Holy Communion January 31st Simeone and Anna

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Come to us today, O God,

Come to us with Light

Come to us today, O God,

Speak to us your truth

Dwell with us today, O God,

Dwell with us in love


Song: Shine Jesus Shine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3iB30gCqAc


The Lord be with you

And also with you


God rejoices when we come together to worship him.

So we have gathered together as his family, knowing he is with us, and we will give him praise.

Help us, Lord, to praise you.


Father God you have promised to hear us when we call to you.

Lord, we confess our sins

Keep your promise and forgive us, we pray.


For the times when we have hurt others through the words we have said,

Lord we confess our sins.

Keep your promise and forgive us, we pray.


For the times when our actions have been harmful and not loving,

Lord we confess our sins.

Keep your promise and forgive us, we pray.


For the times when we have forgotten you and ignored your commands,

Lord we confess our sins.

Keep your promise and forgive us, we pray.


May the God of grace,

who loves all that he has made,

and in Christ welcomes home all who come to him,

heal your brokenness,

forgive you your sins

and return you to a life of justice, mercy and simplicity.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Gloria: Glory to God http://www.christianwebresources.co.uk/hymns/hymn/549/#


Lord Jesus Christ,

light of the nations and glory of Israel:

make your home among us,

and present us pure and holy

to your heavenly Father,

your God, and our God. Amen


First Reading: Hebrews 2:14-18


14 Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, 15 and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death.

16 For it is clear that it is not the angels that he helps. Instead, he helps the descendants of Abraham.

17 This means that he had to become like his people in every way, in order to be their faithful and merciful High Priest in his service to God, so that the people's sins would be forgiven.


18 And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered.


Song: Purify my heart http://www.christianwebresources.co.uk/hymns/hymn/648/#


Gospel Reading: Luke 2:22-40


22 The time came for Joseph and Mary to perform the ceremony of purification, as the Law of Moses commanded. So they took the child to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23 as it is written in the law of the Lord:


“Every first-born male is to be dedicated to the Lord.”

24 They also went to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, as required by the law of the Lord.


25 At that time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem. He was a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved. The Holy Spirit was with him 26 and had assured him that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's promised Messiah. 27 Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do for him what the Law required, 28 Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God:

29 “Now, Lord, you have kept your promise, and you may let your servant go in peace. 30 With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32 A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.”


33 The child's father and mother were amazed at the things Simeon said about him. 34 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother,

“This child is chosen by God for the destruction and the salvation of many in Israel. He will be a sign from God which many people will speak against 35 and so reveal their secret thoughts. And sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.”

36-37 There was a very old prophet, a widow named Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for only seven years and was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple; day and night she worshiped God, fasting and praying. 38 That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.

39 When Joseph and Mary had finished doing all that was required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to their hometown of Nazareth in Galilee. 40 The child grew and became strong; he was full of wisdom, and God's blessings were upon him.


Video: Simeon and Anna https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leN-xNrkjbo&ab_channel=CrossroadsKids%27Club


Sermon

Simeon and Anna's story is also called Candlemas- it’s the last Sunday where we reflect on the Christmas story. Luke gives us the account of Mary and Joseph bringing baby Jesus to the Temple. Simeon and Anna recognise this tiny infant as God’s Messiah- the one sent to rescue all people. Simeon makes the great statement :-

With my own eyes I have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: 32 A light to reveal your will to the Gentiles and bring glory to your people Israel.”


Because of these words, Candlemas often focuses on being a celebration of God’s light (hence the blessing of candles long ago).


What kind of Light?

The light reveals God’s will to the gentiles- that’s those who aren’t Jews- those who weren’t thought of as God’s people.

It’s the light that reveals- like the light that passes through a prism. It gets split up into many colours- we see what is there. We see what we didn’t see before.

So as Simeon says these words, he is telling everyone that Jesus is that light- that shows everyone in the whole world what God is like; what God wants for us.


If we want to know what God is like, we look at Jesus.

If we want to know what God wants us to do, we look at Jesus.


God includes all people, speaks to all people, reaches out to all people.

There’s so much we can say about light.

How God’s light drives out the darkness of sin and fear.

How God’s light shows us day by day how to live.

How God’s light keeps us safe.


But there’s another aspect of this story that I want to focus on today.

Simeon and Anna waited… patiently.



Actually they saw what God had planned. They met Jesus as a baby but they didn’t see him fulfil his ministry.

They did receive God’s promise for them- that they would see God’s special person, the Messiah but they didn’t see it all.

Mary and Joseph had received God’s promise- the baby was born.

Simeon and Anna received God’s promise- they saw the start of God’s plan.

But they didn’t see the end…


I think this story has so much to encourage us whilst we are all waiting – patiently or impatiently in our COVID times.

At the moment there are many of us who are waiting. Waiting for schools to open again; waiting for our injections; waiting for life to feel safe; waiting in line- at 2 metre distance at the shops. Longing and waiting to be let out of our houses after so long…

And

all of us, particularly if we have a frontline job – longing and waiting for the numbers to go down, the stress to ease up.

