Weekly Online Service
13 December 2020 The Third Sunday of Advent

Please find below our service for this week. You can also click on the PDF button to open and download a copy of the printed generic Service booklet.

You will find an opening hymn - words are included. This is followed by the service. Finally there is a closing hymn. Please feel free to follow along in whichever way you feel most comfortable. Words in bold are for everyone to join in.

Hymn

Long ago, prophets knew

Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew,
come to make all things new;
bear his people's burden,
freely love and pardon.

Refrain:
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
when he comes,
who will make him welcome?

God in time, God in man,
this is God's timeless plan:
he will come, as a man,
born himself of woman,
God divinely human.

[Refrain]

Mary, hail! Though afraid,
she believed, she obeyed.
In her womb, God is laid:
till the time expected,
nurtured and protected,

[Refrain]

Journey ends! Where afar
Bethlem shines, like a star,
stable door stands ajar.
Unborn Son of Mary,
Saviour, do not tarry!

Refrain:
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
Jesus comes!
Jesus comes!
We will make him welcome!

Service Audio

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

All say Amen.

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

and also with you.

Almighty God,
to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Kyrie

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.

The Prayers of Penitence

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, to be our advocate in heaven, and to bring us to eternal life.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith, firmly resolved to keep God’s commandments and to live in love and peace with all.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father,
we have sinned against you
and against our neighbour
in thought and word and deed,
through negligence, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We are truly sorry and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past
and grant that we may serve you in newness of life
to the glory of your name.  Amen.

Almighty God,
who forgives all who truly repent,
have mercy upon you,
pardon and deliver you from all your sins,
confirm and strengthen you in all goodness,
and keep you in life eternal;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The third Advent candle is lit - John the Baptist

God our Father, you gave to Zechariah and Elizabeth in their old age a son called John. He grew up strong in spirit, prepared the people for the coming of the Lord, and baptized them in the Jordan to wash away their sins. Help us, who have been baptized into Christ, to be ready to welcome him into our hearts, and to grow strong in faith by the power of the Spirit. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the light who is coming into the world. Amen.

The Collect of the Day is said or sung.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at your first coming sent your messenger to prepare your way before you: grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready your way by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in your sight; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Old and New Testament Readings

Isaiah 61.1-4,8-11 - Read by Jean McDonald

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.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
   the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins,
   they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
   the devastations of many generations.

8 For I the Lord love justice,
   I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
   and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
   and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
   that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
   my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
   he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
   and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
   and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
   to spring up before all the nations.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

1 Thessalonians 5.16-24 - Read by Bryan Ward

Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.

23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

John 1.6-8,19-28 - Read by Katie Smart

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.

19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ 20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ 21 And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ 22 Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 23 He said,
‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
“Make straight the way of the Lord” ’,
as the prophet Isaiah said.

24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ 26 John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sermon

He grew up strong in spirit…

2020-12-13 Nikola_from_1294A gift for Zechariah and Elizabeth in their old age. John the Baptist, who’s candle we light today was a prophet, perhaps the greatest of them all. John encouraged all those who came to hear his message, that the Messiah was coming soon. He used scripture to announce the greatest gift the world would ever receive and they and us needed to get ready.

As we draw ever closer to the strangest Christmas since those during WW2, it will be an opportunity to hold onto the real meaning of what we are doing and why. God did not send his Son to decorate, but to hang upon a tree, taking on himself the sin of the world. God sent his only Son into the world to bring us home. God sent his only Son to reconcile us to him, that we might be saved.

Usually we would be enjoying a Family Toy Service today and so I have prepared a sermon [of sorts] that I hope brings out the child in you. Today we would also have brought Toys to give to local children through Enfield Council. Because it is not possible this year due to the covid virus, we may wish to send a financial gift to The Church of England Children Society instead. And in doing a ‘good deed’ for children I am certain that it would be well received.

Doing a ‘good deed’ holds memories for me of being a Brownie Guide, something many of us shared as children. Here at St Mary’s the tradition has been for our young people to be Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. But whichever organisation they become part of, we are proud of them all, because they are encouraged to think of others in so many different ways.

