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               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service

 

Good morning and a ‘Very Happy New Year!’                                                                                      Today is the first Sunday in Advent which is, of course, the beginning of the Church’s New Year. Advent is the time when we prepare for the coming of God’s Son.                                                                                                                      This year, more than any other in recent years, we need to set aside a quiet time each day to gather our thoughts; to think through all that has happened over this last year, to prepare ourselves for the special gift that comes at Christmas and to strengthen ourselves, with God’s help, to face whatever 2022 may bring.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

God bless you all.                                                                                                                                             Love Rev Di and family                                                                                                                                     xx                            

 

Advent brings us closer to Christ who is with us. We are reminded that no one is beyond the reach of God’s love. We wait with joy for the Lord, the hope of the world. We are called to reach out to all in need, sharing our hope for a world transformed.

 

Let us pray:

God of hope, who brought love into this world, be the love that dwells between us.                                                                                                                      God of hope, who brought peace into this world, be the peace that dwells between us.                                                                                                                               God of hope, who brought joy into this world, be the joy that dwells between us.                                                                                                                                              God of hope, the rock we stand upon, be the centre, the focus of our lives this Advent and always. Amen

 

Hymn: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

 

Our prayers of Penitence

God of healing, God of wholeness, we bring our brokenness, our sinfulness, our fears and despair, and lay them at your feet.

Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy

 

God of healing, God of wholeness, we hold out hearts and hands, minds and souls to feel your touch, and know the peace that only you can bring.

Christ have mercy.  Christ have mercy

 

God of healing, God of wholeness, this precious moment in your presence and power, grant us faith and confidence that here broken lives are made whole.

Lord have mercy.  Lord have mercy

 

May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our failings, and bring us to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Let us pray our Collect for today

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 forever.      Amen.

 

                                                                                           

Readings:

Jeremiah 33. 14-16

1 Thessalonians 3.9-end

 

Hymn; Hills of the North Rejoice’

 

Gospel Luke 21.25-36

(Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke.) 

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’

 

Jesus said; ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’

Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’

 

(This is the Gospel of the Lord.  Response: ‘Praise to you, O, Christ’)

 

Reflection

Company’s coming! That’s the word for the day, and what do we do when company’s coming, especially if it’s somebody really important? We pull out all the stops, we clean the house from top to bottom, get out all the best tableware and roll out the red carpet. We all do it. It’s our way of honouring special guests, and who could be more special than Jesus?

As Christmas approaches, magazines have photos of immaculate houses with elaborate Christmas trees and decorations, with lights and garlands everywhere. And the pictures of the Christmas Dinner table – oh, my gosh, all the festive food set out for the arriving guests, how could they not feel welcomed and honoured to be there?

Well, that’s what we’re about today,  getting our house in order, making it look like a place fit for a king, because – well, that’s who’s coming; Jesus Christ, who, in the words of a Christmas carol was; “born a child and yet a king.”

But the gospel reading for today you might have noticed, didn’t say a word about the birth of Jesus.  Why’s that? You might ask…..and I’m glad you did, otherwise I’d have nothing to talk about……

It’s because Advent is a time when we not only focus on Jesus’ coming as a baby born in Bethlehem, his first coming, if you will, it’s also a time when we focus on his second coming as king of kings and Lord of Lords.

To be honest, not all denominations talk a lot about the Second Coming, and that’s a shame, because it’s just as much part of the gospel as Jesus’ birth.

In fact, the gospel story isn’t complete until you sing all three verses: Past, present and future tense. As in the words of the Communion liturgy: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

Or, as we read in the Book of Revelation: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” 

Faith in Jesus Christ is a historic fact, a present-day reality and a future hope. We celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas, we affirm the presence of the living Christ in the form of the Holy Spirit, and we believe that just as Christ was with God in the beginning, so Christ will stand with God at the end of time to reign over all creation.

On this first Sunday of Advent we hear the prophecy of the Second Coming in his own words, as Jesus told his disciples,

 

“There will be signs in the sun, moon, and the stars;
and on the earth distress among nations,
confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves;
people will faint from fear and foreboding
of what is coming upon the world:

for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud
with power and great glory.

Now when these things begin to take place,
stand up, and raise your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near.”

 

 

So, how do we understand the second Coming? Basically, in two ways:

Firstly, there’ll come a day when Jesus will return and reign as the sovereign Lord of all creation, but no one knows when that will be.

As Jesus said; “No one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only”

In the meantime, it’s up to us to be prepared, and live each day in such a way that, when Jesus does return, he’ll recognise us as his own and welcome us into his kingdom.

