All Saints’ Church Renhold Bedfordshire, England


SUNDAY 29TH NOVEMBER 2020

ADVENT SUNDAY

PARISH COMMUNION



The Gathering

HYMN

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.

Words of welcome or introduction may be said.

THE CEREMONY OF THE ADVENT WREATH

This takes place on each Sunday in Advent.


We have this Advent ring to remind us of the coming of Jesus, the Light of the world

We light this candle to remind us of God’s people who in every age watch for his coming


ADVENT 1

People of God: awake! The day is coming soon

when you shall see God face to face.

Remember the ways and the works of God.

God calls you out of darkness to walk in the light of his coming. You are God’s children.

Lord, make us one as we walk with Christ today and forever. Amen.


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.

PRAYERS OF PENITENCE

The President introduces the confession:

When the Lord comes, he will bring to light the things now

hidden in darkness, and will disclose the purposes of the heart.

1 Corinthians 4: 5


Therefore in the light of Christ let us confess our sins.

Father eternal, giver of light and grace,

we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,

in what we have thought,

in what we have said and done,

through ignorance, through weakness,

through our own deliberate fault.

We have wounded your love

and marred your image in us.

We are sorry and ashamed,

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 lead us out from darkness

to walk as children of light. Amen.


The Kyrie Eleison is said .

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy


The almighty and merciful Lord

grant you pardon and forgiveness of all your sins,

time for amendment of life,

and the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

COLLECT

The prayer for the day is said:


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.



The Liturgy of the Word

READINGS


Psalm 80

1   Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, •
    you that led Joseph like a flock;
2   Shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim, •
    before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
3   Stir up your mighty strength •
    and come to our salvation.
4   Turn us again, O God; •
    show the light of your countenance, and we shall be     saved.
5  O Lord God of hosts, •
    how long will you be angry at your people’s prayer?
6   You feed them with the bread of tears; •
    you give them abundance of tears to drink.
7   You have made us the derision of our neighbours, •
    and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
8   Turn us again, O God of hosts; •
    show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
18  Let your hand be upon the man at your right hand, •
    the son of man you made so strong for yourself.
19  And so will we not go back from you; •
    give us life, and we shall call upon your name.
20  Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts; •
    show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Glory to the father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end – Amen


New Testament Reading:

1 Corinthians 1.3-9

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

HYMN


GOSPEL ACCLAMATION

The following acclamation or an alternative may be used.

Alleluia, alleluia.

Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.  Mark 1: 3

Alleluia.


GOSPEL READING

When the Gospel is announced the reader says:

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark

Glory to you, O Lord.



Mark 13.24-end

‘But 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 its 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.  Beware, 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 the 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 you I say to all: Keep awake.’ 


At the end:

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.


SERMON


Advent Sunday is the first day in the church’s new year, but unlike any other first day in a calendar it is not really celebrated; no big parties, no popping corks at midnight, no fireworks, to be honest it is not really marked in any way; and if you didn’t know, then you would probably miss it. The church year does not start with a major event such as Jesus’s birth, or death, or resurrection, or ascension, or something from the past that becomes present once again.  No: instead, the new church year starts with a strange darkness and even emptiness, in a real sense of mystery, and a rather tense, almost strange feeling of expectation. It is the beginning of a time of waiting and these days We are not used to and feel uncomfortable with waiting

It doesn’t matter what age we are, each and every one of us can relate to the incessant pace and demands of life in the 21st century compared to when we were younger, it is a life that has increased in pace significantly with the scientific developments in computers and automation especially with the electronic media, which makes us increasingly impatient and intolerant of having to wait. I am sure that I am not the only one who is not happy if my computer screen does not instantly spring into life on demand, when I press that power button!

Well Advent is about watching and waiting for the coming of God to complete his work; but doing so in activity and hope. On this Advent Sunday we who are Christian disciples are reminded by our scriptures that, although the world seems bleak and broken at times, God is going to complete the job he started in Bethlehem on that first Christmas morning, which he continued in Jesus’ life and his loving death and mighty resurrection at Easter. Advent is about the sure and certain hope that God will finish what he has started, that justice and right will triumph in the end and that he wants us to be part of bringing that future to fruition. I wonder, what are your hopes and dreams at present - for yourself, your family, your church, your hopes even for after death? Our lives are full of hopes: worldly, natural hopes, important and trivial. People in some other parts of the world hope for no more war, that there will be food and clean water for them tomorrow, that they will have a roof over their heads, that they simply get safely to the end of the day. I was reading an article this week where the writer said that he asked the same questions of hope to 3 teenagers a few years ago one very hot summer’s afternoon. One wanted to marry and have a family; another wanted to be a doctor; a third hoped to be a beautician. But there was one thing all 3 hoped for: to be free to leave and have a chance fulfil those hopes and dreams, because at that time and even today, this is not possible for they all live on the Gaza strip on the Mediterranean coast, locked in by barbed wire and an electric fence. Yet they still hope and dream!

