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December 20th Advent 4 Holy Communion Service

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Meeting ID: 835 5621 1775 Passcode: 489409

The Annunciation

We light the 4th candle today for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Today we think about the visitation by Gabriel announcing the good news of the coming of the long awaited Messiah.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit


God is creation

God is history

God is here with us

God is mystery

God is blessing

God is here with us

Song…O Come O come Emmanuel

We light this candle for all God-bearers,

saying “yes” to God’s challenge,

accepting the pain and joy of an unknown future.

O God, as we wait for your promise,

give light, give hope

Advent a time of watching and waiting…

As farmers wait for rainfall

As prisoners wait for freedom

We wait for the coming of God

As exiles yearn for home

As peacemakers yearn for justice

We long for the coming of God

As travellers search for shelter

As disciples look for answers

We prepare for the coming of God

Our Confession:

God, through Jesus Christ,

will judge the secret thoughts of all:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’

will enter the kingdom of heaven:

Christ, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

You will come in glory

with salvation for your people:

Lord, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.

The Absolution

Almighty God,

who forgives all who truly repent,

have mercy upon you,

pardon and deliver you from all your sins,

confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,

and keep you in life eternal;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Collect

Eternal God,

as Mary waited for the birth of your Son,

so we wait for his coming in glory;

bring us through the birth pangs of this present age

to see, with her, our great salvation

in Jesus Christ our Lord.


Old Testament Reading: 2 Samuel 7v 1-11, 16 Read by Margaret.

New Revised Standard Version

God’s Covenant with David

7 Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 the 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.” 3 Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.”

4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: 5 Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6 I 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. 7 Wherever 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?” 8 Now therefore thus 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; 9 and 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. 10 And 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, 11 from 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 that the Lord will make you a house.

16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.

This is the word of the Lord

Thanks be to God

Song-Tell out my soul

The Gospel Reading: Luke 1:26-38 read by Elisabeth

Alleluia alleluia

I am the light of the world says the Lord

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but have the light of life.

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke

Glory to you, O Lord

Luke 1:26-38

New Revised Standard Version

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

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

Praise to you, O Christ

The Sermon

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. “ Luke 1:30-31.

This account is given to us by Luke. Luke was a doctor and used to giving reports.

His gospel starts with…

Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.

His gospel is only one of two that give us any general details of Jesus birth and Luke is very careful to record this down right- in Luke we get the Nativity story- starting from the angel appearing to Zechariah and promising him and his older wife, a son who would be the forerunner of the Messiah- preparing the way for him- John the Baptist.

And then the Annunciation- the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary announcing the entrance into our humanity of God himself, as the Son through her.

The only other gospel which records this is Matthew albeit in a briefer way.

And although the Nativity story is obviously important, so too is the underlying theme of a promise fulfilled by God. Albeit centuries after it was made.

Our first reading is from the 2nd book of Samuel which took place in the time of the prophet Nathan. Nathan was the prophet in King David’s time. David wanted to build God a permanent dwelling place but God spoke to him through Nathan, saying that he had never desired a permanent dwelling place otherwise he would have spoken so to previous leaders. God did say however, that in David’s time, there would be only plans made but the house of God would be built by his son, Solomon.

Nathan and David

Yet this building of houses was reciprocal – God would not only have a house built by David’s descendant, but also God would build David a house. The word “House” in Hebrew also meant temple and dynasty.

God’s house would be the resplendent temple built in the reign of King Solomon and the house of David would be his dynasty.

The promise made by God, to establish the kingdom of David forever, was made true, was fulfilled… by the birth of Jesus- a direct descendant of King David.

To be able to fulfil his promise made so long ago to King David, God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience God has ever asked of anyone.

But I also think he chose her for her resilience. This task- this being the mother of the promised Messiah would also test her to her limits. She would suffer much pain in her heart, she would be ridiculed by her peers and even her fiancé would become doubtful of her love- even to the point of leaving her. Her own son would be rejected and murdered on a cross.

From both our Old and New Testament readings , there are lessons for us today.

King David was told he could not build God’s dwelling place- the magnificent temple- that was for his son to create. Accepting God’s answer of no, takes as much faith as saying yes. Although this must have been very trying and disappointing for David, in God’s greater plan, David was earmarked for something very special.

Had Mary not obeyed- had not submitted to God’s greater plan, then where would the world’s salvation be?

