Tag Archives: Advent

29 November: Advent Light III: enable us to return!

St Mildred’s Church, Canterbury.
Let us pray,
God and Father, 
to those who go astray you reveal the light of your truth 
and enable them to return to the right path. 

Grant that all who have received the grace of baptism 
may strive to be worthy of their Christian calling 
and reject everything opposed to it. 

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, 
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, 
God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

We can all, each and every one of us, go astray; indeed, we all do go astray, day by day. Let us consider one miss-step we have made today, and turn again from it back to the path: Repent!

Advertisement

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Christian Unity, Daily Reflections, Laudato si', Mission

28 November: Advent Light II, at table.

If you were in church yesterday, no doubt you’ll have seen the Advent wreath with a single candle burning. Do you have one at home? There’s still time to make one, or you could just light a candle. Mrs Turnstone and I have ours on the dining table and we would hold hands around it with the children and sing grace. We now do the same with the grandchildren. We also sing the chorus of the Advent hymn:

Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to thee, oh Israel!

This story is from Alexander McCall Smith’s ‘The House of Unexpected Sisters’.* Mma Ramotswe is ready to serve the evening meal to her husband and two children. Perhaps we could revive the practice of saying grace this Advent, and be ready to find new forms of grace to remind us that all we have is God’s gift, and the greatest gift is the One that came at Christmas.

‘Dinner is ready now, I think.’

She ladled stew into four plates, and placed these, one by one, on the table. Once seated herself, Mma Ramotswe bowed her head and said grace. ‘We give thanks for the food our country gives us, and we think of those who do not have what we have. We give thanks for Africa and for the good things that Africa gives its children.

‘Amen,’ said Motholeli.

‘Me too,’ said Puso.

*Little, Brown, London 2018, p37-38.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Daily Reflections, Justice and Peace, Laudato si', PLaces

27 November: Advent Light I.

Stencilled star, Hales Place chapel, Canterbury.

This little star is hidden away in a locked cemetery chapel, all that remains of a French Jesuit community that decamped to Kent when religious persecution was raging at home. Among its members was a young Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who was to become a stretcher-bearer during the Great War.

He was attached to a North African regiment and stayed with the men, refusing promotion that would have afforded him greater personal safety. He was awarded the Legion d’Honneur as ‘an outstanding stretcher-bearer who, during four years of active service, was in every battle and engagement the regiment took part in, applying to remain in the ranks in order that he might be with the men whose dangers and hardships he constantly shared.’ The example of many priest stretcher-bearers helped bring about a reconciliation between state and Church after the war.

He wrote to his cousin Marguerite on Christmas Eve 1915, “I must tell myself, and I think I’ll come to feel it, that no Christmas night will ever have meant more to me than this one I am about to spend on the straw this evening, by the side of men.”

Far from our commercial Christmas, closer to the little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

Lord, help us to see the star of wonder that will lead us through this Advent to the straw and hay of Bethlehem.

Read more here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Daily Reflections, Laudato si'

22 November: Lichfield Cathedral’s Advent Calendar

Lichfield Cathedral have shared this Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar. It runs from 27th November, the First Sunday of Advent, until Christmas Day itself, 25th December. We think it will help many people to prepare for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.

Follow this link:

How to use the Calendar

  • This is a simple prayer and bible-reading exercise to help us use the Advent Season as a time of preparation for the coming of Christ.
  • Try and set aside 5-15 minutes every day.
  • Buy or use a special candle to light each day as you read and pray through the suggestions on the calendar.
  • Try and ‘eat simply’ – one day each week try going without so many calories or too much rich food, just have enough.
  • Try to donate to a charity working with the homeless or the people of Bethlehem.
  • Try to pray through what you see and notice going on around you in people, the media and nature.

Who is the Calendar for?

  • For everyone who uses the Cathedral website/social media.
  • For all the Cathedral community.
  • For people you want to send it to and invite to share in the daily devotional exercise.

What is the last week about?

The last week of Advent is special: at Evensong (evening prayer) a special antiphon is sung or said before and after the canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Magnificat. Each begins with an ‘O’ and relates to some facet of Christ’s nature and ancestry

  • December 17 O Sapientia Wisdom
  • December 18 O Adonai Lord of Israel
  • December 19 O Radix Jesse Root of Jesse (Jesse was the father of King David)
  • December 20 O Clavis David Key of David
  • December 21 O Oriens Morning Star rising in the East
  • December 22 O Rex Gentium King of all nations
  • December 23 O Immanuel Immanuel – ‘God is with us’

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Daily Reflections, lectio divina, PLaces

Concert of Hope -27 November.

