Sunday Half Hour

Service for Sunday 29th November

First Sunday of Advent

Mark-Advent-Stay-Awake

If there are times in the service when you say to yourself “I can really identify with what is being said and asked of us” and you turn those moments into the simplest and shortest of prayers then you’ll know you’re on the right track. 

The liturgical year for Christian believers begins today with the season of Advent. The chief characteristic of Advent is joyful expectation, so we can wish each other a “Happy New Year.” Over the next four weeks, the Church will focus on three distinct happenings: we will celebrate the coming of the Son of God as a human being, born of the Virgin Mary in the simplest of surroundings in Bethlehem.  Secondly there is the coming of Jesus each and every day into our lives fulfilling the promise always and at all times to be closer to us than we are to ourselves. Thirdly, the call to each of us is to be vigilant as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour at the end of time, for that moment when Jesus will come to take all creation to himself, celebrating with his people the fulfilment of all that God longs to see happen in our world.

What place will you be giving Christ in this sacred season?

Let’s gather together our thoughts and prayers as we say:

Father in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of your Word. Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour and give us the strength to grow in love that the dawn of his coming will find us rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the light of his truth. We make this prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit God for ever and ever. Amen

The Word of God

In the name of his discouraged and suffering people, the prophet voices his trust in God. They deserve all that has happened to them, but no situation is desperate when we count on a saving God. We can join in the prayer Isaiah made to his God because we need God to come visibly among us so that he can help us to straighten out our lives, that we may see more clearly in what direction our lives should go, and what we must do to restore our relationship with our God and with one another.

(Please click the button below to hear this week’s reading)

At the end of the reading, allow yourself time to take in the message of the Scriptures. 

Reflection:

Of course, the thing that makes this a powerful passage is to know that, in the harshest and most difficult of times, Isaiah is speaking like a man in terrible need of God himself. He doesn’t just want to know that God exists and cares for him and his people, but to feel his strength, to feel that he is once again present to the people he has always loved.

Is there a veil that keeps you from seeing God’s presence at work in your life and in your world?

Can you use Advent to lift that veil, to get more in touch with God in and around you?

The Gospel of the Lord

Christians are called to be ever watchful for the return of a loved family member. In the Gospel story of today Jesus concludes with an exhortation: “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”. It is after all a fact of our faith: the loved master of the household will indeed return and expect to be welcomed by family in a celebratory fashion. Who is this master of the household and what does he expect of us in Advent 2020?

(Please click the button below to hear the Gospel)

At the end of the reading, allow yourself time to take in the message of the Scriptures. 

Reflection:  

“Advent is a perfect time to practice our vigilance. We are not just awaiting the coming of our Saviour in the celebration of Christmas in Christ’s birth, we should also be learning to better focus our faith on the enrichment of spiritual gifts that come to us in Jesus. This Advent, as we plan our gift giving, I pray that we will think of ways that we can better share our spiritual gifts with others. During this very difficult time, I think our loved ones need our gifts of faith, hope, charity, love, forgiveness and encouragement much more than they need new I pads chocolates, wine or sweaters”. (Barbara Dilly Reflection)

As you would do at Mass pray now for the needs of the world and think carefully what it is that we are asking God to grant us:

We pray for the Church that we may open our minds and hearts to the Good News of the Gospel and allow the teaching we find in there to shape our response to the many decisions we have to make in the course of a day.

Lord in your mercy

We pray for world leaders that they will take the long view of human history and choose to protect and promote life and peace for all God’s people.

Lord in your mercy

We pray for greater attentiveness in this great season of Advent that our hearts and minds may be focussed on the tasks that belong to us, the people we love and the God whom we serve.

Lord in your mercy

We pray for all who feel a distance from God at this time that the memories and hopes of this season will lead them back to the God who loves them.

Lord in your mercy

We pray for parents and children in these troubled financial times that as important as gift giving is at Christmas, nothing is greater or more important than the gift of God’s love for each and every one of us

Lord in your mercy

We pray for all those who have died in Christ and remember those who grieve, that the Word of God may bring them consolation, courage to bear their pain and fulfil deepest longings in the embrace of our Lord. We remember especially, Ivy Maughan, Raymond Anderson, Alice Clark and Anne Lillford from our own community who have died recently.

Lord in your mercy

Let us pray for a moment in silent prayer for our own particular needs

As sons and daughters of a loving Father we pray as one family in the words that Jesus himself taught us: Our Father…….

We have listened to the Word of God, prayed for the needs of the church and the world, prayed in the words Jesus taught us so let’s now gather together our thoughts and prayers as we say:

Loving God, we give you thanks for the blessings of this holy Advent season.

You are the source of life, of hope, and of all good things.

We look forward to the coming of the light of Christ at Christmas.

Help us to turn toward that light in our lives.

We rejoice at the gift of your Son who taught us to love in your name.

May we be people of peace and justice all the days of our lives as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit God forever and ever. Amen.

Final Hymn:

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