Readings and Prayers for Advent Sunday

Live-streamed services – Wells Cathedral


The Light of the World by William Holman-Hunt
St Paul’s Cathedral

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Psalm 80 v 1 – 9
Hear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you that led Joseph like a flock;
Shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim,
before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your mighty strength
and come to our salvation.
Turn us again, O God;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry at your people’s prayer?
You feed them with the bread of tears;
you give them abundance of tears to drink.
You have made us the derision of our neighbours,
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
Turn us again, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

A Reading from Isaiah chapter 64 v 1 – 9
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!
As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
Since ancient times no-one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No-one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and made us waste away because of our sins.
Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD;
do not remember our sins for ever.
Oh, look upon us we pray,
for we are all your people.
This is the Word of the Lord , Thanks be to God
Alleluia, alleluia.

Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark
chapter 13 v 24 – 37
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘In those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory.
Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the
ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts
forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things
taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this
generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and
earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the
Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will
come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in
charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.
Therefore, keep awake – for you do not know when the master of the house will
come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find
you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

A Reflection from Fr Guy
“Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”
It was in the run-up to Christmas a few years ago now that a British supermarket became the
first in the country to open its doors for twenty-four-hour shopping. At last it was possible to
shop at 2am, 3am, or even 4am – and shop people did. The first night’s opening was a
resounding success in retail terms – and a dismal failure in terms of peace and goodwill. In
the scramble, many of the “luxury” items – such as prawns and smoked salmon – sold out.
The consumer frenzy gathered pace, and by midnight people were pinching things from each
other’s trolleys. In the early hours, the store ran out of trolleys and was forced to close for a
while in order to restore order. With the current Coronavirus restrictions on our lives such
consumer frenzy surely couldn’t take place!

From Isaiah we read the prophet’s heartfelt prayer to God, pleading for God to come to earth
and shake things up. Turning to Mark’s Gospel, we hear the words of Jesus. This passage
comes in the middle of a chapter known as the Apocalyptic Discourse, and Jesus’ message
is clear – be prepared.

Together, these passages form a neat reminder of why Advent is a season of penitence.
Because it is, above all, the anticipation of God With Us – Emmanuel. And our anticipation is
twofold: at the same time that we celebrate God coming to earth in infant form two thousand
years ago, we spiritually cleanse ourselves in preparation for his next revelation.
In the frenzied struggle for cranberry sauce and brandy butter, the late-night supermarket
shoppers were caught up in the whirl of preparation which characterises Advent. For many
of us, there’s the tree to decorate, cards to send, shopping to do – and of course Christmas
lunch to prepare. It’s strange to think how meticulously we plan one meal a year, even though
most of us will eat exactly the same as last year. So why do we do it, particularly when it’s
acknowledged as such a stressful time? We do it because, when the day itself dawns, we
want to be absolutely ready. So it’s odd that many of us expend so much energy and time
preparing the turkey and tinsel, without being aware that this is, above all, a season of spiritual

Now even those of us who aren’t responsible for preparing Christmas lunch know that turkeys
don’t just walk into our kitchens, self-baste and roast themselves. Even in today’s fast-food
culture, Christmas lunch doesn’t come that pre-prepared, and if we were to assume that
things would take care of themselves, we’d end up very disappointed. Similarly, nowhere is
there anything in Christian teaching that says it’s okay to wait passively for our Saviour to
come to earth. But that’s not to say we’re on our own. On the contrary, we have the Holy
Spirit – to strengthen and guide us.

So, what is penitence and how does it tie in with spiritual preparation? Well it helps to think
about the word “penitence” itself. It’s an old-fashioned word, and one we often confuse with
terms like guilt, regret or remorse. Many Christians, for example, feel guilty about the material
excess of Christmas. And thinking about the twenty-four-hour supermarket it’s easy to see
why. But penitence is fundamentally different from guilt because it contains a sense, not only
of acknowledging wrongdoing, but also of making change, turning to face the future. Which,
of course, is another way of describing spiritual preparation. It’s the joy of Advent that it’s a
season of penitence with a strong sense of celebration throughout. There’s nothing wrong
with celebrating the conviviality of the season, or enjoying a hearty lunch, so long as we don’t
lose sight of penitence in its fullest sense.