During the 1950’s as a small child, I was taken with my Polish cousins to celebrate St Nicholas at the Polish Embassy in London. There were biscuits in the shape of St Nicholas and they were decorated in icing with his distinctive colourful Bishop’s robes. We wore Polish national dress, danced along to traditional folk music. And at the end of the evening we were sent home with a present that Nicholas gave us himself. These precious memories have remained with me and they, with my Christian faith, have been at the heart of my giving over the Christmas season ever since. I would like to share with you a poem describing what we know about this Eastern Europian bishop, about his generosity and charity.

A Poem about St Nicholas

Bishop St Nicholas lived far away,
near the Aegean Sea, where Turkey lay.
Travel back with us now to a time long ago.
We will visit his country, and his life we shall know.

We remember this saint, such a holy, good man.
Be like him in charity, do all that you can.
Lots of miracles Nicholas hurried to do.
Helping people in need with gifts that were new.

Sailors tossed in the wind and storms of the sea,
saw a vision of Nicholas who guided them free.
Now patron of sailing, they remember him yet,
lots of paintings and pictures with a fisherman’s net.

Giving money to poor girls, so marry could they.
Made our Nicholas famous, remembered today.
With their gift in hand, soon they were wed.
“God Bless you and keep you” St Nicholas said.

Kid’s patron in Germany, the Netherlands too.
He asks that presents are given to children like you.
Their customs are different: they put out their shoes –
Filling them with toys, his coming’s good news!

Here stockings are hung by the chimney with care,
in hope that St Nicholas soon will come there.
Dressed as Bishop or Santa, he’s one and the same –
Jolly, friendly, good man, we’re glad that he came.

Call him ‘Santa’ or ‘Saint’ they both mean the same,
for his nickname is Claus, short for Nicholas’ name.
Giving gifts was his custom – we still do it today.
Deeds done in Jesus’ name forever will stay.

Bishop Nicholas still is a hero to all.
Christmas Day with lots of others we follow his call,
bringing gifts and some joy to children in need.
We copy Nicholas today and do a good deed.

The Rev'd Maureen Lunn, 13/12/2020

Service Audio

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit
and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son
is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Intercessions 

The Intercessions list has been circulated with petitions for the Church, The World, The Community, Our Keyworkers, The Sick and the Deceased. The Diocesan Cycle of Prayer is found at:

London Anglican Cycle of Prayer

This or another response may be used:

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the power of the Spirit and in union with Christ, let us pray to the Father.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you promised through your Son Jesus Christ to hear us when we pray in faith.

Strengthen N our bishop(s) and all your Church in the service of Christ, that those who confess your name may be united in your truth,
live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen; give wisdom to all in authority;
and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace;
that we may honour one another, and seek the common good.

Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours,
that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit …;
give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Hear us as we remember those who have died in the faith of Christ …; according to your promises, grant us with them a share in your eternal kingdom.

Rejoicing in the fellowship of all your saints, we commend ourselves and the whole creation to your unfailing love.

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

The Peace

We are the body of Christ.
In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.
Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

and also with you.

A sign of peace may be exchanged.

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray.

Service Audio

The Post Communion Collect

We give you thanks, O Lord, for these heavenly gifts; kindle in us the fire of your Spirit that when your Christ comes again we may shine as lights before his face; who is alive and reigns now and for ever. Amen.

The Blessing

The peace of God,
which passes all understanding,
keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God,
and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

The Dismissal

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ.  Amen.

Recessional Hymn

Of the Father’s love begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten
ere the worlds began to be,
he is Alpha and Omega,
he the source, the ending he,
of the things that are, that have been,
and that future years shall see,
evermore and evermore.

O that birth for ever blessed
when the Virgin, full of grace,
by the Holy Ghost conceiving,
bare the Saviour of our race,
and the babe, the world’s Redeemer,
first revealed his sacred face,
evermore and evermore.

O ye heights of heaven, adore him;
angel-hosts, his praises sing;
powers, dominions, bow before him,
and extol our God and King:
let no tongue on earth be silent,
every voice in concert ring,
evermore and evermore.

This is he whom seers and sages
sang of old with one accord;
whom the writings of the prophets
promised in their faithful word;
now he shines, the long-expected:
let creation praise its Lord,
evermore and evermore.

Christ, to thee, with God the Father,
and, O Holy Ghost, to thee,
hymn and chant and high thanksgiving
and unwearied praises be,
honour, glory, and dominion,
and eternal victory,
evermore and evermore.

Material from Common Worship 2000 is included in this service and is copyright © The Central Board of Finance of the Church of England.