And that’s the second part, in our present day reality he comes when and where we least expect him – in the guise of strangers, the unloved, the poor, the homeless, and the oppressed.

In this sense, he comes not once or twice, but over and over, and our job is to recognise him in such folk and greet him as a welcomed guest.

And so, what we’re about today is getting ready. Company’s coming, and the Good News is as we prepare to welcome him into our hearts, our lives, our church and our homes, we awaken to the fact that he’s already here among us to bless us with the gifts of his peace, hope and love.

Thanks be to God.  Amen.

 

Hymn; Lo He comes with Clouds Descending’ 

 

 

Affirmation of our faith

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe and trust in God the Father, source of all being and life, the one for whom we exist. 

We believe and trust in God the Son, who took our human nature, died for us and rose again. 

We believe and trust in God the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the people of God and makes Christ known in the world. 

This is the faith of the Church. This is our faith.

We believe and trust in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

 

Our Intercessions this week are written by Elizabeth Davies

Prayer is the burden of a sigh,                                                                            

the falling of a tear,                                                                                                   

the upward glancing of an eye                                                                                         when none but God are nigh.

 

Dear Lord

On this the First Sunday in Advent, we bring before You all our innermost thoughts and concerns as we prepare to celebrate the anniversary of Your birth.

Too often we are too busy with all our preparations for Christmas and we forget to spend time preparing ourselves for the celebration of Your birth.

Too often we are too busy to set aside a quiet time each day to talk to You and to ask for Your guidance and forgiveness.

In this time of Advent may we prepare ourselves, in quiet humility, to join with those who visited the stable, so long ago, to offer our gift to You – the only gift we really have, the gift of ourselves.

Lord, hear us    Lord, graciously hear us

 

Lord, for over eighteen months, churches across the world have been struggling to keep in touch and support their members and the communities in which they are. During Advent this year, please help church communities to prepare and be ready, in many imaginative ways, for the coming of the Christ Child. Help us to understand through them the different truths about God’s amazing love and Grace.

Lord, hear us   Lord, graciously hear us

 

During this time, may we remember those, in our own families, communities, country, and around the world who are so desperately hoping that Christmas this year will be a time of real celebration.                                                                                                            We bring before You all those who are still struggling to find ways to contain and beat the Covid virus; those whose families have been torn apart by the virus; those who live in poverty that makes each day an interminable struggle; those in war torn countries, for whom fear and terror are constant emotions; those who are lonely or in despair.

We pray that they may feel Your love and blessing and know that they are never alone.

Lord, hear us   Lord, graciously hear us.

 

Lord, we pray for those we see and talk to everyday; for those we often argue with and misunderstand; for those who brighten our lives and make us smile; for a greater thankfulness and appreciation of those we usually take for granted.

 

We ask Your forgiveness for when we have fallen far short of living our lives as You would have us live them; for the unkind or thoughtless words we have said, for the unkind or thoughtless deeds we have done, for the putting of ourselves and our own wishes before the needs of others.

May we, this Advent time, think of how we can truly become Your followers living our lives and treating others as You would wish us to do.

Lord, hear us    Lord, graciously hear us.

 

We bring before You all those who are suffering in body, mind or spirit. May they know that if they stretch out their hand to You, You will take it and lovingly guide and comfort them through whatever they may have to face.

We especially remember Daphne and Dave, Ken and Diane, Ollie, Max, Father David, Margaret and Brian.

We bring before you all those who have died this week, those known to us and those who have passed unnoticed.  We especially remember those who died in the English Channel trying to get to what they thought was the ‘promised land.’ We ask that You welcome them into the eternal peace of Your kingdom and comfort their families and friends who are left behind.

Lord, hear us   Lord, graciously hear us.

 

Dear Lord,

O Thou by whom we come to God, 

the Life, the Truth, the Way,  

the path of prayer thyself hast trod;                                                                    

Lord, teach us how to pray.  

 

Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen

 

Gathering our prayers and praises into one, let us pray with confidence as Jesus taught us;

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who 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.

Hymn; ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’      

 

The Peace

May the peace of Christ sanctify us: may he so strengthen our hearts in holiness that we may be blameless before him at the coming of our Lord Jesus with his saints.  Amen.

 

Advent God, we journey with You to Bethlehem’s stable and a new-born King, ears attuned to the song of angels, eyes alert for Bethlehem’s star.                                                                                                                                      Forgive us if on our journey we are distracted by the tempting offers of this world. Keep our hearts aflame with the hope of Christmas and the promise of a Saviour. Amen

 

Blessing

May God give us grace to follow his saints in faith, hope and love; and may the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among us, those whom we love, and remain with us always.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Page last updated: 26th November 2021 8:32 AM