View this email in your browser
The Sisters of Minster Abbey are holding a Concert of Hope, an evening of celebration with local choirs and musicians.
 You are very warmly welcome to join us at St Mary the Virgin Church, Minster
on 27th November at 7pm.
Entrance is free and there will be a retiring collection for the work of
“Canterbury for Ukraine”, an Incorporated Association of volunteers helping Ukrainian refugees to settle in Canterbury and East Kent.

Canterbury for Ukraine have been vital in providing support to enable the Sisters to welcome a Ukrainian family to Minster. We now want to support them so that they can continue to offer assistance to those welcoming our brothers and sisters from Ukraine.

We realise that not all of our friends are local enough to attend the concert on the night but some would like to make a donation. We have set up a Go Fund Me page to make this easy- just click below
 
DonatePlease pray for the success of this Concert of Hope!
We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the night!

Love and prayers
Mother Nikola and the Sisters of Minster Abbey

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Christian Unity, Justice and Peace, Mission, PLaces

Going viral XCVII: a rich and resonant “Ugh!” 

Lichfield Cathedral welcoming citizens for covid vaccinations.
from the Dean of Lichfield’s Christmas Message.
Dear Friends,

I think we were all hoping for a more definite Christmas this year.  In 2020 we mumbled our way through a highly restricted Christmas hoping that things would never be quite as grim again.  And now, behold!  The virus mutates and sends out new waves of nervousness and self-imposed social restriction.  I led a corporate moan in the Cathedral on the third Sunday of Advent, urging the congregation to voice our weariness with the plague.  I have to say the community responded magnificently and we sounded a rich and resonant “Ugh!”  There’s a certain sense of release and relief when we can all voice our fed-upness and irritation together: therapeutic even.

For all that, Christmas comes to shed its own light on us, the people we love, live with and share our planet with too.  We have family and religious customs and ceremonies that mark it out as “the most wonderful time of the year”. 

With my love, prayers and blessings
 
Adrian Dorber
Dean of Lichfield

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Christian Unity, corona virus, Interruptions, Mission, PLaces

Going Viral XCVI: Uncertainty cancelled for an evening.

Saint Dunstan’s church, Canterbury.

Life goes on, despite Covid19: Reverend Jo has put her infection behind her, but the virus is still with us, as her message for the last week in Advent makes plain. The Nine Lessons and Carols was ‘just lovely’, as Jo says.

Good morning to you all and I hope this finds you all well, as we are here at the Rectory. With all the uncertainty around at the moment, it was just lovely to be able to have our Benefice Nine Lessons and Carols in St Dunstan’s yesterday evening. It really was a ‘light shining in the darkness’ moment and I think very much appreciated by all who came – we had over 60 which was just lovely; especially with the candle chandeliers lit, the choir and handbells it was so uplifting! 

If you did miss it and want to catch up, it can be accessed via our website:  https://www.dunstanmildredpeter.org.uk/livestreaming.htm and click on Nine Lessons and Carols. Sometimes with the gloom and doom that seems so prevalent at times one needs something like that to lift the spirits and hear the Christmas Story afresh. Thank you to all who made it such a lovely service.

A reminder that after service refreshments, Saturday morning coffee at St Dunstan’s and St Dunstan’s Lunch Club are cancelled, and hopefully for the very short term, as we ride this current covid ‘storm’.

At the moment, all our services are as planned for this week:
Christmas Eve Friday 24 December:
4.00 Crib Service at St Dunstan’s
6.30 Christmas Eve Eucharist at St Peter’s11.30 Midnight Mass at both St Mildred’s & St Dunstan’s
Christmas Day:8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan’s10.00 Sung Eucharist at St Dunstan’s
Sunday 26th December: Feast of St Stephen: 9.30 Joint Benefice Sung Eucharist at St Peter’s. Thanks to Rev’d David Stroud who will be leading this service
Sunday 2nd January (1st Sunday of the month)8.00 Said Eucharist at St Dunstan’s10.00 Sung Eucharist at St Dunstan’s4.00 Epiphany Carol Service at St Mildred’sPlease note Messy Church is cancelled on that day

Advent reflections continue this week – they have been a real ‘thought for the day’ to listen to and reflect on, and thank you to all those who have taken part. We will do the same again during Lent – and that’s longer!
I will write again on Friday, unless we have any further updates. In the meantime, those of you who are getting away to see family and friends. wishing you a safe journey and a blessed Christmas.

