Monday, 28 December 2015

Sunday Preview: Wise Men, stars, camels...

Join us, this Sunday, for the last Sunday of the Christmas season - where we'll be pondering Wise Men, a bright shining star, and perhaps a camel or two. 

10.30am in the Parish Church, Abington.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Sermon, Christmas Eve - Watchnight, 2015

picture from
It is a story both ordinary
and extraordinary.
Deeply profound,
yet stunningly simple.
Come to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him:
born the King of angels.
Come, let us adore him...

In a small, overlooked, largely ignored town -
the kind of place where, it seems,
nothing ever really happens,
on one particular night
the place is hooching and teeming
with vast crowds of people.
People, who, having left the town
where nothing much ever happened,
happen to come back,
because, on a whim,
the great and powerful overlord:
Augustus, Emperor of Rome,
decides that he wants to count
everything he has:
to take stock...
Indeed, all around the Roman Empire,
there is a large movement of people:
a movement of the less great,
the less powerful.
All are obliged to travel to their
home towns to register -
to be counted, along with the sheep, the cattle, gold, silver,
wheat, wine, and any other thing
that needs counting.

But this particular backwater town,
in a backwater province
on the edge of the Empire,
is poised to move
from obscurity
into history.
Prophets had spoken of it:
that out of little, ordinary Bethlehem,
something quite extraordinary would come.

Two ordinary, everyday people,
travelling from Nazareth
are caught up in the great counting exercise.
He: a tradesman - a carpenter.
She: pregnant before marriage.
He: initially dubious of the parentage,
but now standing by her.
She: ready to go into labour at any moment.
He: anxious.
Both: exhausted and seeking a place to stay.
And there is nowhere.
Every room is booked,
every nook and cranny filled.

Desperate, they knock on one last door.
There is no room.
And then, perhaps,
seeing her condition,
their desperation,
pity mingles with embarrassment
as he offers them space
to sleep among the animals.
It is rough, crude, shelter.
Much less than that.
But it will do.
And as they begin to settle amongst
the straw and smell,
the baby begins to make its way
into the muck and mire of the byre
pushing its way out into the world.
Just another child.
Like every other child.
But not quite.
For angels foretold this birth to her...
and to him.
Ordinary, yet extraordinary.
God of God
light of light
Very God - begotten not created
Come, let us adore him...

And shepherds - ordinary, everyday, workaday men -
men shunned by good, religious folk -
are visited by angels and told the news.
The herald angels don’t sing ‘hark!’
to high priest, or king...
The privileged, the ones of rank,
are the last to find out that something of interest may have happened.
arrives in the everyday goings on of the ordinary.

After ordinary shepherds are serenaded
by the extraordinary heavenly host of angels,
they drop everything and take up the invitation to:
‘come and behold him’
They join the heavenly song,
giving glory to God in the highest
as they greet the ordinary couple
with the new-born child,
who is resting in a food-trough.
A strange throne for the King of angels,
the King of Heaven:
God’s promised Messiah.

Much later, this seemingly ordinary,
yet somehow extraordinary child
will receive other visitors,
who want to come and adore him;
and his parents will accept strange
and beautiful gifts from them.

...But on this night,
heaven breaks into earth with his birth.
Hope springs up, where once it was lost.
This is the night of promise fulfilled -
of the long time of waiting, over.
This is the night where ordinary
becomes extraordinary;
where the less great,
the less powerful
are celebrated and lifted high -
where old definitions of power and importance
are defined anew.

This is the night,
this is the time,
that we tell the Christmas story once again;
where we remember that:
We were heavy with sorrow, 
but joy interrupted.
We were deep in the night, 
but a star appeared.
We were silent with sadness, 
but the heavens rang.
    And the splendour shone around them
    When the time had fully come.

We were hardened by conflict, 
but love intervened.
We were frightened by shadows, 
but light took them away.
We were haunted by fears, 
but a child brought us hope.
            And Mary laid him in a manger
            When the time had fully come.

We were dismal and defeated, 
but faith set us on fire.
We were weary and complaining, 
but our hearts discovered praise.
We were doubtful and confused, 
but a door to life was opened.
            And the guiding star went before them
            When the time had fully come.

We were arrogant and angry, 
but his innocence disarmed us.
We were cruel, crude, and clumsy, 
but his grace made all things new.
We were selfish, narrow, greedy, 
but his joy we had to share.
        And they offered him their treasured gifts
        When the time had fully come.

