20th Dec 2020 APC - 9 Lessons and Carols (Online)
Welcome and Introduction
Good morning everyone and welcome to our Sunday Morning worship. Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. It is a very special Sunday because it is also our service of 9 Lessons and Carols.
But let us begin our journey to Bethlehem as Laudimar and Magnus light our 4th Advent Candle to remind us of the peace that Christ brings. (END PART 1)
Video Laudimar and Magnus light the Advent Candle
Thank you so much Laudimar and Magnus. Let us pray…
Opening Prayer Michael
Father God, we thank you for this day of praise and celebration – this day on which we set aside time to relive that first Christmas long ago, on which we remind ourselves of the wonder of the birth of Christ, on which we remember once more the glad tidings proclaimed to the shepherds, witnessed by the wise men, made possible through Mary.
Loving Father, we come to give thanks for this season- to rejoice at your great love in sending your Son, to see for ourselves the truth discovered by the shepherds, to worship Christ and offer our gifts as wise men came before us.
We come asking you to use us, just as you chose your servant Mary to enter our world. Take our faith, small though it is, take our gifts, few though they are, take our love, poor though this seems, take our lives weak though they may be.
Loving father, speak to us through this service. May all we hear draw us closer to you, may all we share remind us of your love, and so may the message of Christmas come alive in our hearts to the glory of your name. Amen.
Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day, our daily bread, And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who 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.
Introduce the Kid’s Animation (“At Home for Christmas” Series)
If you haven’t already got your children with you now’s the time to pause the recording and to encourage them to join you because I’m going to show them the third in our animation series “At Home for Christmas”. PAUSE
It’s great to see you boys and girls.
I hope you’ve enjoyed watching the animations I have shown you over the last few weeks as we follow the journeys of all the people in the Christmas story. Today we’re going to hear about the wise men who followed a bright star in the sky that led them to where the baby Jesus was born. (End Part 2)
Video Kid’s Animation ‘The Wise Men’
(PCI Website under At Home for Christmas, ‘Resources’)
I hope you enjoyed that boys and girls. I hope you’ve been able to do some of the craft activities at home to help you follow the journeys of all the characters in the Christmas story each week. So far you should have been able to make your advent wreath out of card. Then you should have cut out and coloured in your stable to remind you of Mary and Joseph and the sheep to remind you of the shepherds. Today you can cut out and colour in a star to remind you of the wise men. You’ll find all these things on the PCI website in the section ‘At Home for Christmas’ and click on the link for resources. Once you’ve cut and coloured in the stable, the sheep and the star you can stick them on your advent wreath. Next week is our final part of the story because next week is Christmas day! That’s the most important day of the year because that’s the day we celebrate the Birthday of Jesus. So hopefully I’ll see you in church for that but if not, don’t forget to tune in online to find out why Jesus being born in Bethlehem is the most amazing day in the whole of history. Thanks so much for tuning in. Have a great week in school. Bye for now!
As I said at the beginning today is a very special Sunday because it is our Carol Service.
The Service of Nine Lessons with Carols was first drawn up by Edward Benson then Bishop of Truro for use in that cathedral, and was later simplified and adapted for use in the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge, in 1918 by the then Dean, Eric Milner-White. Since then it has become one of the highlights of the Christian year for followers of Christ throughout the world. Through the reading of Holy Scripture and the singing of Christmas Carols we trace the story of humankind from their creation and fall. We hear the promise of God’s redemption through the Old Testament prophets. We celebrate the fulfilment of that promise by listening to the stories of the birth of Christ in Bethlehem through the Virgin Mary. We rejoice that through this Jesus we know that our sins are forgiven, we have peace with God and we have become sons and daughters of the King of Kings…So sit back and enjoy as members of our congregation take us on this journey through scripture readings and Carols.
(End Part 3) Videos-
Genesis 3 V 8-19 ‘The Downfall of Humanity’ Elizabeth
Genesis 22 v 15-18 ‘The Promise of God’ Lara
VIRTUAL CAROL ‘It was on a starry night’ Rebecca, Kate, Laura
Isaiah 9 v 2, 6 and 7 ‘Christ’s birth foretold’ Joshua
Isaiah 11 v 1-9 ‘Prediction of Christ’s Life’ Robert
VIRTUAL CAROL ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ Hannah, Micah
Luke 1 v 26- 35, 38 ‘Mary is visited by the Lord’s Angel ‘ Denise
Luke 2 v 1-7 ‘The Saviour is born’ Isobel
VIRTUAL CAROL ‘O Holy Night ‘ Sharon and Elaine
Luke 2 v 8-16 ‘Angels appear to the Shepherds ‘ Erika
Matthew 2 v 1-12 ‘The wise men bring their gifts’ Tara
John 1 v 1-14 ‘Jesus the Light of the world’ Jean
Reflection ‘The Light of Peace’
The word ‘peace’ is common in most languages. People can talk about ‘peace treaties’ or ‘times of peace’. It means the absence of war. In the bible, the word ‘peace’ can refer to the absence of conflict but it also points to the presence of something better in its place. In the OT the Hebrew word for peace is ‘Shalom’. And in the NT the Greek word is ‘Eirene’. The most basic meaning of ‘Shalom’ is ‘complete’ or ‘whole’.
