Here below we have an outline of our service for you to follow at home if you can’t be with us. Choose a quiet reflective space and to make it more meaningful have a cross, bible and candle to make your sacred space.
Good morning everyone, I hope you are well. Today in church is our Toy service with our donations going to Fort Alice a refuge and rehabilitation charity for victims of domestic abuse in Bolton.
We have a busy advent coming up with advent study groups on Mondays, tomorrows will be at St. Peter’s, 2-3pm. The carol service will be on the 19th December at 6.30pm and I hope many of you will be able to make it. The memorial service was lovely last Sunday afternoon and many thanks to Rev Canon Peter and Rev Hannah for their involvement.
Intercessions today are by myself and the reflection by Rev Peter.
It is the second Sunday of advent so here are the prayers for your Advent Wreath.
People of God: be glad! Your God delights in you, giving you joy for sadness and turning the dark into light. Be strong in hope therefore; for your God comes to save. You are God’s people.
Lord, make us one in the love of Christ today and forever. Amen
The second candle is lit
A voice cries out in the wilderness, “make straight the way of the Lord” So let us listen, and turn to the Lord in penitence and faith. Heavenly Father, you call us to repent of our sins: soften our proud and stubborn hearts. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Lord Jesus, you declared the forgiveness of God: teach us to forgive one another. Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy.
Holy Spirit, you search our hearts and show us the truth: direct us in your way of righteousness. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
PRAYER OF PENITENCE
Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbour as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been, help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.
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. Lord Jesus Christ only son of the Father Lord God Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. 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. Amen.
O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever. AMEN
THE NEW TESTAMENT READING
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart,* for all of you share in God’s grace* with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that on the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God
This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God
Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke. Glory to you O Lord
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” ’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you O Christ.
Reflection on the Bible reading
Advent readings can feel a bit strange in their chronology; there is the preparation for the birth of Jesus, there is the beginning of the ministry of Jesus (today’s focus), and there is the being prepared for the coming of Jesus in glory. Three very different time-frames and foci and we sometimes move between them even within the one week’s readings.
So in our reading today Jesus and John the Baptist are adults. Luke dates this for us very carefully, more carefully in fact than he dates the birth of Jesus which is in the time of Herod and the Emperor Augustus.
We could say “in the 69th year of the reign of Elizabeth and when Boris Johnson was Prime Minister, the Word of God came to ##”. I wonder who we think does speak the words of God today or what we think the Word of God for today is. John the Baptist started by reclaiming words from Isaiah 40, the essence of which is “Prepare for God!” or more particularly so that “all flesh, (all people) may see the salvation of God”.
In this 69th year of the reign of Elizabeth, and in a time of Covid, post-Brexit, desperate migration of people wanting a safer life, is the message still timely. The HS2 rail-line may feel like a highway where valleys are filled and mountains are made low, and many; the police-patrols in the dunes of Northern France, and in the Channel are the opposite of making travel easier or freer; both are controversial in that they evoke strong opinions.
John did not just preach from Isaiah, he proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins – and the people went out to him. He called on the people, corporately as well as individually, to repent and turn back to God and God’s ways. Baptism in the Jordan was a commitment to become once again the people of God who would do the right thing.
Amid the power politics of Herod, Lysanias, Tiberius, Pilate, Caiaphas etc, God raised up someone from the edge, from a small village, to call back his people to their true task. To be honest it was not that successful, the majority chose their own way; it led to disaster. History continues like that too often! What would John say to us today I wonder?
In Isaiah the voice cries out that the highway should be built in the wilderness, to bring the people back from exile. In Luke, the suggestion is that the person calling is out in the wilderness themselves. Luke has already told us that up in the hill-country God has been quietly at work, albeit 30 years before, and Mary, a very ordinary young woman, has been obedient. Things have been quiet for that 30 years – God’s timing and patience sometimes does not fit with our timing! Luke 3 is precise about the history, but the timing of God still feels a mystery.
God is present in our world but the timing of his Kingdom’s arrival remains a mystery – Can we, do we, hear his voice in the here and now?
AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
We believe in God Creator of time and space, who chose his people as his own that they might live for him
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, foretold by the prophets, born of Mary, who lived among us, God incarnate, God with us.
We believe that he will come again in glory, we wait for the coming of his Kingdom.
As people of his Light we seek to walk in his Light, and we look for his Light and the working of his spirit in our world.
Here we pray for the church, for the world, those in need and those who have died, you can follow your own prayers or these below on today’s theme.
As we remember John the Baptist and all the prophets, we give you thanks for men and women of vision through the ages. We ask you to bless and guide all preachers of the word and ministers of the sacraments, all who teach the faith and all who influence our lives , especially here in the Turton Moorland team. We pray for all who are struggling for freedom in their faith and for those who are imprisoned for their beliefs. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We give thanks for all those who do research, all scientists and biologist, for all responsible for our health and wellbeing. We ask your blessing upon all nurses and doctors. We pray for the World health Organisation and those in countries whose health services are not as good as our own. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord, help us to know your presence in our homes. We ask you to protect and guide our loved ones in the ways of justice and peace. We remember before you all who suffer from oppression or violence in their homes. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We give thanks for your love and healing power and ask your blessing upon all who are suffering, all who long for freedom and all who are caught up in debt. We pray for any that have lost their homes or their work at this time, especially any who have been separated from loved ones. Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer
We pray for those who are sick and ask your blessing on them and their carers, we give thanks that you have delivered us out of the darkness of death and offered us light of life eternal. We remember those that have gone before us and from our book of remembrance Howard Thomas Payne, George Raymond Kenyon, Donald S. Pilton, Ellen Thomas, Joan Morrell and Alan William Maycraft. We rejoice in the fellowship of all your saints and we pray for friends and loved ones who are departed from us.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father in Heaven hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
May God the Father, judge all-merciful, make us worthy of a place in his Kingdom. Amen
May God the Son, coming among us in power, reveal in our midst the promise of his glory. Amen.
May God the Holy Spirit make us steadfast in faith, joyful in hope and constant in love. Amen.
And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be with us all and remain with us this Advent and until he comes. Amen.