God Bless and have a good day
Jo
Rev Jo Richards Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Christian Unity, corona virus, Daily Reflections, L'Arche, Mission, PLaces

20 December: A lover’s words.

 Nature rarer uses yellow
    Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets, —
    Prodigal of blue,

 Spending scarlet like a woman,
    Yellow she affords
Only scantly and selectly,
    Like a lover's words.

from Poems by Emily Dickinson, Three Series, Complete, by Emily Dickinson.

I’m not sure I agree with Emily Dickinson about yellow! Think of all the daffodils, dandelions, marigolds, groundsel … The sunflowers seen above owe their presence in a Canterbury garden to more than a little human help: pre-Colombian American people saving the seeds, choosing the best to produce future crops; immigrants sending seed home where the process began again to find the best varieties to feed Europe and fill our gardens. The seed that grew this specimen was from a packet of bird seed.

So let’s be grateful for yellow, for daffodils and sunsets, cats’ eyes and sunflowers, and remember that they are embodied words of a lover, the Lover:

And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:11-12.

Listen out for the Lover’s words this Advent! O come, O come, Emmanuel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Daily Reflections, Laudato si', poetry

17 December: Advent meditation by Alice Meynell

from Bro Chris

MEDITATION

Rorate Cœli desuper, et nubes pluant Justum.
Aperiatur Terra, et germinet Salvatorem.

Mystic dew from Heaven
Unto earth is given:
Break, O earth, a Saviour yield —
Fairest flower of the field”.
 

Translation from Catholic Encyclopedia

No sudden thing of glory and fear
   Was the Lord’s coming; but the dear
Slow Nature’s days followed each other
To form the Saviour from his Mother
—One of the children of the year.

The earth, the rain, received the trust,
—The sun and dews, to frame the Just.
   He drew his daily life from these,
   According to his own decrees
Who makes man from the fertile dust.

Sweet summer and the winter wild,
These brought him forth, the Undefiled.
   The happy Springs renewed again
   His daily bread, the growing grain,
The food and raiment of the Child.

Alice Meynell, a mother herself, was adamant that Jesus was a real human child. She was right, of course. ‘One of the children of the year’: my mind goes back a few hours to when we picked Abel up from his primary school to take him home. There he was, our eyes on him, but also aware of the rest of his class, the children of year 2 by English school reckoning. He can expect to spend the next nine or so years in the company of many of them.

I can imagine the children of Cairo and later Nazareth, playing with their companion, Jesus, learning to read together, taking him for granted.

Where did he get this wisdom?

From the sun and dews, and the fertile dust: from the Creation feeding and strengthening him, just as it should, just as he willed it to be.

Let us reread this poem slowly, and resolve not to take Jesus for granted, nor indeed our own existence, dependent as we are on ‘the earth, the rain, the sun and dews’. Laudato si.

Leave a comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Daily Reflections, Laudato si', Mission, PLaces

An Advent Reflection from an old friend

Sister Clare Bernadette Knowles had this reflection published in The Global Sisters Report.

We share two paragraphs, enough, we hope, to send you to the original by following the link.
Sister Clare contributed many of the blog posts signed FMSL. Congratulations, Sister Clare!

Our Creator, whose holy name is “I AM” (Exodus 3:14), wants to meet us in the “now” of our lives. If I am living in the past or fixated on the future, I may miss the gift of God’s grace in the present. Therefore, the Advent liturgies urge me to “stay awake” to God’s presence in every moment “praying at all times” (Luke 21:36).

If I am awake, I cannot fail to notice that the world needs the light of Christ more than ever. Gathering storms of war, terrorism, inequality, ecological crises and a pandemic threaten to overwhelm humanity in my lifetime. It is easy to become discouraged by so much bad news.

1 Comment

Filed under Advent and Christmas, Interruptions, Mission