Simeon and Anna waiting. Waited for God to do something whilst their country was ruled by the enemy, whilst their rulers were corrupt and their religion compromised.

Mary and Joseph were waiting to see what would happen next!

How did they wait?

I’m really struck that in our Bible reading- these people kept doing the right thing.

Mary and Joseph went to the Temple- because it was what the law required. Simeon is called God-fearing…


And so for us it’s just as important to keep on with COVID restrictions


(Hands Face Space at all times!)

but also with all the things that help us grow in our Christian lives.






This is our vision as at St Catherine’s

Our vision for the next 5 years is to grow as a multicultural church

where we experience God’s love,

express his love in action

and share his love with the people of

Stoke Aldermoor, New Century Park

and beyond!


We may feel that we are so restricted at the moment as we can’t gather together- but we have some great ways of connecting with people; we can read the bible and pray together; we can worship; and we can invite others to join us. We can be in contact and support and pray for each other.

Of course our brilliant foodbank volunteers are reaching out, we’re supporting Proof Bakery as they make bread for foodbank and so many of you are working out in our communities looking after others in vital ways.

Waiting is tough but it’s not all bad news. For Simeon and Anna, it wasn’t all relentless, hanging on in there by myself, using every ounce of strength that I have, kind of waiting. As Simeon and Anna waited- God’s Spirit was with them. Simeon is led by the Spirt, speaks out prophetic words to everyone to hear and in particular to Mary and Joseph.

Anna worships day and night, prays and rejoices. She encourages everyone she sees.

It wasn’t easy but God was with them. It might have been particularly hard for Mary and Joseph as Simeon warned them of difficult things to come.

Waiting isn’t easy but we are not alone as we wait together.

Let’s encourage each other to keep with all the restrictions so we can be as safe as possible and get the infection rates down.


But as we wait, let’s not forget our bigger vision; our wider purpose. It’s right to keep going with what God has called us to do for others- but in doing this, we are also making that waiting more bearable for ourselves.


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


Our Prayers: Waiting Patiently for God’s Deliverance


Lord in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


Dear Lord, Simeon and Anna were so patient as they waited for your Deliverance.

Help us to be as patient as they were - patient with ourselves, patient with others and patient with the circumstances we find ourselves in today.

As he spoke Simeon said: “As you have promised …”

Thank you, Lord, that you kept your promises to Simeon & Anna because you are a faithful God. You don't promise us an easy life and living in these days of a pandemic isn't easy for any of us, but you do promise to be never to leave us nor for sake us. Thank you for this reassurance when there is so much suffering in our city and country.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.


Dear Lord, thank you that when we feel weary and heavy burdened you promise that your yoke is easy, and your burden is light.

We pray for all the NHS staff, doctors, nurses, carers, hospital cleaners, and others right across our country who are battling on the frontline against Covid19 and who are weary. Please give them the patience they need to get through each day and give them your energy, stamina and compassion to endure.

We pray for teachers, children and parents who are affected by school closures. Give them patience. Please watch over all the places where education is happening during lockdown and give inspiration to those delivering lessons.

Lord in your mercy

hear our prayer.


Dear Lord, as we face these days of lockdown restrictions please give us the patience that Simeon and Anna displayed as they waited to see their Saviour Jesus.

Simeon said to Mary that she would feel like a sword has pierced her soul.

Lord, you are the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, comfort us in all our troubles even if we feel like a sword has pierced our souls.

We pray for those who have lost loved ones recently and ask that you comfort them. Help us to comfort others who are suffering, feeling lonely or desperately missing contact with their friends and family.

Lord in your mercy

hear our prayer.


Simeon said: “For my eyes have seen your Salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for people of all nations”.

Thank you, Lord, that you care about all the peoples of your world.

We pray for the staff, pupils of Ibba Girls school in South Sudan.

For Pastor Albert, his family and the small church in Djembering.

Dear Lord, let them patiently live out their lives as a light for you in the places where they live and work.

Lord in your mercy

hear our prayer.


We pray for those in national government and in local councils who are making decisions that affect our lives in the fight against the pandemic.

Please give them patience to listen well in meetings, to research well that will help them to make wise decisions that will halt the spread of this awful disease.

Lord in your mercy

hear our prayer.



The Peace


The peace of the Lord be always with you

And also with you.

Let us offer another a sign of peace



Song: Light of the World https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MmRGSEG2LM&ab_channel=Rev.MarkPetitt


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 right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation;

in your love you made us for yourself.

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.


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.


With your whole Church throughout the world

we offer you this sacrifice of praise

and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:


Holy, holy, holy Lord,

God of power and might,

Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.


We continue with the words of 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. Amen


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.


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 communion: More Love More Power https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW9SkRMtXTo&ab_channel=WorshipVideos

Prayer of Spiritual Communion