Advent 2 - Church at Home

6th December 2020

Weekly notices & Church at Home

(Scroll down for this week's service)

Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, 1967

Neon and clear glass tubing suspension supports; Philadelphia Museum of Art

Sunday, 10.30am at Venerable Bede, NE4 8AP

We meet for Holy Communion as the Benwell & Scotswood Team.

Join us in Church >


Join us by watching the service live online this Sunday.

Watch live >

And follow the service booklet here >

در هنگام خطبه روز یکشنبه هدفون های خود را بگذارید و به این ترجمه گوش دهید.

یا در خانه گوش دهید.

< خطبه / Listen in Farsi

< متن خطبه / or read the translation


You can submit prayer requests online. This can be done anonymously or by name and the clergy and congregation will pray for you each week.

Submit prayer requests >



New videos for worship with children are uploaded every week by the Diocese of Newcastle.

Kids' Resources >

Your donations ensure our work keeps going and our buildings stay open.

Giving >

NOTICES



We re-open this Sunday, 10.30am, Venerable Bede


We re-open for public worship this Sunday 6th December. We won't be asking you to sign up online in advance. Though we will continue to take your details on the door for contact tracing purposes.


.


Advent & Christmas 2020

We will have a mix of in-person and online services and events this year.

Find all the information here >



New windows for St John's - Faculty

St John's are putting in new windows to improve ventilation and insulation. You can read the notice here.

Any objections may be submitted via email to dac@newcastle.anglican.org



Cornerstone - takeaway cafe and hot food deliveries

Our friends at Cornerstone Benwell on Wednesdays and Thursdays are offering:

  • Take-away service for beverages and sandwiches.

  • Hot meal home delivery service from 11.30am. Main course £3.00 and/or dessert £1.00.

Phone Cornerstone before 10am on those days and Amy will take your order.

0191 2260941

Armstrong road, NE4 7TU

Find all the info here >


WORSHIP

Advent Sunday

Reflection by Cerys Smith, Ordinand

Service led by The Revd Dominic Coad

Watch live at 10.30am >

< خطبه / Listen in Farsi


The service starts with some quiet music; please use this to clear your mind and acknowledge the presence of God.



Intro music


Andante Grazioso by Joseph Haydn



Opening prayer


In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Lighting of the Advent Wreath

(light a candle at home if you can!)


2nd Sunday – the Prophets:

Lord Jesus, light of the world,

the prophets said you would bring peace

and save your people in trouble.

Give peace in our hearts at Christmas

and show all the world God’s love. Amen.



Confession

When the Lord comes,

He will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness,

and will disclose the purpose of the heart.

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


Turn to us again, O God our saviour,

and let your anger cease from us:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


Show us your compassion, O Lord, and grant us your salvation:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.


Your salvation is near for those that fear you, that glory may dwell in our land:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.


May the God of love and power

forgive us and free us from our sins,

heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.



Collect


O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power

and come among us,

and with great might succour us;

that whereas, through our sins and wickedness

we are grievously hindered

in running the race that is set before us,

your bountiful grace and mercy

may speedily help and deliver us;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,

be honour and glory, now and for ever.

Amen.



Reading


A reading from prophet Isaiah


Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.

A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

A voice says, ‘Cry out!’ And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’ All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’ See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.

(Isaiah 40:1-11)

This is the word of the Lord

(Thanks be to God).



Gospel


Alleluia, alleluia. Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia.


The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark. (Glory to you O Lord)


The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” ’, John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

(Mark 1:1-8)

This is the gospel of the Lord.

(Praise to you, O Christ)

Reflection

By Cerys Smith, Ordinand


May I speak in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


So, how are you preparing to celebrate Christmas this year?


That is probably a difficult question to answer given the restrictions we are living with due to Covid 19, but are you still planning on buying and wrapping presents? Are you planning who will be in your Christmas bubble? And are you planning what to eat on Christmas day?