At times you too may feel trapped, maybe you can’t be bothered to hope, or worse maybe all your hope is gone: perhaps it has been pressed out of you by the tough times and the knocks we all take in life. Advent Sunday calls us back to our hopes and dreams in Christ. In verse 33 of our Gospel this morning Jesus in the in the context of a parable, told of where a master has left his servants in charge while he was away for a long undefined journey, Jesus says to them. “Beware, keep alert; you do not know when the time will come (for the master to return).” And in v.37. he tells them “What I say to you, I say to all: keep awake!" As he is speaking to them, he could easily be speaking with us - Are we complacent in our spiritual waiting, or are we active in pushing forward the boundaries of the Kingdom of God as his disciples of today?

So here we are on Advent Sunday 2020 being called to renew our hope in the God who still comes to us now, every minute, every moment, calling us to watch and wait and join in with his work in the world. Waiting in Advent hope is not about inertia, reluctance and leaving it all to God, as we have been saying over the last few weeks we are in a relationship with God and as with any relationship you have to invest in it, give time to it, work at it. This year I had hoped to post a short reading, a short prayer and a piece of music to our Facebook page each day in Advent, to help us all invest just a few moments of our day into our relationship with God – The good news is I have readings and prayers.. but due to the COVID restrictions I have not been able to record any music yet; but who knows what the next couple of weeks will bring! – The readings will be short passages but I hope they will give us all something to focus our spiritual minds on, something we can think about either by ourselves or together, and for us to offer them to God as we patiently listen for his voice.

Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparing, and a time of expectancy - and as Jesus told  his audience this morning, they should be awake and ready for the master’s return, What are we going to do as we wait for the coming of Christ?. The obvious answer is to read our bibles, but for many of us starting to read the bible can be a traumatic experience, it is a big book with lots of words that are often not easy to say yet alone understand. But within these pages are the pillars of our faith, and the messages of God made through the words and actions of Jesus, His words and actions written by human beings through the power of the Holy Spirit  - If we are serious about our being in a relationship with God then maybe we should start to read the text and be challenged by his commands. As we begin this New Church Year, it could be a good time to make a resolution, much as we do on the Calendar new year – why don’t we gently dip our toes into our bible and test the water.  No need to go too far or too fast – an easy way of doing this would be to read one of the Gospels, “the stories” of Jesus, which from our lectionary readings on a Sunday I am sure we will all recognise some of them – My suggestion is to begin with Luke’s gospel, now if you read a chapter a day you will have completed it by Christmas Day – It can be your spiritual advent Calendar (with less calories) there are 24 chapters and as with Advent calendars we have 24 days – Easy bite size chunks of stories you will recognise, but by doing it in these small chunks you will be able to ask yourselves questions about what this could mean to you – we are all different and each one of us will relate to the text in our unique way as our relationships with God are unique. No one is “not clever enough” There are no right or wrong answers and there are no stupid questions when we bring ourselves before God.

You don’t have to do it, I will not be asking questions from the pulpit on a Sunday, but if you do want to use this time of waiting, and preparing yourselves, then why not give it a go – Then perhaps one day next year when we are able to join together in person, we could meet together over a simple meal and share our thoughts. Maybe investing our time and energies as we excitedly wait Christ’s coming this Advent may be the start of a closer walk with God in our lives. Amen

THE CREED

Stand

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


The President introduces the intercession.

In joyful expectation of his coming to our aid, let us pray to the Lord.


Let us pray to the God of all time and space, in whose love we exist and by whose love we are saved.


As we prepare ourselves for the time when Christ comes again in glory; we pray for the grace and honesty to see what needs transforming in our lives as individuals and as members of the Church of God.  We pray for your church here in this Parish and we ask for your love and guidance for those with the responsibility for its future.  Lord in your mercy

May all church leaders; priest; Readers and teachers be directed, inspired and upheld by the living spirit of God and may there be a deepening of love and commitment in all Christian people the world over. Loving God, As we prepare for Christmas in this community, may we lead others to find Christ through our Christmas services and community celebrations. Lord in your mercy

We pray for the leaders of all the nations, that the decisions they make and actions they take may be for the wellbeing of all people; that justice and mercy are upheld in line with your loving will. We pray for the ministers and leaders of this country and Europe at this time and pray that the concluding Brexit negotiations may be undertaken with integrity, decency and in a spirit of respect for all peoples. We pray for all those who have been subjected to oppression, we pray for those who have fled their home in search of safety; We pray for the peacemakers and peacekeepers and aid agencies & workers as they strive to love our neighbours in their time of need.   Lord in your mercy

May all the families on earth be blessed with mutual love and a caring consideration for one another. May arguments and misunderstandings be properly resolved and help us all to be more aware and considerate of the needs of others. Lord; May our homes be centres of love, acceptance and welcome; bless our families and our friends, our homes and our communities, that they may be places of joy, peace, hope and Love     Lord in your mercy..

