St Clement Church Community Service for the first Sunday in Advent 29.11.20

                                

                                        

        

 

               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 2021 may bring.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

God bless you all.                                                                                                                                             With my love                                                                                                                                        Liz 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 always, and particularly this Advent time. Amen

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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.

                                                                                           

Our Reading is taken from the Gospel of Mark Ch. 13. 24 - 37

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

Response: ‘Glory to you O Lord.’

 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.          Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.                                                                                                                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.                                                           From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.                                                                                                                          Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.                                                                                                                                                But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.                                                                                                         Be aware, keep alert;                                                                                                                         for you do not know when the time will come.                                                                              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 watch.                                                                                                                                         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, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.                                                                                                                                            And what I say to all: Keep awake.’

 

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

 

Reflection

 

‘Stay awake!’                                                                                                                                         I don’t know about you but there have been many times over the last nine months when I have found that very hard to do! Sitting in a chair, reading a book or watching television, I have dropped off and sometimes hours have passed before I come to, again. Why? I think it is because I haven’t been doing my usual, and to me, interesting activities and sadly I have become bored. Many days have seemed to drag and nights have been disrupted and so my ‘body clock’ is confused.                                                                    

‘Stay awake!’

I don’t mean just long enough to read this, but really for the rest of your life. For that’s how Jesus would have us live, awake and alert and looking eagerly and expectantly for His coming. For Christ IS coming again, and we need to be ready, because we don’t know when it will be. We do know that it will be. We just don’t know when, so our Lord tells us today, ‘Stay awake!’

I wonder – how often do we think about the return of Christ? Are we eagerly and expectantly looking for our Lord’s return? Are we awake and alert to such things? Or, are we instead sleepwalking our way through life? If so, then today Jesus is giving us a much-needed, wake-up call.                                         ‘Stay awake!’

You know, the world all around us is asleep spiritually. It’s oblivious to the thought of Christ coming again. Oh, people may well be very busy, hustling and bustling with lots of shopping to do: Black Friday, Cyber Monday – and Sunday as the Lord’s Day gets lost in the kerfuffle. The people of this world may be busy, but spiritually they are asleep, out of it, in a fool’s coma. They’re not conscious or cognizant, not thinking at all about the end times and eternity, about one’s relationship with God, and the fact that this world is indeed coming to an end, and after that, judgement.

Really, we’ve lost Advent. Society at large doesn’t even consider ‘Advent,’ if society at large has even heard of it. Society at large is shopping and wrapping and decorating and, let’s be honest, most of us are right there with them.

But, Advent isn’t really about preparing for Christmas. It’s about preparing for the coming of Christ. And, yes, in a few weeks time, Advent will shift to the coming of Christ in a manger in Bethlehem, but Advent always begins with preparing and waiting for Christ to come again.

Just as the first coming was an event of cosmic proportion, so will the second coming be. Just as the first coming was heralded by a star, when Christ comes again the stars won’t travel, so much as they will fall.                                                           The sun and moon will darken.                                                                                                             And the angels will come to gather Christ’s own into the Kingdom.                                            Our role in the whole thing isn’t to shop, or decorate or wrap. It’s to be alert.                                                 

Christ doesn’t want His people to be sleepy and dull-minded and stuck in a stupour. Jesus wants us awake and alert and ready for His return. Until then, Christ wants us to

be active and doing the work He has given us to do, before the night comes, when no man can work.

Being alert is a spiritual posture. When we’re alert, we see things and notice things that we wouldn’t notice otherwise. If we live spiritually alert, waiting for Christ to come, how much better might we see Him when He enters our room; when He feeds us in the Eucharist; when He shuffles by us on the street.                                                                                    We’re meant to be Advent people – waiting and watching.                                   This year while we shop, and wrap and decorate … let us be alert … watching the stars and the sun and the moon – waiting for Christ to come around the corner and be manifest in ways we wouldn’t even dare to imagine.

 

 

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

 

Merciful God, we come this morning, not in our beloved St Clement Church as a congregation joined by visitors and friends but in the confines of our homes. We are only separated by distance.                                                By your grace and the care and dedication of Reverend Diane and our Reader Liz we are united every Sunday in worship, compassion, friendship and love.

 

Let us pray:                                                                                                                                               As we enter the Church’s new year and the first Sunday of Advent, Almighty God, we pray for our world torn by terrorism, hatred and a disease of such ferocity we are struggling to overcome or control.                                                  Dear Lord, never before in our lifetime, have we needed your compassion, care and love to restore us to some form of normal life - a life we pray when we will emerge a better people. Throughout these dark days which have given us all time to re-examine our lives, be it governors, world leaders or individuals, we pray that wisdom, truth and the deeper knowledge between good and evil will have opened the eyes of each one of us. We pray that we will have a world united in justice, compassion and world peace.

 

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

Lord, we pray for all churches in these difficult times. We bring to you all bishops, priests and church leaders, and all who contribute so much to church life. We also pray for those who at this time can play no part in Sunday worship or any other involvement in church life during lockdown. May we all find patience and hope that through our efforts and guided by our Saviour we will be able to return to church life again soon. We look forward to celebrating Advent and the birth of Jesus Christ.

 

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

We hold in our prayers, refugees, those fleeing to freedom, the homeless, hungry, the suffering and those in despair. We pray also for those grieving for loved ones, those struggling financially or socially during the long, lonely days of lockdown.                                                                                         We pray for all who suffer in body, mind or spirit, the many not known to us as we are not close or in touch with each other.                                                                                            In silence we remember and pray for all in need knowing they are always in your care.

Dear Lord, please lay your healing hands on all who are sick, troubled and in despair – especially remembering at this time, Sue, Kate, Rosemary, Alex and Beth. Give them courage, comfort and peace and the knowledge that you are always near.

 

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

Lord, in our time of fears and troubles we need to remember to thank you for all your gifts to us at this time, our homes and families, food, clean water and freedom.                                                                                                                   We pray for all people in the community risking their own lives to look after us during the pandemic – the doctors, nurses, health care workers, shop workers and delivery drivers, the dustmen and street cleaners who work so hard to provide us with our daily needs. Lord, please guide, strengthen and protect them at this time.   

 

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

 

God of love, as we enter into the season of Advent and approach the birth of the Blessed Christ Child may we be aware of those around us in need. May we be generous, kind and compassionate to those who need help and support, and not be found having ‘no room at the inn.’                                            Lord, please walk with us, guide us on the unprecedented journey and always be at our side.                                                                                                                             Rejoicing in the fellowship of St Andrew, St Clement and the blessed Virgin Mary, we commend ourselves and all Christians, faiths and creeds to your unfailing love.

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

 

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

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 2020 4:11 PM