We were sheep who had lost their way, 
but the shepherd knew our names.
We were strangers without a country, 
but our kingdom came to us.
We were children far from home, 
but God sent his Son to guide.
            And the Word was flesh among us
            When the time had fully come.
                            [written by Kenneth I. Morse, from “In Straw and Story]

It is a story both ordinary
and extraordinary.
Deeply profound,
yet stunningly simple.
Come to Bethlehem.
Come and behold him:
born the King of angels.
Come, let us adore him...

This is the night,
the morning,
where we tell the Christmas story once again:
where we sing with angels,
and welcome the Christ-child
into our hearts and homes once more...
This is the time when we sing:
‘Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
born for our salvation;
Jesus, to thee be glory given:
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing...
Oh come let us adore Him,
Oh come let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him, Christ The Lord.’ Amen.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Carol service, Wanlockhead: with Leadhills Silver Band

Our evening service on the 20th saw the annual Carol Service
at Wanlockhead - Scotland's highest village. As ever, we were
ably led by our friends from the Leadhills Silver Band.
Huge thanks to them, and for everyone who turned out.
And yes, mince pies were consumed afterwards...

Here's a wee clip from the service:

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Nativity Service, 2015

Great fun this morning - with lots of gift boxes to open, giving us clues with which to tell
the story of the first Christmas. Visits, too, from shepherds, angels, wise guys, an innkeeper,
Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus, and assorted animals in the stable.
Below, some pictures:
the Innkeeper eyes two Shepherds suspiciously, as they
approach the stable...
Angels, stars, a manger, a baby...
Magi on the move, stable-bound...

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Christmas Services [update]

Just an update on services over this Christmas season...  
Everyone welcome!

Sunday 20 December: 
*10.30am: All-age Nativity service - rumour has it that an angel or two
may even be flying in during the service... the Minister has a strong suspicion that
there will be mince pies
with post-service tea and coffee.
*6.30 Evening Carol Service at Wanlockhead, sing along to much-loved carols
accompanied by the fabulous Leadhills Silver Band.

Thursday 24 December, Christmas Eve:
*6.30 Carol Service at Holy Trinity Chapel, Lamington: led by the Minister
...and then, in the parish church at Abington:
*11pm pre-Watchnight mulled wine and mince pies in the Church Hall
*11.30pm: Watchnight service - come, welcome the Christ-child in...

Sunday 27 December:
*10.30am: Service of Lessons and Carols -
well, after all, it's still the Christmas season! opportunity to sing a few more carols before they're packed away for next year.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Sermon, Sunday 13 December, 3 Advent

Our white tree was decorated with footprints:
on one side inscribed with a symbol for a dream or a vision
that we have for our lives/ our church/ our world...
and on the other, a first step we might make to begin to see the
dream into reality.

Given our Nativity Service next week, our theme today was 'joy', as we thought of Mary's response to God.
The sermon was in the form of an adapted monologue told from Mary's point of view...*

Micah 5:2-5[a]
Luke 1:39-45
Luke 1: 46-55 the Magnificat

SERMON ‘Magnificat: a reflective monologue’
Let’s pray:
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts,
be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our strength and our redeemer, Amen...

Why me? Why me?
I am an old woman now, with what seems to me
several lifetimes' experience behind me,
and I still can’t answer that question properly.
Don’t get me wrong:
I remain convinced that God has a habit of -
raising up the humble and overthrowing the proud.
If nothing else, I’m proof that God uses the most unlikely to fulfil his promise!
I remember the day I met my cousin Elizabeth:
she came rushing from her house to greet me with such joy -
and then, it felt as if I’d turned prophet:
as from out of nowhere, I heard myself singing
a great song of liberation and rejoicing.
But why he chose me in particular – well, you see, that continues to astound me.
I feel so privileged, so undeserving,
and yet, oh, so very glad that I chose to say ‘yes’.

Honestly, though, it was bit of a bolt from the blue.
Who would have thought that in the midst of doing my daily chores -
I was off to the well to fetch some water -
such a momentous thing would happen?
I don’t think I was even doing anything particularly spiritual -
my mind was on many things,
but I can’t say that God was in the midst of my thoughts.
In fact, as I walked along that well-worn path with my water pot,
I was thinking about what marriage to Joseph would be like.
Although the date hadn’t been set, the wedding wouldn’t be too far away -
relatives on either side were busy negotiating, and were nearly done.