May those for whom days and nights creep past in pain or sorrow be given comfort and hope, may the frightened find reassurance and the anxious peace of mind. Lord may they have an awareness of your constant presence; and the courage to place their hand in yours. We bring before God those who we know who are ill, giving thanks for those who treat or nurse them; we pray for their loved ones who hold them in their hearts. we remember in our prayers today…. Father surround all who are ill or suffering today with your healing Love. Lord in your mercy…

Lord God, welcome into your kingdom those who days on Earth have ended, and as we miss their physical presence, we thank you for the gifts of their lives and the love we shared. We bring before God those who we know and love who we see no longer …. May they find the fullness of your eternity, be flooded with the light of your love and experience the blessing of your peace. Lord in your mercy. ..

This or an alternative response may be used.

Lord, in your mercy

hear our prayer.


And at the end:

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.



The Liturgy of the Sacrament

THE PEACE

The President introduces the peace.

In the tender mercy of our God the dayspring from on high has broken 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.  Luke 1: 78


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.


Let us offer one another a sign of peace.



PREPARATION OF THE TABLE

The table is prepared and bread and wine placed upon it.


Look upon us in mercy not in judgement;

draw us from hatred to love;

make the frailty of our praise

a dwelling for your glory.  Amen.


Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:

through your goodness

we have this bread to set before you,

which earth has given and human hands have made.

It will become for us the bread of life.

Blessed be God for ever.


Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation:

through your goodness

we have this wine to set before you,

fruit of the vine and work of human hands.

It will become for us the cup of salvation.

Blessed be God for ever.

EUCHARISTIC PRAYER (E)

The Lord be with you

and also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give thanks and praise.


It is indeed right and good to give you thanks and praise,

almighty God and everlasting Father,

through Jesus Christ your Son.

For when he humbled himself to come among us in

human flesh,

he fulfilled the plan you formed before the foundation

of the world

to open for us the way of salvation.

Confident that your promise will be fulfilled,

we now watch for the day

when Christ our Lord will come again in glory.

And so we join our voices with angels and archangels

and with all the company of heaven

to proclaim your glory,

for ever praising you and saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.


Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.


We praise and bless you, loving Father,

through Jesus Christ, our Lord;

and as we obey his command,

send your Holy Spirit,

that broken bread and wine outpoured

may be for us the body and blood of your dear Son.

On the night before he died he had supper with his friends

and, taking bread, he praised you.

He broke the bread, gave it to them and said:

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you;

do this in remembrance of me.


When supper was ended he took the cup of wine.

Again he praised you, gave it to them and said:

Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

So, Father, we remember all that Jesus did,

in him we plead with confidence his sacrifice made once for all upon the cross.


Bringing before you the bread of life and cup of salvation,

we proclaim his death and resurrection

until he comes in glory.


The President says

Great is the mystery of faith:

Christ has died:

Christ is risen:

Christ will come again.



Lord of all life,

help us to work together for that day

when your kingdom comes

and justice and mercy will be seen in all the earth.

Look with favour on your people,

gather us in your loving arms

and bring us with [N and] all the saints

to feast at your table in heaven.

Through Christ, and with Christ, and in Christ,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honour and glory are yours, O loving Father,

for ever and ever.

Amen.


THE LORD’S PRAYER

The Lord’s Prayer is said.



Let us pray with confidence, as our Saviour has 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.


BREAKING OF THE BREAD

The president breaks the consecrated bread:

We break the bread of life,

and that life is the light of the world.

God here among us,

Light in the midst of us,

bring us to light and life.


The Agnus Dei is said or sung here or during the distribution.

Lamb of God, Or Jesus, Lamb of God

you take away have mercy on us.

the sin of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God,  Jesus, bearer of our sins,

you take away have mercy on us.

the sin of the world,

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God,  Jesus, redeemer of the world

you take away grant us your peace.

the sin of the world,

grant us peace.


GIVING OF COMMUNION

God’s holy gifts

for God’s holy people.

Jesus Christ is holy,

Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.




The Prayer of Humble Access may be said by all present.

We do not presume

to come to this your table, merciful Lord,

trusting in our own righteousness,

but in your manifold and great mercies.

We are not worthy

so much as to gather up the crumbs under your table.

But you are the same Lord

whose nature is always to have mercy.

Grant us therefore, gracious Lord,

so to eat the flesh of your dear Son Jesus Christ

and to drink his blood,

that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body

and our souls washed through his most precious blood,

and that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us.

Amen.


PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

The post communion prayer of the day is said,

O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

followed by:

Generous God you have blessed us and fed us at your heavenly table.

Set us on fire with your spirit that when Christ comes again

we may shine like lights before his face; who with you and the Spirit lives for ever.   Amen.


The Dismissal

BLESSING

Our Lord says, I am coming soon.

Amen, Come Lord Jesus.


May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting.

Amen.

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 of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always.

Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.



Copyright Acknowledgements: - Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included in this service, is copyright © The Archbishops Council, 2000 CW ORDER ONE – ORDINARY TIME AND HOLY DAYS.

Music recorded by the Choir of St Martin in the Fields – No Copyright assigned

CCLI number - 804157