Printable services to use at Church or home Advent 4

                                

                                        

        

 

               St Clement Church Community Sunday Service

 

Good morning to you all as we celebrate our Sunday service of Advent 4 whether in our own homes or church building.  

A few dates for you:

On Thursday 24th at 11.30pm we shall be celebrating Midnight Mass.

On Friday 25th at 10am we will hold our Christmas morning service.

And on Sunday 27th again at 10am, I shall be in church to read our Community Sunday Service of the Word if you care to join me!

Sadly, due to Covid restrictions we haven’t been able to have our wonderful 9 Lessons and Carols Service, which is not only an act of worship but is also a great social occasion that everyone looks forward to each year! 

However, Steve and Charlotte Irwin of the Atlantic Cluster have very cleverly produced a 9 Lessons and Carols video which you might like to watch by the following link (during which you’ll be treated to a quick view of me and some of my teddy bears, I shall say no more….)

https://www.atlanticcoastcluster.org.uk/video/carol-service.php

(Press control button down at same time as clicking on link….)

 

I hope you all have a blessed and happy Christmas, and may Christ’s love sustain you always. 

Much love to you all,

Rev Di and family xx

 

 

 

Let us pray;

Heavenly Father, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of the promised saviour: fill us your servants with your grace, that in all things we may embrace your holy will and with her rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

 

Our prayers of Penitence

The Virgin Mary gave herself fully to doing God’s will. 

Let us confess our failings in the service of our Lord.

 

When we are faced with a challenge, but regress into old attitudes,

Lord, have mercy.

 

When we face difficult times but fail to trust in your good purposes,

Christ, have mercy.

 

When we look inwards to our own selfish concerns rather than outwards to a world in need,

Lord, have mercy.

 

May our almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon and forgiveness of all our sins, and the grace and the strength of the Holy Spirit. 

Amen.

 

 

Let us pray our Collect for today

God our Redeemer, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of your Son: grant that, as she looked for his coming as our Saviour, so we may be ready to greet him when he comes again as our Judge; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

                                                                                           

Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Luke (1.26-38)

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

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.

The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ 

But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 

Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 

And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’

Then the angel departed from her.

 

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

 

Reflection

The story we’ve just heard is familiar to us, so let’s talk about what we know…

The angel Gabriel is sent by God to a town called Nazareth, to visit to a young girl named Mary who is betrothed to a man called Joseph.

Joseph is of the house of David, that is, he’s descended from King David, and that’s a crucial piece of information, because Gabriel is going to give news about a birth, and it’s important for us to know that the unborn child will be a descendent of David, King of Israel, the man after God’s own heart.

So, moving on, Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son, and notice, he doesn’t ask her permission, nor does he go to her parents, who aren’t even mentioned. Remember this is the first century, and Mary is her father’s property.

But God doesn’t let that kind of social convention get in his way, so Gabriel bypasses the family, goes directly to Mary herself and lets her know that as far as God is concerned, this is a done deal.

And notice another thing as well, she doesn’t even get to name her own child, that too has been decided already, but I expect, when you’re favoured by God – as Gabriel tells Mary she is – you give up the right to such things.

After all, Gabriel tells her, her son ‘will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.’  Who can argue with that?

So now we can see how the pieces begin to fit together. Jesus, who is descended from David through his earthly father Joseph, will assume the throne that for so long has been abandoned to small-minded political forces.

Not only that, but Jesus will reign over the house of Jacob, so now the lineage goes back even farther than David, all the way to Jacob, and his kingdom will never end.

So….God has a plan to restore the house of Israel through the lineage of David, and is now beginning to fulfill the promise he made centuries before, that God would build David a house… a throne that would be “established forever” As we can read in the book of 2 Samuel.

If we’d been in the room we might have seen the recognition in Mary’s eyes. Even though she wasn’t allowed in the area of the synagogue where the men were taught, no doubt she’d learned a number of things in her few years on earth. She’d know full well about the hope of Israel, that the long-awaited Messiah would come and reclaim Israel’s dominance in the world. Could it be true then, that she was the one chosen by God to give birth to this new king?

But then reality set in and questions arose in her heart, ‘wait a minute, how can this be?’

Gabriel then told Mary about her cousin Elizabeth, who was also with child, and he didn’t tell her to pay Elizabeth a visit, but we know Mary did, and that was without doubt a good idea, because Elizabeth would understand in a way that no one else could, as her husband Zechariah had been visited by an angel too, and while he couldn’t talk about it at the moment, he could at least confirm for Mary that this wasn’t all a dream, Angels really do come calling. They really do.

So, those are the elements of the story that we know, but somewhere, along the way, we have to think about what we don’t know. And what we don’t know is what happened after the angel left the room.

You know how it is when we’re asked a tough question, or we’re faced with a difficult situation. Later, we slap our self on the forehead and say; “I wish I’d said this…” or “I wish I’d said that…” we can never think of the right response at the time.