There’d never been any doubt about the match -
our families had known each other for years,
and this match had been spoken of for years..
but you know what it’s like:
everyone loves to make a song and dance about this kinds of thing;
it was our custom.
I was looking forward to the wedding day.
The whole village would be there and distant relatives as well.
There would be feasting and music,
dancing and banter,
laughter and, yes, tears.
While moving into a different stage of life,
I was leaving the ones I’d grown up with...
a happy-sad day.
But, I was happy with the prospect of marrying Joseph –
my parents had made a wise choice,
even wiser than I thought, as events transpired.
He was good, sensitive and gentle, hardworking and widely respected.
True, he was a bit older than me, but then I valued someone of
maturity and experience.
I was just a slip of a girl, barely a woman,
and I needed someone to help me grow up
and deal with the responsibilities that would come with
being a wife and, hopefully, a mother.
And then came that life-changing encounter.

Everything I had planned, hoped and dreamed about
was shattered by the angel's message.
God had noticed ... me?
But, I was just a lass - of no importance.
I wasn’t anything that special...
And while I had my family responsibilities -
like fetching the water and generally mucking in...
well, suddenly it seemed I was about to have even greater responsibility thrust upon me:
Suddenly it seemed that the whole course of my nation's destiny,
no, of the world even, hung upon my response to the angel’s question.

It was a terrifying choice.
Saying 'No' was nigh unthinkable when I was in the presence
of the angel of the Lord of Hosts.
But saying 'Yes' might mean
the end of any marriage,
the loss of a husband,
the certain loss of my reputation and any respect in the village.
What would my parents say?
And how could I begin to parent the Messiah, Emmanuel?
I was totally inexperienced and largely unprepared for motherhood.
It was an awesome responsibility.
God was taking an enormous risk.
I mean, really - I’m not so sure that this was actually such a good plan...
In any case, how could I conceive  and bear a son without a man?

All those thoughts raced through my head as I heard Gabriel's words.
But it was as if God had already pre-empted me -
headed my reasons and rationalisations off at the pass.
He got it: he knew and understood my quandary.
Now I know that seems a silly thing to say, for God knows everything,
even our deepest unspoken thoughts,
but as you can imagine, I was pretty confused.
What clinched it for me was the announcement about Elizabeth's pregnancy.
Now in her sixth month, she was a woman who had despaired
of ever having a child - and yet, her she was... pregnant!
A miracle!
My defences crumbled.
I surrendered to the divine purpose.
God had sought me out.
He would fulfil his promise to his people.
And he would do this, through me...
but it still was my choice.
I chose ‘yes’.

Little did I know then what that 'yes' implied.
Sure, I could foresee the scandal,
hear the gossip,
the pain in my family,
...Joseph's disbelief and rejection.
But as far as Joseph was concerned,
God turned that round, I did not lose him,
although the wedding was a very muted affair.
I was thrilled to visit Elizabeth, to share in her joy and she in mine.
She understood, but strangely, so did the child in her womb -
it was positively leaping about for joy in there.

I was blessed indeed...
However, even though I was truly blessed,
that didn't shield me from danger, or distress, or unexpected joy.
For I didn't foresee the weary road to Bethlehem in my last week of pregnancy;
the birth in the stable;
the angels, the shepherds, and the coming of the wise men.
I was heartened and overjoyed by Simeon's blessing on Jesus in the temple,
but disturbed by his prophetic words:
'A sword would pierce my heart.'
That was unnerving, but, I thought it was fulfilled when we
fled to Egypt and heard of the slaughter of the babes of Bethlehem.
But no, it was not what he’d meant...
he was seeing far further into the future than that,
when my son was no longer a baby, but a grown man...
on a Friday grown dark with shame and blood and pain.
Simeon’s words, and the words of long-ago prophets
ringing out the words of salvation and promised fulfilment
as my son hung bruised and bleeding from the Cross.
I would have given everything to have taken his place -
spared him that pain -
avoided that death...
as he hung there, giving everything for the world.
His agony, my agony, as I watched.

My ‘yes’ to God ending in this - surely, it couldn't be?
But this was not an ending: it was to be a new beginning.
It did not end here on a cross...
My steps led me, one morning, to a garden:
to an empty tomb and new life - resurrection.
While night had fallen,
nevertheless, the sun had also risen...

