13Dec2020

St Buryan Eucharist – 10:15am

Sunday 13th December 2020

A Blue Christmas

‘The real meaning of Christmas is not presents, it’s more
like being met with hope and light in your darkness
and that’s a message that a lot of us don’t hear.’

Rev Wendy Boden-Nelson

Sat 12 Dec 2020 - 6pm Blue Christmas Eucharist on Land's End Churches on Facebook

Welcome and Call to Worship                            

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you. And also with you.

All around us, lights are lit and carols play. The season heaps joy upon us. Yet, we who come here, we carry more than joy; we carry loss, worry, grief and pain.

We come weary, seeking rest from expectations. We also seek a holy presence to be with us. We come to this place, by the resilient grace of God: Whose love that never lets go. We come knowing that we will meet with God here.

God of mercy and love, we gather here today as hurting people, bringing our pain, our sorrow and our confusion to this safe space. Would you meet us in our darkness, and give us freedom to struggle together as we seek your presence. We ask for strength for today, courage for tomorrow and peace for the past. Amen.

The Lighting of the Advent Candle

As our nights grow longer and our days grow short, we remember God’s promise to our world: Christ, our Light and our Hope, will come.

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT: JOY

The third candle of Advent is the Candle of Joy. It reminds us of the joy that Mary felt when the angel Gabriel told her that a special child would be born to her - a child who would save and deliver his people.

God wants us all to have joy. The angel who announced to the shepherds that Jesus had been born told them: "Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people - for to you is born this day, in the City of David, a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord." We light this candle to remember that He is the bringer of true and everlasting joy.            (Light Advent Candle Three - Pink)

Let us pray - Loving God, we thank you for the joy you bring us. Help us prepare our hearts for this gift. Bless our worship. Help us to hear and to do your word. We ask it in the name of the one born in Bethlehem, Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Collect

God for whom we watch and wait, you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son: give us courage to speak the truth,
to hunger for justice, and to suffer for the cause of right, with Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reading                     Isaiah 61.1-3

The servant of the Lord said:

            1 The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
                        because the LORD has anointed me;
            he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
                        to bind up the broken-hearted,
            to proclaim liberty to the captives,
                        and release to the prisoners;
            2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favour,
                        and the day of vengeance of our God;
                        to comfort all who mourn;
            3 to provide for those who mourn in Zion –
                        to give them a garland instead of ashes,
            the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
                        the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

This is the word of the Lord                  Thanks be to God.

Gospel Reading                                                       

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 1: 1-5  Glory to you, O Lord.

In the beginning was the Word. The Word was close beside God, and the Word was God. In the beginning, he was close beside God. All things came into existence through him; not one thing that exists came into existence without him. Life was in him and this life was the light of the human race. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

This is the Gospel of the Lord.      Praise to you, O Christ.

Reflection and Response    In the midst of a season that often feels frantic, loud, and anything but peaceful, may the next few moments offer you space to reconnect with your soul, reflect, or simply be.

Reflection

This year has been unlike any other. Lots of challenges and lots of learning about how to do things differently. But there is also much that is the same.

Some of us are reaching Christmas without someone we love next to us, the depth of pain and sorry this brings does not enable us face Christmas with joy. Some of us are spending our Christmas alone without our family or friends to visit. Some are facing a bleak financial future and are worried about jobs, mortgages, rent and affording the next bills. Others are struggling with depression and despair.

In spite, or despite of this, the relentless march of time brings Christmas close whether we want to celebrate or not. This Sunday is a chance for each one of us to pause and remember those who are not at our celebrations this year. To acknowledge that it is a difficult year for many. Ourselves included. To allow ourselves to grieve for those who have died, for those relationships that are fractured beyond healing, and for the Christmas you had hoped to celebrate this year.

The first Christmas was hard. Travelling while close to birth, and nowhere to stop – the strange circumstances of the visitors, the threat of Herod. The first Christmas was one of pain and fear, uncertainty and worry.

But that was not the whole story. For the first Christmas also has the wonder of the new born son, safely delivered despite the circumstances. The joy of God’s Messengers, the angels, the Good News they shared. The awesome response of the shepherds, the wisdom of the Magi in helping the Holy Family flee to safety.

We can see clearly that amidst the horrors and fears, the bereavement of being in an alien place without the care of her family while Mary brings to birth God Made Man, here is also found grace, hope, love and joy.

No matter how different this Christmas is for you, even when it is painful and difficult for you, my prayer is that you know the love of God to surround you, the peace of God to fill you, the hope of God to inspire you and the grace of God to give you strength to meet the coming days.  The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. Not then, not now. Not ever. Amen.

          

Intercessions by Helen Briggs  Blue Christmas, 3rd Advent

As we approach a Christmas period that will be very different from usual for so many people this year, we pray especially for all those who have suffered bereavement over the past year, whether from Covid 19 or for any other reason.

We pray for those in the health service, who have given their lives caring for the sick and endangering their own health as a result. Be with the bereaved Lord and help them to feel your love and care as they try to come to terms with their loss.  Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We ask your blessing on all those who are ill, mentally or physically whether at home, in care homes or in hospital and for all those who care for them. This festive season will be anything but festive for so many and for some, understanding the reason why their lives have changed so dramatically, is very hard. We pray for all those who are hungry, for those relying on foodbanks, for the homeless, for those without work.