Was it that way with Mary? “Why didn’t I ask Gabriel this while I had the chance?” Will Joseph stick around? Will my parents still love me? Will my friends stand by me or will I get dragged into town and stoned..?

Will there be someone there to help me when my time comes? Will I know what to do? You say the child will be king of Israel, but what about me?”

“Gabriel, what’s it going to be like?” I expect Mary wished she’d asked when he was still there, but now, Gabriel is gone, the angel has left the room.

But, let’s face it, all the angels in heaven couldn’t possibly have prepared Mary for what she’d experience, because that’s just not the way it works, we’ve got to go through it before we know what it’s like, the only way we can really understand anything is in hindsight.

And that’s true in regard to just about everything that happens to us in life, and it’s also true when it comes to the faith journey we all find ourselves on.

We can make all the plans we want, but what’s the saying? ‘Life happens whilst making other plans.’ And that was certainly true for Mary’s life. Again, let’s talk about what we know.

There was the temple incident when Jesus was twelve, when Mary and Joseph had to go back to Jerusalem to find their son, and they found him hardly less than contrite about the whole thing. “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

There was the wedding at Cana. “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” Sounds pretty harsh, doesn’t it?

As well as the time Jesus was teaching in Capernaum, when he hears Mary and his family are outside the house, he looks at those who are seated around him and says, “Who are my mother and my brothers? Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” 

All this, not to mention what happened at Calvary. She was there, Mary was at the foot of his cross, she was there.

But Gabriel had said nothing about what life would be like, and Mary hadn’t thought to ask, not at the time anyway, and if such thoughts came to her, it was after the angel had left the room.

 

But my guess is that if we had the opportunity to ask Mary; “If you could do it all over again would you still say yes?” she would tell you that it was the greatest honour any woman could possibly receive… that even with the pain she had to endure, the uncertainty that came with raising this special child, the sense of estrangement that came with knowing that while he was her son he didn’t belong to her as much as he belonged to the world, as well as the pain of seeing him die like a criminal on the cross, that despite all this, she would still say yes.

And I really do think that’s a question we should try to answer this Christmas.

There comes the time for each of us, when God comes calling, and how we respond is eternally important. Because what we do after the angel has left the room tells the real story, doesn’t it?

So, when an angel comes calling and says; “Have I got a proposition for you!” even if it sounds outrageous at the time and we might think; ‘How on earth can I do that?’ we should just say yes, then put on our seatbelt and get ready to take a ride, because when the angel leaves the room, life is about to happen.

Let us pray; Lord, as life happens to us, may we find your presence to be as real as Mary did when she was visited by the angel. And when you ask anything of us, may our response be the same as hers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

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 Daphne Hawkins

As we gather this morning the fourth Sunday in Advent either in our beloved St Clement Church or at home, let us take a few moments remembering our difficulties that have faced us this Christmas.

Unable to take part in our usual preparations , let us bring to mind not just our challenges but those faced so long ago when a mother gave birth to the baby Jesus in a manger; no room at the inn.

A baby born to be our saviour a baby born to be king.

 

Let us pray:

God our merciful Father, we thank you for guiding and protecting us and keeping so many of us from contracting the virus that has been with us so long.

We pray you will be with all those suffering Covid 19 and their loved ones who can only hope and pray.  Please give comfort to all families that have lost loved ones in this pandemic especially those who have given their lives in helping others. We pray that our nation will respond to the help and advice offered by our medical advisors.

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

 

We pray that our government and all world leaders experiencing pandemic and social and economic difficulties will find strength and courage to govern with wisdom understanding and compassion at these unprecedented times.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for our church worldwide, Archbishop Justin, Bishop Philip and Hugh, we pray for reverend Diane and her family, may she find strength and courage in her daily service to her church and community.

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

 

Dear Lord, we remember at this time of year our dear loved ones from St Clement who have passed away.  We have often been unable to be with them when they have been laid at rest. We pray that they are all at peace, and their families and friends know we all care and support them all especially this first Christmas

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for our Queen and the Royal family as she also faces her Christmas without her family members, may she and Prince Philip find comfort and peace in their faith.  Dear lord, may all in sorrow, fear and despair feel your healing touch and your presence always.

Lord in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

 

Sweet child of Bethlehem, grant that we may share with all our hearts in this profound mystery of Christmas. Pour into our hearts the peace which we seek and which you alone can give. Help us to know one another better and live as brothers and sisters together.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Andrews, St Clements and the Blessed Virgin Mary we commend ourselves and all Christians to your unfailing love.

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

 

 

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.  May the peace of God be always with us.  Amen.

 

Blessing

May Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us, scatter the darkness from before our path, and make us ready to meet him when he comes in glory; 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: 19th December 2020 9:59 AM