But all of that was a long time ago, and for now, I ponder that baby -
so small,
God’s fragile gift for the world.
And I am Mary, blessed among women:
'For he that is mighty has magnified me 
and holy is his name.'   Amen.

*I've lost the original version of this, so can't attribute where needed...

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Parish Magazine

Our parish magazine has returned after a near-3 year break, just in time for
Advent, Christmas, and the New Year.

You can find it over here

Friday, 11 December 2015

Christmas events and services

A quick overview of events and services happening over the seasonal period:

Christmas Events/
Community Christmas carols: 
Why not join us for some community singing?
Junction 13 Community Choir will meet for a one-off rehearsal
on Thursday 17th from 7.30-9pm.
This, to get us in form for:
Friday 18th carol singing at Leadhills Community Christmas Carols from 6.45pm;
informal carol singing Saturday 19th outside Abington Store at 5pm.
And then, to help with our Nativity service on Sunday 20 December.
Come and join us, and bring some friends!!

Christmas Special Worship Services/

Sunday 13 December, 3pm: ‘Tidings of comfort and joy’. 
A quiet service for reflection and remembering.
Especially for all who struggle at this time of year.
There will be time during this service to remember those,
who for whatever reason, are no longer with us. If you know of a
friend or neighbour who might find this helpful, please do invite them to join us.
Tea and coffee will be available in the hall after worship.

Thursday 17 December, 11am: joint schools service -
Leadhills, Abington, and Crawford Primary Schools gather at the church
for music, and readings, and Christmassy things

Saturday 19 December, 2-4pm(ish) Christmas mini-retreat: 
The church will be open and all are invited to come along at any point
during this time for quiet space. There will be ‘meditation stations’ in various
areas of the church with a Christmas-oriented theme, and you’re welcome to
interact with these as a means of helping to focus your thoughts on the
reason for the season. Tea, coffee, and mince pies will be available in the hall.
[After this time, why not pop across for some community carol singing by the
Abington Store?]

Sunday 20 December: 
*10.30am: All-age Nativity service - rumour has it that an angel
may even be flying in during the service...
*6.30 Evening Carol Service at Wanlockhead, sing along to much-loved carols
accompanied by the fabulous Leadhills Silver Band.

Thursday 24 December, Christmas Eve:
*6.30 Carol Service at Holy Trinity Chapel, Lamington: led by the Minister
*11pm pre-Watchnight mulled wine and mince pies in the Church Hall
*11.30pm: Watchnight service - come, welcome the Christ-child in...

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Manse musings: hospitality, welcome, and Christmas...

[from our resurrected parish magazine - December issue 2016 - 
date of writing was earlier, due to publishing schedules, hence the October ref.]

This time, exactly a year ago [29 October] I was in the old manse surrounded by boxes and preparing to head out to the church for the evening to be both ordained and inducted as the parish minister of Upper Clyde. It’s been possibly the quickest year of my life. Right from the outset, it was all go: my very first Sunday included a baptism, the second was Remembrance Sunday, and the third was another baptism. Thereafter, it was the whirlwind that was Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, during which, the church sanctuary became a life-sized stable complete with donkey, manger, bales of hay, and a shining [LED] Star of Bethlehem.  I have a strong suspicion that we might not have seen the last of the stable...[thanks to the construction crew!] In the midst of this, I had a ‘moving experience’ as I relocated down the road to the new manse and began to finally unpack boxes and settle in.

Right from the beginning of my time here - actually, even before I officially started - I’ve been made to feel so welcome by people both in and out of the church. From Wiston to Wanlockhead, there’s a huge depth of hospitality and generosity among the people of this parish which is quite humbling for this ‘townie’ minister to see and experience. Thanks for making it so incredibly easy to fit in and settle into my job and my new home. Over the course of time, relationships have been built, and many conversations have been had - at the school gates, in village halls or stores, in homes, church, or even the occasional field. Sometimes the conversations have touched on the raw stuff of life, as well as the joyful, or the weather; through them all, I count it an immense privilege when people have shared their stories with me. Regardless of whether you’re a ‘member’ or not of the Kirk, if I can be of help with a listening ear, please don’t hesitate.     

