Winkfield, Cranbourne & Chavey Down Churches

WEEKLY SERMON

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Patrick Mukholi on 22nd November 2020 on the First Sunday of Advent
An Advent Meditation
ADVENT CAROL SERVICE
 
Introduction (Minister)
 
Throughout history, the Church kept Advent as a season of great solemnity - a time in which to meditate upon the ultimate issues of death, judgement, hell and heaven. Advent, though, was also a time of great rejoicing, for Christ would come, not only as Judge, but also as Saviour, and would usher in the Kingdom of God. Advent, therefore, provided a vivid preparation for Christmas.
 
During the season of Advent, we are called to seek the light of Christ, even in the midst of darkness. We are invited to face the darkness in our own lives and in the world around us. The prophets assure us that the darkness will not overcome us. They call us to watch for the Light. We are called to wait, to hope, to trust in promises made.
 
As we make this Advent journey in faith, we invite God’s light to dispel the darkness. We light the candles to remember that Jesus’ light is born into the world and is all around us. Each Sunday, we light a candle. Today we light the candle of hope. Through us we hope that the light of Christ will come again and again into our world.
 
We ask for the grace to set down all those burdens that darken our hearts as we search for the light. We ask for the gift of attentiveness that we may truly see God’s loving presence within and among us. And we ask for renewed faith that we might be light for others.
 
We begin with Rorate Cœli’, known as ‘The Advent Prose’: a meditation from the prophet Isaiah on our desperate need for the Lord. It reminds us of the darkness of the world before it knew the light of Christ and provides a stark meditation on the state of our world which awaits Christ’s second coming. The carol ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ picks up this desperate prayer with a jubilant chorus calling for rejoicing at the prospect of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us.
 
Advent Prose Rorate Cœli’ : antiphon & 1st verse (trad.)
 
Introit Hymn: O come, O come, Emmanuel
 
The Bidding Prayer (Minister)
 
Beloved in Christ, as we await the great festival of Christmas, let us prepare ourselves so that we may be shown its true meaning. Let us hear, in lessons from Holy Scripture, how the prophets of Israel foretold that God would visit and redeem his waiting people. Let us rejoice in our carols and hymns, that the good purpose of God is being mightily fulfilled. Let us celebrate the promise that our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will bring all men and all things into the glory of God’s eternal kingdom. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.
 
But first, let us pray for the world which God so loves, for those who have not heard the good news of God, or who do not believe it; for those who walk in darkness and the shadow of death; and for the Church in this place and everywhere, that it may be freed from all evil and fear, and may in pure joy lift up the light of the love of God.
 
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 may find us rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the light of his truth.
 
These prayers and praises we humbly offer to God, in the words which Christ himself taught us:
 
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that 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.
 
 
First Advent Antiphon ‘O Sapientia’ : plainchant (trad.)
 
O Wisdom, which camest out of the mouth of the most High, and reachest from one end to another, mightily, and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
 
First Lesson: Genesis 3: 8-15 (Reader 1)
 
Adam and Eve eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge
 
And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
 
Thanks be to God.
 
Adam Lay Ybounden is a medieval hymn asserting the darkness brought by Adam and Eve’s disobedience. We all wait for deliverance from our imprisonment when Christ comes.
 
First Carol: Adam Lay Ybounden – B. Ord
 
 
Second Lesson: Isaiah 11: 1-9 (Reader 2)
 
The Reign of Jesse’s Offspring:
The peace that Christ will bring is foreshown
 
1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
 
3 His delight is in the fear of the Lord,
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
4 But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins,
And faithfulness the belt of His waist.
 
6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.
 
Thanks be to God.
 
Second Carol: The Noble Stem of Jesse – M. Praetorius
 
 
Third Lesson: St John 1: 19-28 (Reader 3)
 
St John the Evangelist tells of John the Baptist
 
And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. then said they unto him, Who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water; but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.
 
Thanks be to God.
 
Second Hymn: On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
 
 
Fourth Lesson: St Luke 1: 26-35, 38 (Reader 4)
 
The Angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary
 
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
 
Thanks be to God.
 
Meditation: I Am the Lord’s Servant (Minister)
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name.” – Luke 1:38, Luke 1:46-49
The news the angel Gabriel brought Mary didn’t mean a mere change of gears. It meant a complete change of expectations for the entire course of her life. How intimidating would that be? I would be like, “Slow down. First of all, I’m a virgin, it isn’t physically possible! Secondly, even if God did make it happen, what will the world think since I am not married!? What will Joseph think? You have got the wrong person!!”. Yes, she was probably scared of what might happen. But her reaction was remarkable: Can you imagine Mary, a young peasant girl, and yet her heart was fully yielded to God as “the Lord’s servant” even though what Gabriel was announcing to her meant her entire life was now upended? I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.
What an example to those of us who prefer familiarity to spontaneity! Mary humbly accepted this radical change of direction in her life. In trust, she yielded herself – her dreams, her plans, her very body – to the Lord. And then she celebrated in song the privilege of being used by Him in His Kingdom plan. She had responded with faith in God and the heart of a servant. She didn’t know how it would happen, or what the world would think of her, but she set her eyes on the Lord in simple trust. How do you respond to God when He calls you out of your comfort zone?
Lord, teach us to yield with grace and with faith to Your plans for us.
The third carol commemorates this interaction with the angel Gabriel, a Basque Christmas folk carol about the Annunciation. Translated into English by Sabine Baring-Gould, you will have heard it performed by Sting amongst others.
Third Carol: Gabriel’s Message!
 