So how do we bring this fulfilment of promise and the obedience of Mary to this time of 2020?

Have a look at this modern icon of Mary called “Our Lady of the Pandemic” by the Reverend Cecile Schnyder.

What do you see in this picture?

It is the front of a Christmas card from Bishop Christopher. Inside there is a short poem by Elisabeth Coleridge entitled “I saw a Stable”…

I saw a stable, low and very bare

A little child in a manger.

The oxen knew Him, had Him in their care,

To men he was a stranger.

The safety of the world was lying there.

And the world’s danger.

Bishop Christopher says…

Celebrating Christmas in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic calls us to reflect, as the poet does, upon the safety and danger of the world. In Coleridge’s poem, we witness the Christ Child at his most vulnerable, and in a most fragile setting. The stable is a makeshift hospital ward, not unlike those which have been built out of necessity across the world over these last months. And yet, therein lies our safety; in the saving power of Jesus Christ- God in our midst, born of Mary- who enters the dangers of the world and overcomes them.

The maternal care of Mary, depicted in the icon “Our Lady of the Pandemic”, calls to mind all those who care for the vulnerable and pray for their deliverance, trusting as she did, in “God’s” promise. Amen.

Let us declare our faith in God.

We believe in God the Father,

from whom every family

in heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son,

who lives in our hearts through faith,

and fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit,

who strengthens us

with power from on high.

We believe in one God;

Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayers led by

Let us pray to the Lord:

At the end of the prayers we say…

Merciful Father

Accept these prayers

For the sake of your Son

Our Saviour Jesus Christ. 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.

The peace of the Lord be always with you

and also with you

God, in our midst, promise keeper, Light in our darkness.

Song- Waymaker

Holy Communion

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

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.

He is the one foretold by all the prophets,

whom the Virgin Mary bore

with love beyond all telling.

John the Baptist was his herald

and made him known when at last he came.

When we turned away

you did not reject us,

but came to meet us in your Son.

You embraced us as your children

and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our life

that we might live in him and he in us.

He opened his arms of love upon the cross and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

In his love Christ fills us with joy

as we prepare to celebrate his birth,

So that when he comes again

he may find us watching in prayer,

our hearts filled with wonder and praise.

And so, with angels and archangels

and all the company of heaven,

we proclaim your glory

and join in their unending hymn of praise:

Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

On the night he was betrayed,

at supper with his friends

he took bread, and gave you thanks;

he broke it and gave it to them, saying:

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

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine,

he gave you thanks, and said:

Drink this, all of you;

this is my blood of the new covenant,

which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins;

do this in remembrance of me.

Father, we do this in remembrance of him:

his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory,

send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine

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

As we eat and drink these holy gifts

make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

We break this bread

to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,

because we all share in one bread.

Jesus, Lamb of God,

have mercy on us.

Jesus, bearer of our sins,

have mercy on us.

Jesus, redeemer of the world,

grant us peace.

We continue in the prayer that Jesus taught us… the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours

now and for ever.


Draw near with faith.

Receive the body of our Lord Jesus Christ

which he gave for you,

and his blood which he shed for you.

Eat and drink

in remembrance that he died for you,

and feed on him in your hearts

by faith with thanksgiving.

Song during Holy Communion

Breath of Heaven

Prayer of Spiritual Communion

For those joining us from home

Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ,

for all the benefits you have given me,

for all the pains and insults you have borne for me.

Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally,

I ask you to come spiritually into my heart.

O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,

may I know you more clearly,

love you more dearly,

and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen

We say together

Almighty God,

we thank you for feeding us

with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.

Through him we offer you our souls and bodies

to be a living sacrifice.

Send us out

in the power of your Spirit

to live and work

to your praise and glory.


The Blessing

May God the Father,

who loved the world so much that he sent his only Son,

give you grace to prepare for life eternal.


May God the Son,

who comes to us as redeemer and judge,

reveal to you the path from darkness to light.


May God the Holy Spirit,

by whose working the Virgin Mary conceived the Christ,

help you bear the fruits of holiness.


and the blessing of God almighty,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

Final song

The Virgin Mary had a baby boy

Notices for this week

With love and compassion,

come, Lord Jesus.

With judgement and mercy,

come, Lord Jesus.

In power and glory,

come, Lord Jesus.

In wisdom and truth,

come, Lord Jesus.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen.

Please join together in your homes for

refreshments after the service

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