Weekly Online Service
27 December 2020 The First Sunday of Christmas

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

Christians, awake! salute the happy morn

Christians, awake! salute the happy morn,
whereon the Saviour of the world was born;
rise to adore the mystery of love,
which hosts of angels chanted from above:
with them the joyful tidings first begun
of God incarnate and the Virgin’s Son.

Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
who heard the angelic herald’s voice, ‘Behold,
I bring good tidings of a Saviour’s birth
to you and all the nations upon earth:
this day hath God fulfilled his promised word,
this day is born a Saviour, Christ the Lord.’

O may we keep and ponder in our mind
God’s wondrous love in saving lost mankind;
trace we the babe, who hath retrieved our loss,
from his poor manger to his bitter cross;
tread in his steps, assisted by his grace,
till man’s first heavenly state again takes place.

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.

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.

Gloria in Excelcis

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

Lord Jesus Christ,
only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand
of the Father:
receive our prayer.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

Glory to God, Glory to God,
Glory to God in the highest.

The Collect of the Day is said or sung.

Almighty God, who wonderfully created us in your own image and yet more wonderfully restored us through your Son Jesus Christ: grant that, as he came to share in our humanity, so we may share the life of his divinity; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Old and New Testament Readings

Isaiah 61.10 - 62.3 - Read by Ken Cope

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.

62 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
   and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out like the dawn,
   and her salvation like a burning torch.
2 The nations shall see your vindication,
   and all the kings your glory;
and you shall be called by a new name
   that the mouth of the Lord will give.
3 You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
   and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Galatians 4.4-7 - Read by Vic Harrington

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. 6 And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ 7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Gospel

Luke 2.15-21 - Read by Pam Hagan

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

The Gospel reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke

All say: Glory to you, O Lord.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 After eight days had passed, it was time to circumcise the child; and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

This is the gospel of the Lord.

All say: Praise to you, O Christ.

All sing: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Sermon

“Glory to God in the highest heaven”

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those he favours.”
Lk2:14. Amen.

2020-12-27 SMM East Window detailGosh, all that planning, shopping, wrapping of presents, not to mention the cooking and it is over so soon. I trust it was all you had hoped for under the circumstances. Using the first part of Luke’s description of the Shepherds’ encounter with the Heavenly host, we are left knowing that God in Jesus became one of us so that we might become like him, a child of God. Good news indeed.

Holding onto momentous news is always difficult, as I have discovered during the past weeks and months. For someone who wears her heart on her sleeve, and what you see is what you get, it was a challenge. Imagine then what Mary held onto, and pondered in her heart from the time of the visitation at the beginning of her pregnancy until the birth, and through the ministry, death and resurrection of her son Jesus.

All babies arrive in this world with a bundle of hopes, dreams, potential and expectations. This vulnerable baby came with the expectations of the nation on his tiny shoulders, the promise from God of a saviour, hope of deliverance, of God with us and for us. Love came down at Christmas.

They, the shepherds that is, were almost at the bottom of the pile. Only lepers and the dead were considered more unclean in a society where being spotless before God was paramount for worship. Perhaps that might have been what held them back from immediately holding a praise party as the angels proclaimed the Messiah’s birth? It wasn’t the Angel Host that sent them into the town, but the wonder of the baby, and they needed to check it out first.

The Shepherds were so profoundly affected by their encounter with the holy family that they couldn’t keep the news to themselves. They were aflame for God and had to spread the good news about town with anyone who would listen. They were amazed and as they returned to hills, we are told they were glorifying God. In contrast Mary pondered everything in her heart, keeping the promise of her new born son to herself, profoundly affected by the birth and waiting for the Angels’ words to become a reality.

It’s a strange word, ‘Ponder’, it means so much more than reflecting on something. It seems to involve an inner life of reflection, chewing over something in the mind. The dictionary places its root in Latin with the word weigh, as in weighing something up, to debate, question, and turn over, this gives us a better idea of what Mary had on her mind as Jesus developed and grew.

This year we as a nation have been pondering, remembering the beginning of the pandemic. Much has been spoken about the dedication of health workers and frontline staff who worked on regardless; and the thought that the virus did not suspend their fight even for a day did bring hope for this troubled world.

Each year we are invited to return, draw near and visit the new born Christ child at Christmas, I wonder what hopes and dreams we might ponder in our hearts. What hope for today, what dreams for our community and our world? Each week we pray for justice, for peace and for the healing of the nations. Just as the shepherds were the unclean of their day, who are the unclean now and what hope do they have?

The resurgence of covid in the world has dominated our news for much of the last six months and has prompted the World Health Organisation to draw on the expertise of virologists to work together for both cure and prevention. Imagine seeing those medics arriving in their triple layers of protective clothes, like aliens dropped in from space bringing ‘good news’. We have glimmers of hope that both might be possible, the ‘good news’ is slow coming for the children who survived Ebola, corona or HIV, what hope for them as they are outcast in fear and ignorance across the third world?

But, and there is a huge but, in the birth of that tiny vulnerable baby in Bethlehem we were given hope of deliverance from all that the world can throw at us. The Shepherds’ encounter with the baby Jesus from those first hours was a catalyst that set hearts on fire with love for God. And every recorded encounter with Jesus does the same. The disciples, each of those who experienced his healing touch, those who heard his teaching, and all those who have received his Holy Spirit since were and are inspired by God’s grace, mercy and love.

There were many phrases throughout the ages that introduced the idea of a saviour for Israel, King, Messiah, Emmanuel, Wonderful Counsellor, Prince of Peace, and it was in love that God sent his Son to be the hope of the world. Hope down the ages for a people in the light of slavery in Egypt, Babylon in Persia, and in the first century Roman occupation.

Paul pondered what it all meant, drawing together God’s faithfulness from the beginning, associated with the nation’s history of slavery and the human condition of sin. Paul describes how slaves became sons and heirs of God. Leaving us with an image of each and every baby’s cradle, the uncountable number of infants that have been and continue to be, able to cry Abba Father in love and the hope of eternal life.

On the eighth day they bought the child to the Temple to do all that was required by the law and named him Jesus. Anna and Simeon confirmed all that had been told about him. And Mary pondered these things in her heart. As each and every one of us experience a new encounter with the infant Jesus, may we be set alight with the fire of God’s love to spread the good news, the Messiah has come. Amen.

The Rev'd Mo Lunn, St Mary Magdalene, Enfield, 27/12/2020

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

Heavenly Father, whose blessed Son shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home: help your Church to live as one family, united in love and obedience, and bring us all at last to our home in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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

See, amid the winter's snow

 See, amid the winter's snow,
born for us on earth below,
see, the Lamb of God appears,
promised from eternal years!

Refrain:
Hail, thou ever-blessed morn!
Hail, redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem:
Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Lo, within a manger lies
he who built the starry skies,
he who, throned in height sublime,
sits amid the cherubim!

[Refrain]

Say, ye holy shepherds, say,
what your joyful news today;
wherefore have ye left your sheep
on the lonely mountain steep?

[Refrain]

'As we watched at dead of night,
lo, we saw a wondrous light;
angels, singing "Peace on earth,"
told us of a Saviour's birth.'

[Refrain]

Sacred Infant, all divine,
what a tender love was thine,
thus to come from highest bliss
down to such a world as this!

[Refrain]

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