Fifth Lesson: Revelation 22: 1-7 (Reader 5)
 
One of the seven angels shows the tree of life to St John the Divine.
 
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him; and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign for ever and ever. And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true; and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly; blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophesy of this book.
 
 Thanks be to God.
 
Fourth Carol: People, look East
 
Meditation. (Minister)
 
Advent 1 – the Advent hope. Our Advent journey begins with rules of the road. We are on the way to where God would have us be, and we’re not there yet. But how shall we go? We shall go together, as one body, living and trusting in one another. We shall go as this community of faith, working side by side, and leaning into the grace of God every step of the way. We shall go in peace. Jesus said, ‘Keep awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.’
Amen. Come soon, Lord Jesus!
 
Lighting of the first Advent Candle (All)
 
Versicle and response after the candle has been lit (All)
 
Jesus is the light of the world.
A light no darkness can ever put out.
 
Poem (Reader 6)
 
How Long? by Horatius Bonar
 
My God, it is not fretfulness
That makes me say "How long?"
It is not heaviness of heart
That hinders me in song,
'Tis not despair of truth and right,
Nor coward dread of wrong.
 
But how can I, with such a hope
Of glory and of home;
With such a joy before my eyes,
Not wish the time were come
Of years the jubilee, of days
The Sabbath and the sum?
 
These years, what ages they have been!
This life, how long it seems!
And how can I in evil days,
'Mid unknown hills and streams
But sigh for those of home and heart
And visit them in dreams?
 
Yet peace, my heart and hush my tongue;
Be calm, my troubled breast;
Each restless hour is hastening on
The everlasting rest.
Thou knowest that the time thy God
Appoints for thee is best.
 
Let faith, not fear nor fretfulness,
Awake the cry, "How long?"
Let not faintheartedness of soul
Damp thy aspiring song,
Right comes, truth dawns, the night departs
Of error and of wrong.
 
The Parish Notices (Minister)
 
The Collect for Advent Sunday (Vicar)
 
O God, who makest us glad with the yearly expectation of thy coming, Grant that we, who with joy receive thy only-begotten Son as our Redeemer, may without fear behold him when he shall come to be our Judge, even thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
 
The Matin Responsory is a medieval chant sometimes used to start an advent service capturing the yearning for the promised Deliverer. In it we hear the haunting question of John the Baptist in prison ‘Tell us, art thou he that should come?’ But we also hear the hope filled revelation of St. John the Divine, ‘I look from afar: And lo, I see the pow'r of God coming, and a cloud cov'ring the whole earth.’
Matin Responsory
 
I look from afar: And lo, I see the pow'r of God coming, and a cloud cov'ring the whole earth.
Go ye out to meet him and say: Tell us, art thou he that should come to reign over thy people Israel?
 
High and low, rich and poor, one with another.
Go ye out to meet him and say: Hear, O thou shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep: Tell us, art thou he that should come?
 
Stir up thy strength, O Lord, and come to reign over thy people Israel.
 
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
I look from afar: And lo, I see the pow'r of God coming, and a cloud cov'ring the whole earth.
Go ye out to meet him and say: Tell us, art thou he that should come to reign over thy people Israel?
 
Advent Creed (All)
 
We believe in God the Father, creator of heaven and earth.
The one who is full of patience,
who is not afraid of silence,
who does not need to fill each moment with activity and noise.
The one who is beyond bluster and flurry,
and who does not jostle for attention.
 
We believe in God the Son, Saviour of creation,
who slipped into Bethlehem one night, mostly unnoticed,
who lived thirty years without headlines or hurry,
who frequently took time alone with his patient Father,
who waited for the right time to become the suffering servant,
who stood quietly before the noise of his accusers,
whose silence overpowered their words,
who died, then rose again on a quiet Sunday morning.
 
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens, empowers, renews and refreshes,
sometimes arriving with obvious power,
sometimes with the quiet breath of a whisper.
We believe in one God
who patiently waits for us,
and who longs for us to do the same.
 
Prayer (Minister and Children)
 
Let us Pray.
 
Emmanuel, Our world waits in darkness longing for Your light.
In the midst of darkness, enkindle our hope.
 
As we long and trust you for lasting peace in the midst of wars:
Be with us.
 
As we long and trust you for families to be reunited:
Be with us.
 
As we long and trust you for enemies to be reconciled:
Be with us.
 
As we long and trust you for cures and healings:
Be with us.
 
As we long and trust you for good jobs and economic security:
Be with us.
 
As we long and trust you for love and community:
Be with us.
 
As we long and trust you for the end of the present difficulties:
Be with us.
 
Fulfil the deepest longings of your people as may be best for us and dispel the darkness in our hearts and in our world.
 
Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your son our Saviour. Amen.
 
Final Hymn: Come, thou long-expected Jesus
 
Dismissal and Blessing (Minister)
 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 )
 
Go forth into the world in peace. Be of good courage.
Hold fast that which is good. Render to no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted. Support the weak. Help the afflicted.
Show love to everyone. Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit; and the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
 
Postlude
 
Jesus bleibet meine Freude (Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring) – Bach
 
God bless
Revd. Patrick Mukholi

 PREVIOUS SERMONS

22nd November 2020 - please click here

15th November 2020 - please click here

8th November 2020 - please click here

1st November 2020 -  please click here for the 10:30am Patronal sermon

1st November 2020 - please click here for the 8am sermon

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