St. Mary's Church

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Fourth Sunday of Advent

19 Dec 2020 • General news

2 Samuel 7. 1-11, 16

1Now when David, the king was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’ 3Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you.’

4But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: 5Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. 7Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ 8Now therefore you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the Lord declares to you, David, that the Lord will make you a house. 16Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.

Romans 16. 25-27

25To God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages 26but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith – 27to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.

Luke 1. 26-38

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ 29But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He 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. 33He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ 34Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ 35The 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. 36And 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. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.’ 38Then 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.

   

Advent Wreath

The Fourth Sunday of Advent: Love

Leader:Last Sunday we lit the candle of joy.We light it and the candles of hope and Peace again as we remember that Christ will come again and bring to the world everlasting peace and joy.(The first three candles are lit)

The Fourth candle of Advent is the Candle of Love.

It’s light is meant to remind us of the love that God has for us.

Jesus shows us God’s perfect love.He is God’s love in human form.

The bible says that “God so loved the world

that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him

should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Love is patient, love is kind and envies no one.Love is

never boastful or conceited, rude or selfish.Love is not

quick to take offence, it keeps no records of wrongs, it

does not gloat over other people’s troubles, but rejoices in

right, the good, and the true.There is nothing that love

cannot face, there is no limit to its faith, to its hope, to its

endurance.  Love never ends.

We light this candle today to remind us of how God’s

perfect love is found in Jesus.

The fourth candle is lit.

All: Loving God, we thank you for your gift of love - shown

to us perfectly in Jesus Christ our Lord.Help us

prepare our hearts to receive Him.Bless our worship.

Help us to hear and to do your word.We ask it in the

name of the one born in Bethlehem.Amen.

We sing: Let there be love shared among us,

let there be love in our eyes.

Thought for Advent 4 by Malcolm Tyler

Over the next few weeks we shall cover almost the entirety of Jesus life. It is a whistle stop tour which starts today with the message of Gabriel to Mary telling her of God’s plan to bring a saviour to the human race through her. In a few days’ time we shall be nine months further on, celebrating his birth and a couple of weeks later his baptism, some 30 years later! Of course in reality it did take 9 months from Gabriel’s message to the birth of Jesus and a further 30 years or so until his baptism by John. God’s plans take time to unfold and sometimes we get upset when things do not happen as we might like or certainly at the pace we might want.

This year has certainly had something to teach us about patience. I do not believe that God sent the pandemic upon us, nor even that he sat idly by as we have all struggled with it. I do believe however that we have learnt something very important about human nature through it. We are a people who need each other. Our health depends the relationships we make and foster. Maybe this has been something that we have needed to learn, maybe too part of God’s plan - I do not know. But I hope we have learnt something important - that we need each other and God himself.

In our western world in which we have become used to self sufficiency and looking after our own interests this is an important message. Mary herself had few to turn to. Joseph, according to Matthew’s gospel, wanted initially to put her away quietly and not bring attention to the fact that she was expecting a child out of wedlock. He was convinced otherwise only because of a dream. I imagine too that the people of Nazareth had plenty to say behind Mary’s back about the imminent birth. Perhaps she was even glad to have to travel to Bethlehem to give birth and then beyond to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath. The one she had to turn to was God himself. And it is this example of trust and obedience that we recall today. In spite of everything, Mary put her trust in God and was vindicated in that belief.

Whatever 2021 may hold in store for us individually, and it is worth remembering that at this time last year few if any of us would have foreseen the events of 2020, we can still put our faith and trust in God himself. His promises are sure and he is faithful. I have seen many wonderful examples of human care this year. The work carried about by our health workers in the NHS, the work of teachers and others trying to support our children’s education and the care of people within churches and other faith groups for their followers and others has shown us the importance of relationship. There are many other examples too, far too numerous to mention but for me they all demonstrate the faithfulness of God, in whose image we are created. We, who are created in God’s image, care for each other because God cares for us. He will continue to do so Covid 19 or not.


Intercessions for Sunday 20 December 2020

Father, amidst the hustle and bustle of the Christmas preparations help us to find you. Let us find moments of stillness and calm in order to reflect and to prepare for your coming.

Father, we give thanks for the example of Mary, for her deep faith and obedience to you. Just as Mary’s heart sang with gratitude for the blessings bestowed on her, let us remember all that we have been given. Thank you for all you provide for us and as we face a Christmas different to those celebrated before, help us to reach out and share with others so they too may feel blessed. Help us to be humble and kind throughout this festive season and to respond to the needs of those around us without wanting something in return.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Father, we pray for those in positions of authority and power asking that they work for the common good. As we reflect on a world ravaged by the Coronavirus we pray that all peoples of the world may be given access to the vaccines available to fight this virus no matter what their situation, age or where they live in the world. Fill world leaders and decision makers with compassion and a heart for the poor, the needy and the marginalised. Give us the strength to play our part in ensuring equality for all.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Father, as Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, we pray for families who are spending this Christmas apart. We pray for those who have chosen to follow advice to limit social get togethers and who will miss seeing family members both young and old. We give thanks knowing that your love is always with them, we pray especially for those who have no one to share this special time of year with and who feel even more lonely at Christmas. Help us to find ways to reach out safely to those in our community who are alone, to share a smile, a doorstep greeting or to leave a card or gift so that they feel included and cared for.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Father, we pray for all those feeling incredibly weary and exhausted from long days and nights at work over the last few weeks and months. We think especially of those in our hospitals and health services, for those in schools and those serving us in the supermarkets or delivering items to our door so that we can stay safe at home. Sustain them and give them patience to cope through the demands of their work over this busy time of year. Help us to show our gratitude to those who support or provide a much-needed service for us.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Father we pray for all those suffering and in pain in body mind or spirit. We think of those undergoing treatment and pray that you give them strength to cope with all they face. Bless those who are anxious, worried or confused -give them hope and a confidence to face the future. We ask for your protection during this pandemic – draw us ever closer to you and help us all work together to limit the further spread of this virus across the world. Keep us strong in faith, hope and love.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Father we pray for those who have lost someone special so close to Christmas whether through an expected or a sudden death. Be with those who mourn, console them and surround them with your love so that through shared memories of their loved one they can face tomorrow. May we be reminded of your promise to prepare a place for us and have confidence that those we have lost are deeply loved by you for eternity. Give us the words to comfort those who have been bereaved so that they may know your love.

Lord in your mercy

Hear our prayer

Father, as we prepare for your coming and continue our Advent journey, help us not to be engulfed with greed and selfishness as we prepare for Christmas but to look constantly to see how we can best share your love with the world.

Accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen

Malcolm Tyler is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Morning Prayer

Time: Dec 21, 2020 09:30 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87087731395?pwd=QnZDUS9BU1dsY003OWhFeDl3SlU2QT09

Meeting ID: 870 8773 1395

Passcode: MP2112

Malcolm Tyler is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Morning Prayer

Time: Dec 22, 2020 09:30 AM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81161010630?pwd=YlJycnFIYVlqdTVtOG9sZEVtNEV3QT09

Meeting ID: 811 6101 0630

Passcode: MP2212