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Sun 15/11/20


Broadcast and Livestreamed Worship
8.10 am  Radio 4 Sunday Worship explores how faith responds to the complexities of life
9.00 am  The Church of England on-line Service celebrates friendships that cross continents and is available from 9.00 am at: https://www.churchofengland.org/news-and-media/join-us-church-online/weekly-online-services/celebrating-friendships-cross
9.15 am  A contemporary style of worship is available from Christ Church Gipsy Hill at: https://en-gb.facebook.com/christchurchgipsyhill/
10.00 am  The Cathedral Eucharist is available from Chester Cathedral at: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=chester+cathedral+youtube&qpvt=chester+cathedral+youtube&FORM=VDRE
The Prayer Book Society continues to offer a wide range of BCP Services available on-line at: https://www.pbs.org.uk/churches-and-services/-1


A Sermon for the Second Sunday Before Advent
1 Thessalonians 5: 1 – 11; Matthew 25: 14 – 30

In my first job I loved coming to the end of my own work so that I could spend time in the Marketing Department.  Then I could take time choosing just the right coloured paper to make a book cover really stand out when it was placed in the sales files for the sales directors.  Choose the right colour and the book cover came to life.

It is the same when we frame pictures.  The right frame can enhance the picture and bring it to life; the wrong one can make a great picture lifeless.

Commenting on today’s reading from 1 Thessalonians, Sue Hope suggests that finding the right frame for our lives is just as important.  The right frame can enhance our lives giving focus to the way we live them.  Particularly when the frame through which we view our lives is the knowledge that one day, Jesus will return.

Paul doesn’t waste time trying to answer the question about when Jesus will return.  Jesus himself has already told us that only the Father knows when it will happen (Matthew 24:36).  If Jesus doesn’t know when he will return, nor even the angels in heaven, there is little point Paul spending time on the question of when it will happen.

All we can know, Paul tells us, is that when the Lord returns it will come as a surprise to the whole world.  It is therefore essential that the Christian community, the Church, lives expectant, alert and ready for that day.

So how can we make sure we are living in readiness for Jesus’ return?  After all, it’s hard waiting for something for two thousand years when it might happen later today, but might not happen for another two thousand years.

This is where we need to the picture frame of Jesus’ return to make sure we are looking at the human story in the right way.  After all, the return of Jesus will be the final page of the final chapter in that story.  A story which began at creation when God first breathed life into the universe, and which has continued ever since and will continue until Jesus returns.

We might want to think of the picture frame not as a frame, but as a framework within which the whole of the human story fits.  Like any framework, it keeps shape, order and purpose to the story.  Without the framework which places God’s creation at the beginning and Jesus’ return at the end, humanity lives without purpose or direction; Sue Hope suggests we are in some sense blind, and living in the dark.  

There might be goals, but they will be limited because the bigger picture is missed.  Without a purpose, a long-term goal and a means to achieve the goal in place, it is all too easy to ‘eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.’  We might even gain a small understanding into the scenes we have seen on our streets of people generally trying to have a good time as local and national lockdowns, have been announced.

Recognising that one of the effects of COVID-19, is the way in which young people’s hopes and dreams have been dashed and their goals removed,  appalled or angered as we may be  by the behaviour of a minority, we can at least recognise that a lack of hopes, dreams and goals leads to a life without purpose.  Add in the, fear, frustration and anxiety we are all experiencing, and we might begin to understand why some peoplehave decided that they might as well ‘eat, drink and be merry’ when there is no apparent future to look forward too.  Better to go through life ‘happy’ than miserable.

We live in a society which has quietly slipped its Christian moorings over many decades, and now faces the worst, and most traumatic threat since the Second World War.  We live in a society desperate for hope and purpose (but perhaps not so keen on the idea of a framework in which to find purpose and hope).  So what is the answer?

We need to look back nearly two thousand years to the wisdom which Paul shared with the young church in Thessalonica.  We need to live as those who live not in the night, but as those who live in the daylight.  A daylight lit by God’s love.  Then we will be able to encourage each other to put on Christian armour, which Paul lists in his letter to the Ephesians Chapter 6, and offers a shorter list in his letter to the Thessalonians.

When we are dressed in the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of the hope of salvation, we will be ready for the day when Jesus returns.  Not sleeping, but wide awake and able to encourage each other so that we remain alert.

But we cannot end there.  We need to look, too, at Jesus’ Parable of the Talents, making certain that we use the gifts, natural and spiritual, which God has given to us.  That way, the people we know will have every opportunity to meet Jesus; to put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of the hope of salvation for themselves.  In short, we need to offer the attractive frame and the robust framework of a life of faith, lived in the light of Jesus’ return and the hope of an eternal future to those who are without hope.

S Anne Lawson

11 November 2020




Prayers of Intercession


The Collect for the Second Sunday Before Advent


Heavenly Lord,

you long for the world’s salvation:

stir us from apathy,

restrain us from excess

and revive in us new hope

that all creation will one day be healed

in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


The Post-Communion Prayer for the Second Sunday before Advent

Gracious Lord,

in this holy sacrament

you give substance to our hope:

bring us at the last

to that fulness of life for which we long;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Prayers of Intercessions

Almighty God our heavenly Father you promise through your Son, Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.
We name in your presence this morning, people and situations that need our prayers.

