this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
32 ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

This is the gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

Over the last week or two you may have seen some reporting in the newspapers or on social media about people already putting up their Christmas trees- even before Advent begins. And those who sold real trees were campaigning to have the right to open up shop for these perceived essential items- worried about lost sales. The Christmas lights have gone up, the shop windows are decorated even though the shops have been closed. There was a photo on a news website of children gazing longingly at the coloured baubles and Christmas decorations in a shop window.

I think all of this speaks about longing – a longing for Christmas as it should be – a longing for this celebration to go ahead – when people are fed up with the restrictions on normal life, when they’re not sure how they’re going to be able to celebrate or who they will be able to be able to get together with. It’s a proclamation to the world that Christmas is going to happen and there will be festivity and joy – even in the midst of struggle and bleakness and boredom and fear and worry. In other words – that there will be light in the darkness.

This is the longing of Advent.  I wrote in the parish magazine about how the impact of the pandemic put us in touch with the nature of Advent. Advent is about standing in the darkness and wanting and looking and yearning for the light. It’s about standing in the midst of trouble and desperately wanting and searching for that way through to the other side. How desperate people are to get back to normal – look how we are focussed on the prospect of a COVID vaccine. The pandemic has put us in touch with the cry of Advent – the cry which comes out of the deepest places within us – the cry for rescue, the cry for something or someone to come and rescue us in our distress.

This is the cry of Isaiah (that we heard  from Isaiah 64)

 – O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
    so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
 as when fire kindles brushwood
    and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
    so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

 This is the cry from Isaiah to Yahweh – the appeal for the Lord to come down to his people. This is the cry which comes from the days of exile of the people of Israel – the cry which comes from wanting restoration and the world to be ordered as it should. Zion and Jerusalem are in ruins – they have been taken over and laid waste by the Babylonians – the very promised land which the Lord has given to his people has been torn away and the places of worship desecrated and so Isaiah makes this prayer- for the Lord to come and be there – be present to them, to show himself. Isaiah pleads for the Lord to demonstrate his presence with a sign – to cause the mountains to shake as the Lord shook Mount Sinai when Israel camped there on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land. A sign that other nations might recognise and fear – that will show the world that the people of Israel are God’s people and God is on their side.  

We know, with hindsight, that the cry for the Lord to come down to his people is heard and six hundred years after Isaiah’s prayer, the Lord, in his compassion and love for his people does come. He comes and is present to them, present among them, as one of them. This is the wonder and the miracle of the incarnation, the coming of Christ. And that prayer for the Lord to rescue them is also answered, for that is what Jesus, the Christ, the anointed one, does. He rescues people – and in all their struggle and brokenness brings them into a new relationship with God the Father.

Six hundred years is a long wait, most of us have struggled with waiting and longing through six months of the pandemic for life to get better. Waiting is another aspect of Advent – but not just waiting for its own sake. Advent is not simply endurance. Advent is about waiting with faith and hope. Advent is not just longing for the light but also trusting and believing that there will be, in God’s time that light, trusting and believing that in God’s time there will be an answer to prayer. We are still waiting – because we are still called to pray for the Lord to come.

That might sound strange – but one of the other results of the pandemic is that it has brought into relief the injustices and inequalities of today’s world. It has revealed afresh the gulf between rich and poor, men and women, the gulf between races and ethnicities, between those who live in politically stable parts of the world and unstable. It has highlighted the differences of living circumstances, education and health care.  Underlying all these concerns are the two great issues of our time: firstly, how to address climate change and the impact of how we live on the viability of the earth, and secondly how to address the increasing movement of peoples fleeing poverty or conflict.

Christ has come and yet the prayer and the hope and the promise of the New Testament scriptures is that Christ will come again. This is the paradox of Advent, for the one who is the Messiah, the Christ – has come – and we have the stories of his righteousness and his faithfulness to God’s purposes, we know the stories of his just dealings and his care for the poorest and the outsider – and yet  to bring the world to its place of restoration and completeness – where all is reconciled in God and where there is no more hurt, pain, abandonment, destruction, viciousness, exploitation, conflict- then there must be another coming.

We cannot know the day or the hour. The gospel reading exhorted us to watch and wait, to be alert and awake but this is the promise – that Christ will come again.  Advent prompts us to long for that day, to seek that day when God’s promise shall be fulfilled. Advent stirs us to stand alongside the sadness and darkness that we see in our world and seek the light. The prayer is Come Lord Jesus, come with righteousness, come with judgement and restore your people and have mercy on the exploited earth. O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

The Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

Led by Diana Dunsford

HYMN:  Hark a thrilling voice is sounding


The Peace

In the tender mercy of our God,
the dayspring from on high shall break upon us,
to give light to those who dwell in darkness
and in the shadow of death
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.

Although we’re apart let us hold one another in the peace of Christ in a moment of prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer
Let us pray with confidence as our saviour has taught us

Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come; thy will be done,
in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. 
Amen


The Blessing
Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you,
scatter the darkness from before your path,
and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory;
and the blessing …

HYMN: Lo, he comes with clouds descending
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-5ACjv23-Q&feature=youtu.be

Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
Thanks be to God.


BACS Details for St Mary’s, Ketton
Barclays Bank Stamford
The account is in the name of Ketton Parochial Church Council
Sort code 20-81-20
Account number 60547522

BACS Details for All Saints, Tinwell
Barclays Bank
The account is in the name: Tinwell Parochial Church Council
Sort code: 20-81-20
Account number: 70875244

‘Every Valley shall be exalted’ from Handel’s Messiah


* COPYRIGHT DETAILS
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Peterborough Cathedral Choir
Recorded live at Peterborough Cathedral, Autumn 2020
Director of Music: Tansy Castledine
Organist: Christopher Strange
Recording technicians: Chris Pallister of Service-AV, and Eugene Chan
www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk



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