The word can refer to a stone which has a perfect whole shape with no cracks. It can also refer to a completed stone wall- one that has no gaps and no missing bricks. Shalom refers to something that is complex with lots of pieces, that’s in a state of completeness (wholeness). It’s like Job who says his tents are in a state of Shalom because he counted his flock and no animals were missing.
This is why Shalom can refer to a person’s wellbeing. Like when David visited his brothers on the battlefield he asked about their Shalom. The core idea is that life is complex, full of moving parts and relationships ad situations. And when any of these is out of alignment or missing, our Shalom breaks down and life is no longer whole – it needs to be restored.
In fact, that’s the basic meaning of Shalom when you use it as a verb. To bring Shalom literally means to make complete or restore. So Solomon brings Shalom to the unfinished temple when he completes it. Or if your animal accidentally damages your neighbour’s field you Shalom them by giving them a complete repayment for their loss. You take what’s missing and you restore it to wholeness.
The same goes for human relationships. In the book of proverbs to reconcile and heal a broken relationship is to bring Shalom. And when rival Kingdoms make Shalom in the bible it doesn’t just mean they stop fighting – it also means they start working together for each other’s benefit. This state of Shalom is what Israel’s Kings were supposed to cultivate, but unfortunately it rarely happened.
So the prophet Isaiah, looked forward to a future King, a prince of Shalom. His reign would bring Shalom with no end – a time when God would make a covenant of Shalom with His people. When he would make right all wrongs and heal all that has been broken. This is why Jesus’ birth in the NT was announced as the arrival of Eirene. That’s the Greek word for peace.
Jesus came to offer His peace to others like when He said, “My peace I give to you all.” The apostles claimed that Jesus made peace between messed up human beings and God when He died and rose from the dead. The idea is that Jesus restored to wholeness the broken relationship between humans and their creator. This is why the apostle Paul can say, “Jesus Himself is our Eirene.”
Jesus was the whole, complete human being that we are made to be, but have failed to be. And now Jesus offers me His life as a gift. This means that Jesus’ followers are now called to create peace. Paul instructed local churches to keep their unity through the bond of peace which requires humility and patience and bearing with others in love. Becoming people of peace means participating in the life of Jesus who ‘reconciled all things in heaven and on earth’ restoring peace through His death and resurrection.
So peace takes a lot of work because it’s not just the absence of conflict. True peace requires taking what’s broken and restoring it to wholeness whether it’s in our lives, our relationships or in our world. And that’s the rich biblical concept of peace.
It’s been a joy and privilege to share with you again today. Thanks again for logging on. Do tune in again this Wednesday as I share the last part of our Midweek series called, “Mind your head.”
Next Friday will be Christmas Morning. Thank you to all of you who have booked your place with Aleida. The good news is that there is enough room at the Inn for everyone to be socially distanced in the one service. The service will begin at 9.30am and will only last about 40 minutes. Then there will be a Sunday service on the 27th December led by Aleida at the usual time of 10am. If you haven’t already done so, please let us know as soon as possible if you hope to attend the service on Sunday 27th.
As is our tradition, on Christmas day we will have a special collection for the poorest and most vulnerable in our world who have been especially affected by the Covid 19 pandemic. The money that is raised will be channeled directly through our Partner Agencies ‘Tear Fund’ and ‘Christian Aid’. I will show a little video clip on Christmas Morning when our Moderator will explain about this in a little more detail. But for now, I just want to give you a heads up and encourage you to come prepared and to give as generously as you can. You can also donate online using the Church bank details on our website, just mark your donation for the Moderator’s Christmas Appeal. You can also contact our treasurer Aleida Van der Flier to pay using a mechanism that is more suitable for you.
And don’t worry, if you can’t make church on Christmas Day or on Sunday 27th there will be services online on both days at 9.30am on Christmas Day and the usual time of 10am on Sunday the 27th.
In a moment we will conclude our Carol service in the traditional way as our virtual choir members leads us out with Hark the Herald. But first let me lead you in a Benediction after which I will invite you as always, to say the grace together…
Be people of peace.
Let peace live in your heart and share the peace of Christ with all you meet.
Share peace by acting out of compassion and not fear.
Share peace by listening to all sides of the story.
Share peace by praying for our world.
In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share peace.
As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share peace and hope with those you meet. Amen.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all now and for evermore, Amen.” (End Part 4)
VIRTUAL CAROL ‘Hark the Herald’ Rebecca, Kate, Laura
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.