So how can we commit, this Advent, to making ourselves spiritually ready as we prepare for
the material festivities? Well, the nature of our penitence is essentially between us as
individuals and our God. But the very best way to start is to rediscover our channels of
communication and revitalise our prayer – because it’s impossible to really listen and talk to
God without finding some time and space in our lives. Perhaps the Coronavirus pandemic
and all the restrictions on our lives to prevent the spread of infection mean we can “keep
alert” and find time to pray.

Intercessions by Gary Lewis
Merciful and renewing God, we begin this season of Advent with a thirst for your
presence and a longing to know you better. In what seem like dark times, we look to
the coming of the Light of the World.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, we pray for the church and for our bishops and clergy. We pray that our
churches will find ways to break out of lockdown to be witnesses to you this Advent.
We pray for Father Guy and for Kate as they find their feet in Midsomer Norton. We
pray for the members of our congregation worshipping in our homes that we may be
unified in prayer and praise.
Come to your Church, Lord Jesus, as priest and lord.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

We pray for Elizabeth our Queen, for our governments in the four kingdoms and our
leaders at Westminster. We know that they face a great weight of responsibility and
decision-making during the pandemic and we pray that they might be granted wisdom
and good judgement. We pray too for governments across our world that they might
co-operate together and that wealthy nations will share their resources with poorer
Come to the Nations, Lord Jesus, as king and judge.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Lord God, we give thanks for scientists and doctors who have developed new vaccines
and who have given us hope of a path back to our old lives. We pray for the staff in
hospitals and surgeries treating the sick during this second wave. We ask you to give
them stamina and skill as they work to save lives. We pray too for our Public Heath
teams and the staff working in NHS Test and Trace.
Come to your world, Lord Jesus, to bring healing and hope.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Lord Jesus, we pray for business owners and for all whose livelihoods have been
placed in jeopardy during the pandemic. We pray for workers on furlough and for
those who have lost their jobs. We pray for all who are concerned about money and
who will find Christmas a greater strain this year. We thank you, Lord, for the work
of the foodbank in our community and we commit to doing what we can to help.
Come to the suffering, Lord Jesus, as Saviour and Comforter.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer

Lord, we pray for all our community. Especially today we pray for the residents of
Spencer Drive. We pray for families worried that they may be apart at Christmas. We
ask that we might be good neighbours to each other and that in lockdown and
adversity that we might grow closer and stronger.
Come to your people, Lord Jesus, as father and friend.
Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We pray for the sick, at home or in hospital. We pray especially for:- Rachael
Macfarlane, Miranda Cooper, Rose Stenner, Paul & Margaret Knott, Irene Leet, Fr
Roy Boots, Nicholas Hambleton, Betty Chiplin, Ethan Horwood, John Lewis, Patricia
Flagg, Pat Gilham, Bishop Peter Hancock, Vince Marriot, Pam Lamb.
We pray for all who have died recently and those whose years mind occur at this
time. (S)Geoffrey Lesser, Arthur Rich, Geoffrey Tovey (M) Elsie Edwards (W) Betty
Holden, William Gillard (F) Norman Wood (S) Anne Chivers.
Come to us, Lord Jesus, as shepherd and guardian.
Lord in your mercy – Hear our prayer.

Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay; give new courage to your people, who trust in your
Merciful Father
Accept these prayers, for the sake of you Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

Services Restarting
Next Sunday 6th December we will be back in church for our 9.30am service.
Covid seating restrictions will still apply so please don’t forget to contact Carol to
book your place if you intend to come ( or 412226)
The church will be open for private prayer on Tuesday 1st Dec and Saturday 5th Dec
10 – 12 noon.

Christmas Cards in Church 2020

In past years, it has been the practice for members of the congregation to bring
cards to church for distribution to their church friends. The cards have been
sorted into piles for each named person to collect.
However, due to Covid restrictions that system cannot be followed this year but
the Standing Committee have thought up an idea to help how this problem can be
There will be a large box in church in which your cards can be deposited up till
the morning of Sunday 20 December. One person is to sort them out, wearing
appropriate PPE, and the cards for each person will be put in a plastic bag
labelled with their name to collect at the Carol Service. If they are not at the Carol
Service, then the bag will be delivered to their home address.

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