Normally at this time of year my mum gets out her big book of plans from the year before and starts her planning and preparation for Christmas Day, asking us what we want to do, what presents we would like and making her to do lists! I don’t know about you, but if I am honest that is normally the focus of my family’s Christmas preparations during advent, preparing for how we are going to spend Christmas Day and getting caught up in the busyness of the Christmas season.


However, last week we heard that advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus, not just for Christmas day, and we need to be awake and ready to greet him when he arrives.

So how do we prepare for His arrival?


On our journey through advent and in our Gospel reading this morning, we meet John the Baptist. Surely, we should be starting to hear about Jesus and learning more about him, after all he is the one, we are waiting to meet, not John. He seems rather strange, John, well, he seems rather strange to me, wearing camel hair and a belt, only eating locusts and honey, and living in the wilderness. Its not very seasonal and does not quite fit with my picture of Christmas. So, what has this strange man got to do with us preparing for the coming of Jesus? Well, in our Gospel reading, it turns out that John was sent to help prepare the way for Jesus. He is the messenger mentioned, who God sent ahead, and he is the voice crying out in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord and make his paths straight.


This idea of making the paths straight comes from ancient times where there was a practice for travelling kings for whenever they went to places without roads. Workers were sent ahead to smooth out the rough places for the king’s chariot, making the paths straight, and that is what John was sent to do for Jesus, he was the worker sent ahead to smooth out the rough places for coming of our king. It was even foretold by the prophet Isaiah, as we heard in our first reading “3 A voice cries out: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together.” John was sent to prepare the way so that we could see the glory of God in Jesus.


But how was John supposed to help prepare the way? How was he to smooth out those rough places and make the path straight for the coming of Jesus? Well, we are told he did this by preaching in the wilderness, attracting great crowds as “people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him”. The wilderness was important to those in Judea and Jerusalem as it was a place where God had tested them, where they had rebelled, where God had saved them, it was the route to the Promised Land from Egypt and it was a place of exile. Essentially, the wilderness was the physical place of their relationship and history with God. So John, preaching from the wilderness, brought the people to that place of relationship, he brought them to a place where they could encounter God, smoothing out some of the rough places to make the path straight for the coming of Jesus.


As well as preaching in the wilderness, John called those who came to listen to him to repentance. We tend to think of repentance as feeling guilty about our sins, and about saying sorry, which does not always change our behaviour. In fact, the word repentance comes from a Greek word metanoais meaning a change of mind or direction. So, John preaching about repentance, and bringing the people to a place where they could encounter God, was asking the people to abandon their sinful ways and to return to God. He was asking them change direction, to change their behaviour, to turn away from doing wrong and turn towards God by doing good, smoothing out some more of the rough places to make the path straight for the coming of Jesus.


John also baptized them. Well, we do know him as John the Baptist after all. It's kind of what he his famous for. John baptised the people who came to him in the wilderness who repented for the forgiveness of sins. John baptised them to help the people not only change their mind and direction but also to see with new eyes and to respond in new and often uncomfortable ways as baptism was to cleanse and purify them from the unclean things they had done before. With John preaching the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, he was saying that they needed God’s forgiveness which would smooth more of those rough places to make the path straight for the coming of Jesus.


Finally, John was sent to tell the people of the one who was to come. Despite, being successful himself at bringing people to listen him and considered a powerful prophet, John redirects their focus to the coming of one who is mightier than he, the one whose sandals he is not worthy to untie, the one who will baptise them in the Holy Spirit and the one for whom he is working to make the path straight. John tells them of and points them to Jesus, as the prophet Isaiah foretold: “Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’ smoothing out those final rough places to make the path straight for the coming of Jesus.


So why do we meet John and what does all this have to do with us preparing for Christmas?