I’m also very grateful to the Kirk Session of Upper Clyde for their kindness and support to this new minister; I’ve very much appreciated their wise counsel, their wide range of skills and gifts, and the depth of understanding of the parish that they serve in as elders. It has also been a joy to welcome and ordain three of our church members into the eldership this year: Ursula Baillie, Teresa Brasier, and Aileen Gemmel.  Along with the Session, I’d also like to thank the members of the congregation for your encouragement, and your willingness to share a vast array of gifts: from hospitality and home-baking, to reading, or singing in the monthly choir, to arranging flowers and magicking up the occasional cup of tea for a thirsty minister - and also for your quiet patience and bemused smiles on those Sundays when I’ve inadvertently had a service with more than one new hymn! I’m gradually getting to know what you do and don’t know, so a big thank you for your bearing with me, and a big thank you to our three organists who try to keep us all ‘singing from the same hymn book’! 

Hospitality, welcome, and building relationships are also themes that loom large through Advent and Christmas.  The story of what happened in a stable over 2 000 years ago in Bethlehem is very much a story of hospitality and welcome: God, all-powerful becoming God, all vulnerable - dependent upon the hospitality of the human heart to take him in.  As each of us prepare to mark the coming season in our many different ways, as we enjoy time spent with family and friends, as well as remember loved ones no longer with us, may all of our homes be places of welcome and warmth, and may we know the peace and the joy of the Christ child, this Christmas. 

Thanks for taking me in as your minister this year,


Monday, 7 December 2015

Sermon, Sunday 6 Dec, 2 Advent: 'Prepare'

Over the season of Advent, we are decorating a bare, white tree with various symbols.   
Last week, we reminded ourselves we are a people of promise, 
that we are people who live with hope in our hearts.
Writing our names on the back of green paper leaves, the 'empty' tree sprang into life...
This week, picking up on the Advent theme of 'peace', we named places where peace
is absent/ or people who live in areas where there is no peace. These mini-peace prayers
were in the shape of doves, which nestled among the tree branches....

The sermon picked up on the Advent theme of preparing for Christ's coming,
focusing upon John the Baptist
Malachi 3: 1-4
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 1: 68-79

SERMON 'Prepare'
Let’s pray:
May the words of my mouth and the meditations 
of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, 
our strength and our redeemer, Amen.

In a far away land, 
in a far away time,
there lived a people oppressed 
by a foreign power…
Occasionally, some among them would shake their fists at their overlords, 
and some would rebel… 
but they were too weak and too powerless 
to resist for long.  
Mostly, the people kept their heads down and just got on with 
the business of living and making the best out of a bad situation.
In this far away land, so long ago, 
the people felt forgotten by their God…

In their distant past, their God had travelled with their ancestors, 
had rescued them from other oppressors, 
and spoken with them through inspired visionaries – prophets.
The voices of the prophets had given hope - reassurance, in the dark times.
The voices of the prophets warned and promised:
warned of judgement, spoke of justice, 
promised God’s mercy, rescue, love and grace. 
But the prophets had long since gone.
God seemed far away.
And then… 
the silence was broken by the cries of a wailing infant.
A prophet was born.
His name was John -
the last and greatest of the prophets.

John was the answer to prayer of a childless couple: Elizabeth and Zechariah.  
And it was said by folk far and wide 
that the hand of the Lord was upon John, 
...and all wondered what would become of him.
And Zechariah, filled with awe, thanksgiving and the Holy Spirit prophesied:
He saw God once again saving his people – 
liberating them from the phoney peace that had been brought by the Romans:
phoney, because peace is not peace if you’re living under the heel of the oppressor.
He saw the beginnings of God’s promise to his ancestors coming true, 
coming to fulfillment, and his son was the one who would usher 
in that fulfillment -
preparing the way, 
preparing God’s people:
John, prophet of the Highest.
John, messenger of God.

God’s voice once again sounded through the land 
in John’s words of repentance, salvation, forgiveness, and compassion.  
In John’s message were words of light and life 
and hope and peace.                                                 
John’s words were words of preparation for the One who would follow, 
who would be greater than him.
John’s words sounded through the wilderness places:
‘Be prepared.
Be prepared to see what God has done;
what God is doing...
what God will do.
Clear the decks!
Make the roads straight!
Get rid of the obstacles…
Get rid of anything that will stop you hearing and seeing what God is doing’
That, in a nutshell, was what John was all about – 
calling God’s people to stop, look, listen and prepare:
To be prepared for the coming of Christ.

And if we were to continue reading the gospel, 
we’d find out that many people did listen to John, messenger of God.
They flocked to hear -
and, on hearing, they chose to change, to repent, 
to turn their lives around to face God, 
not look the other way.