We pray for the church throughout the world and in this country. We pray for the churches in Acton, Church Minshull, Worleston and Wettenhall.  For all who use their gifts in many ways. We pray that we may all benefit from various gifts that we all have to offer in the service of Christ, that in faith and unity; we may be constantly renewed by your Holy Spirit for mission
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Dear Lord - we pray today for peace in our world, and an end to violence and disease. May there be peace in our homes and hearts so that we may live and work together in a spirit of peace and harmony. Remind us all that we share your world with others, many less fortunate than we are and who may be resentful, especially those whose lives have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. Help us to understand their frustration which often expresses itself in violence and anger. Purify the minds and attitudes of men and women in leadership and those who shape our society.

May the world know the peace of Christ, without which society loses its direction and ignores our deep desire for peace.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Give grace to us our families and friends and to all our neighbours, that we may serve Christ in one another and loves as he loves us. Help us to make our homes places of your love, places of mutual trust and forgiveness, places of true sharing and caring, places of deep joy and peace, and unite us all in the circle of your love. 

As we look forward to the season of Advent, may we joyfully anticipate the day when Christ will come again and prepare for the day when we are taken into the joy of heaven, where waiting will be no more, and all our hopes will be fulfilled.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer

God our Father, we remember before you any who are suffering from any form of illness. remembering especially those who have fallen ill to COVID-19.  We pray for any who are anxious, sorrowful, or in any kind of need at this time. We pray especially for loved ones and those who are known to us who are ill or in any kind of need. We remember them now in the quietness of our hearts.

We know that you love them, and know their every need, far better than we do. We ask that you will do for them as you see best, and bless them with your love and peace.
Lord, in your mercy. Hear our payer.

Heavenly Father we thank you for those who have died in the faith of Christ. We thank you for allowing us to share our lives with them. We pray for those who mourn. Open their minds that they may find a new direction in life, and grant them the comfort of your presence.

You turn our darkness into light, in your light shall we see light
Lord in your mercy - Hear our prayer.

Merciful father, accept these prayer for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Adapted from ThisIsChurch.com 


Intercession for the second Sunday of Advent

Almighty God our heavenly Father your promise through your Son, Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.
We name in your presence this morning, people and situations that need our prayers.

We pray for the church throughout the world and in this country. We pray for this church for Putnoe Heights, for Charlie for Sam and Joan and Neil -  and for all who serve in various other positions. We pray that we may all benefit from various gifts that we all have to offer in the service of Christ, that in faith and unity; we may be constantly renewed by your Holy Spirit for mission
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer

Dear Lord - we pray today for peace in our world, and an end to violence. May there be peace in our homes and hearts so that we may live and work together in a spirit of peace and harmony. Remind us all that we share your world with others, many less fortunate than we are and who may be resentful. Help us to understand their frustration which often expresses itself in violence and anger. Purify the minds and attitudes of men and women in leadership, especially the media, so that they present a better more peaceful view of our world, rather than the violent image that agitates those troubled in spirit.

May the world know the peace of Christ, without which society loses its direction and ignores our deep desire for peace.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.


Give grace to us our families and friends and to all our neighbours, that we may serve Christ in one another and loves as he loves us. Help us to make our homes patterns of your love, places of mutual trust and forgiveness, places of true sharing and caring, places of deep joy and peace, and unite us all , one to another in the circle of your love. In this season of Advent, we celebrate the first coming of your Son to us in Bethlehem, may we joyfully anticipate the day when Christ will come again. May our Advent season be a preparation for the day when we are taken into the joy of heaven, where waiting will be no more, and all our hopes will be fulfilled.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer

God our Father, we remember before you any who are suffering from any form of illness. we pray for any who are anxious, sorrowful, or in any kind of need at this time. We pray especially for loved ones and those who are known to us who are ill or in any kind of need. We remember them now in the quietness of our hearts.

We know that you love them,. and know their every need, far better than we do. We ask that you will do for them as you see best, and bless them with your love and peace.
Lord, in your mercy. Hear our payer.

Heavenly Father we thank you for those who have died in the faith of Christ. We thank you for allowing us to share our lives with them. We pray for those who mourn. Open their minds that they may find a new direction in life, and grant them the comfort of your presence.

Jesus Christ is the light of the world, a light which no darkness can quench - We remember before God those who have died and light a candle to symbolize the light of Christ which eternally shines and brings hope

We remember N

You turn our darkness into light, in your light shall we see light
Lord in your mercy - Hear our prayer.

Merciful father, accept these prayer for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.


Hymns

 

Jesus, the name high over all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOBV_gLeRVU

Be Thou my vision https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxvXGgSlRcs

Take this moment, sign and space https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbZ6gGG0V-o

Soldiers of Christ arise https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGV7c4U2lCE