Well the reason we meet John, the strange man in his rough clothing and weird diet, who is uncomfortable and unseasonal, on our journey through advent is so that he can confront us with the same challenges he posed to those Judeans and the people from Jerusalem in his lifetime which will help us to prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus in ours.


John asks us to go into the wilderness, to find a place of encounter and to spend time with God so we can be in relationship with Him. John asks us to repent our sins, to change our minds and direction, to turn away from doing wrong and turn towards God by doing good. John asks us to be our baptised selves, to be cleansed and purified from the things we have done wrong, to see and do things in a new way even if they are uncomfortable, and to ask for and receive God’s forgiveness. And finally, John asks us to proclaim the coming of Jesus Christ, to tell others of the good news of Jesus and that He is God.


I know this may seem all a bit too much, for John to ask us to take on all those tasks, particularly as we are already facing challenges this Christmas, but don’t worry because it is never too late to prepare and make space for Jesus in our lives. Maybe after all the presents have been opened, the washing up has been done and you’ve settled down to watch the Christmas film you have probably seen before, you could spend some time making the path straight for Jesus in your life, by turning away from what is wrong, putting things right, asking for and receiving forgiveness, embracing generosity and kindness and making space to truly welcome Jesus.


Amen.



Prayer intentions


Watchful at all times,

let us pray for strength to stand with confidence

before our Maker and Redeemer.


That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy, that there may be a fair sharing of the Earth’s resources, that the environment might be upheld and protected, that Covid-19 vaccines may be developed and fairly distributed,

let us pray to the Lord:

Lord, have mercy.


That God may establish among the nations

his sceptre of righteousness, that our leaders may rule with wisdom and humility, that they may defend democracy and uphold the rule of law,

let us pray to the Lord:

Lord, have mercy.


That we may seek Christ in the Scriptures

and recognize him in the breaking of the bread, that we may make ourselves ready for his coming through prayer and study this Advent, that the church may have the courage to give up its lust for power and turn to Christ,

let us pray to the Lord:

Lord, have mercy.


That God may bind up the broken-hearted,

restore the sick and raise up all who have fallen, that he might be with all those for whom we hold special concern including

  • the Riches family

  • Dee Humphrey

  • Claire Mozaffari

  • Eric Harling

  • Herbert Agbeko

  • James Garratt

  • Joyce Phillips

and all affected by Covid-19

let us pray to the Lord:

Lord, have mercy.


That the light of God’s coming may dawn

on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death, for those experiencing poverty and deprivation including users of our Foodbank, for those anxious about money in the run up to Christmas, for those who are lonely and those who struggle in isolation

let us pray to the Lord:

Lord, have mercy.


That, with all the saints in light,

we may shine forth as lights for the world, remembering especially

  • Bill Ager

let us pray to the Lord:

Lord, have mercy.


We commend ourselves and all for whom we pray to the mercy and protection of our heavenly Father:


Silence is kept.


Almighty God,

as your blessed Son Jesus Christ

first came to seek and to save the lost;

so may he come again to find in us

the completion of his redeeming work;

for he is now alive

and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.

Amen.



Lord's Prayer


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.



Hymn

Listen to the music here >


On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry announces that the Lord is nigh. Awake and harken, for he brings glad tidings of the King of kings!

Then cleansed be every life from sin: make straight the way for God within, and let us all our hearts prepare for Christ to come and enter there.

We hail you as our Savior, Lord, our refuge and our great reward. Without your grace we waste away like flowers that wither and decay.

Stretch forth your hand, our health restore, and make us rise to fall no more. O let your face upon us shine and fill the world with love divine.

All praise to you, eternal Son, whose advent has our freedom won, whom with the Father we adore, and Holy Spirit, evermore.



Conclusion


Our Lord says, ‘I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.



Outro music


Rondo by W.A.Mozart

We are committed to our churches being safe places for everyone. Read our policy below and contact us if you have any concerns about the safety of a vulnerable adult or child:

CONTACT US
FOLLOW US
  • Facebook