And, there were also those who didn’t listen.
They were just busy getting on with their lives
And the sounds of their busyness blocked out the sound of God’s words….
God’s life-giving words.
…Such extraordinary words – 
Words about God’s Word – Jesus: 
God become human.  
God’s ‘extraordinary’ Word…
The Word ignored in the routine humdrum of the everyday.
But whether God’s people responded or not, 
whether God’s people prepared… or not.. 
light grew in the darkness regardless… 
a light which the darkness has never been able to fully extinguish:
the light which shines, on those who live in the darkness under the shadow of death….

On this second Sunday in the season we call ‘Advent’ we encounter John the Baptiser, 
who called God’s people so long ago to prepare for an encounter with God.
And down through the years, John continues to call God’s people to prepare to encounter God…
And his message meets us - here, now …
In this time,
in this place.

As we were reminded last week, Advent is the season of waiting… 
and in the waiting time, we, too, prepare to encounter God.
It can be a hard thing to have to wait...
it can be a very hard thing to swim against the tide of tinsel and glitter in the 
headlong rush to Christmas. 
In the jangle of tills and the jingle of carols we find it 
harder and harder to hear God’s voice…
Pressurised to worship at the altar of consumerism, 
to worship the retail God who is never satisfied, 
it takes all the energy we can muster to fight against it 
and to remember the real ‘reason for the season’… 
We can easily get caught on the merry-go-round that seems to 
whirl dizzyingly faster and faster, almost unable to stop and to take time.
...And sometimes… the busyness is also a way of avoiding that encounter with God.  
The reading from Malachi talks of God’s coming in dramatic terms:  
Of a refining fire, of purification…
Malachi says:
‘Who can endure the day of his coming?  Who can stand firm when he appears?’
Perhaps, sometimes it just feels safer to hide under the tinsel and glitter?

The birth of John,
the liberating song of his father, Zechariah,
John’s life, and his message to all to be prepared for Christ’s coming 
challenges us.
forces us to stop, to think…
and to ask questions:
In this time,
in this place, 
how are we preparing to encounter God made flesh, this Advent?
Is there something we need to do to make it easier for Christ to enter our terrain
and to be known in the world?  
Is there some path through our souls which we need to straighten, to smooth?
Is there some mountain of an obstacle that needs to be levelled 
so that Christ will meet less resistance in us? 

As we prepare to encounter God with us, 
I’m reminded of an old Celtic saying about meeting Christ in the stranger’s guise.  
It reminds us that we’re all created 
in the image of God… 
As we encounter one another – 
even, or especially, in the midst of this busy waiting and preparing time – 
are we prepared to see and to encounter Christ in one another?  
As Paul saw Christ in and at work in the lives of the Philippians, 
do we see and encourage one another to be more like Christ?
Someone once said that Advent is ‘preparing for the long view: 
we reflect on the coming of Christ past, present and future.
Christ past – in the miracle in the stable in Bethlehem;
Christ present – born again in our lives now;
Christ future – when he will come again at the completion of all things.’

Advent is a time that prepares us for more than Christmas…
At Christmas, it’s right to sing the well-loved carols of joy, 
that tell the story of the Christ-child… 
but the story is bigger, so much bigger:
We’re also telling the story of the God who sees the pain of His people 
and who breaks into His world to lead us out of pain and darkness.  
God gives birth to hope where there’s despair, 
light where there’s shadow,
And life, where there’s death.
It is the greatest story:
A story deep and rich and beautiful;
A story which lasts forever;
A story that makes sense to prepare ourselves for.

If we stop,
if we still ourselves,
if we listen very hard, 
perhaps we might just hear a miracle:
the beating of a tiny heart…
the heartbeat of the One who became one with us and for us:
the One who is wonderful, counsellor, 
prince of Peace... mighty God.
Over this Advent, let’s watch, wait, listen…
and prepare to be amazed as we encounter God
in Christ once more. 

Let’s pray:
Loving God
You are not distant or detached
You meet us where we are.
In this season of Advent
Help us prepare to look for you 
behind the tinsel and the glitter,
that we may worship you in spirit and in truth,
and in hope-filled joy.  
Come now, O prince of peace...
we, your people, are waiting.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Guild News: 'taste and see'

The Guild will meet:
in the Church Hall on Wednesday 9 December, at 2pm.
Members have been invited to bring and share some of their favourite Christmas recipes -
to 'taste and see'.
Given how many great bakers we have, this should be a tasty meeting!