And we pray for all those agencies who are striving to help them. Help them to feel the strength of your presence O Lord, to see them through the weeks and months ahead and let the healing grace of your love, so transform us all in such a way that we may play our part in the transfiguration of the world from a place of suffering, death and sorrow to a realm of infinite light, joy and love.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of our senses which enable us to enjoy the beauty of the world in which we live and for all the gifts that nature bestows on us. We thank you for the amazing wildlife we can enjoy both on land and in the sea. Help us to draw strength from the landscapes, seascapes and the beauty of the stars as we wait for the first snowdrop and the return of the warming rays of the sun.

And we thank you for the gift of hope, for the promise of new life that the coming spring affords us, an ever present help in this time of trouble. We give you thanks for all those who have worked so hard and have succeeded in finding a vaccine for the coronavirus, both scientists and volunteers, thus giving us hope that our lives may once more be enriched by the company of others, and with our friends and family. Enrich us all by hope and thereby enable us to enrich life for others

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer

The words of the book of Joshua help us all when they say ‘Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid neither be thou dismayed for thy Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest’

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.

Liturgy of Remembering

The first candle we light is to remember those whom we have loved and lost. We pause to remember their name, their face, their voice,
the memory that binds them to us in this season.

May God’s eternal love surround them.      (Pause while the 1st candle is lit)

The second candle we light is to redeem the pain of loss; the loss of relationships, the loss of jobs with the security they bring, the loss of health in ourselves or in family members, the loss of joy and peace in our lives from the stresses which surround us, the loss and loneliness we experience when our loved ones do not share our faith. As we gather up the pain of the past we offer it to you, O God, asking that into our open hands you will place the gift of peace.

Refresh, restore, renew us O God, and lead us into your future. (2nd candle is lit)

The third candle we light for those who experience a loss of direction in their lives. God of the Exodus, you led Moses and your people through the wilderness to a new land. Hear our prayer. We want so much to have a sense of direction, to know where we are and where we ought to be headed. But the darkness and the questions stay. You ask us to be full of faith, to believe deep within that you are our signpost, that you are our wisdom and our guide, and to trust in your presence. Your words to us are clear: ‘Do not fear, I go before you.’

Let us recall that dawn defeats darkness, hope overcomes fear. (3rd candle is lit)

We pray for your Holy Spirit to be at work within us, all of us who are gathered here tonight, may your Holy Spirit comfort us, may it sustain us, may it remind us of your constant love for us. Amen.

 

Prayers of the People                     God, hear our prayer. And in your mercy, answer

 

For greater understanding of the lessons of love and acceptance as taught by Jesus Christ. God, hear our prayer.     And in your mercy, answer. God of great compassion and love, listen to the prayers of these your people. Grant to all, especially the bereaved and troubled ones this Christmas, the blessing we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Peace       Holy One, you are with us in times of trouble and peace; in times of sorrow and times of joy.  When we are unsure of how to continue living and loving, your Spirit intervenes with sighs too deep for words. You speak for us now, Loving God. You comfort us with your abiding peace.

Prayer over the bread and wine               Pour upon the poverty of our love, and the weakness of our praise, the transforming fire of your presence. Amen.

Great Thanksgiving                        From the Discipleship Ministries Website

The Lord be with you.                   And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.                                    We lift them up to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. From the silence before creation your Word spoke all that is into being. You saw the darkness and called forth light, dividing the day from the night, and giving each its name and your blessing. We abused your blessing, choosing to control rather than tend, to consume rather than nourish, to turn away from your light, and turn your darkness into a hiding place, a place of fear and shame.                                          

Still you chose to bless us and redeem us, calling us to restored fellowship through prophets, leaders, and faithful people. And so, with your people on earth and all the company of heaven we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory.  Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ. From the darkness of a stable, you brought forth the light of the world. He carried your light into every darkened corner, calling those kept in darkness to rejoice in your love, and exposing those who hid from your Truth to the light of your righteous judgment. By the baptism of his suffering, death and resurrection you gave birth to your church, delivered us from slavery to sin and death, and made with us a new covenant by water and the Spirit. On the night in which he gave himself up for us he took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: ‘Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’

When the supper was over, he took the cup, gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said: ‘Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’

And so, in remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,  we offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving as a holy and living sacrifice, in union with Christ’s offering for us, as we proclaim the mystery of faith. Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and wine. Make them to be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. By your Spirit, make us one with Christ in his sufferings, one with each other in mutual love, and one in ministry to all the world with healing grace, until Christ comes in final victory, and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy church, all honour and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer and then the Breaking of the Bread

Alleluia! In the midst of our longest night, Christ our Saviour dwells among us! Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!

Invitation to Communion

For anyone who says yes to Jesus. For anyone who believes what Jesus says. For anyone who will just reach out to accept it. Then God will give them this wonderful gift.
The gift of love without condition. The gift of peace beyond understanding. The gift of life everlasting. The gift of life itself.

Thanksgiving                       A Prayer of Hope

Almighty God, we thank you for your constant love and for the blessings of this day. We know that even when we cannot see or feel you, still you are there. Help us to remember you and to listen for your voice in the words of family, friends, and strangers. Kindle our hearts and awaken hope, that we may know you
as you reveal yourself in the world and in our lives. Let the light of your Holy Spirit shine like these candles in the darkness, lighting the way for all who feel despairing, lost, or forgotten, and grant that it may come to dwell so deeply in our  hearts that when we leave this place it may shine on, for us and for those we meet along the way. Amen.

Blessing and Dismissal

Comforting God, as we leave this time of rest would you continue to wrap us in your presence. Be with us in our struggles, and when we get lost in the darkness, shine your light and help us find our way back to you. May God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us, this day, this night and always. Amen.

You have seen the Saviour! Go now into this season of Christmas knowing the love of Christ and of his people, a love without end. Thanks be to God.