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  • Advent Candles... Themes & Schemes

    I've just been hunting around for a suitable liturgy to use with our Advent candles this year.  We are being a teeny weeny bit experimental with our services, and I want to find some words that will connect with our melding of materials based, independently, on the same study guide.

    So, just wondering what you will be marking with each candle you light (if anything) and what resources you might be using?

    F'rinstance, in what order do you have hope, love, joy, peace, if that is your thread?

    Or patriarchs, prophets, John, Mary

    Or second coming, Bible, God's people or any other combination or permutation?

    Ours will be something akin to the first of these - just checking with the producers of one of the resources we're using their final running order - but it's always curious to see which themes, which order and why.

  • Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

    Not quite sure why that nursery rhyme came to mind - I have not been to market nor have I been purchasing porkine creatures, let alone obese specimens thereof.

    A good few days away from it all - despite the Scottish weather doing what only it can.  Seemingly Glasgow had several gorgeous days whilst I had fog, rain, drizzle, and a little bit of sun only an hour's drive away.  The holiday apartment was HUGE - larger than my flat which is not exactly small - so loads of space to spread out and chill.  Some walking in the nearby forest (about 10 miles I reckon by the time I'd walked to and from), a bit of swimming (who said LD muscles are largely redundant...?  You lied!) and some reading of a novel, which I got through about half of.  I also wrote about 150 Christmas cards!!  That may seem very early, but the first one to arrive through my letterbox came about a week before I went away.  I also indulged myself in a couple of restaurant meals - not something I generally do on my own, as I was forced to do it too regularly when I travelled on business.  However, the two eateries at the holiday place were quite friendly and hye food good (I spotted another lone diner also with her book in the the second!)

    So, back to work today - a service for Sunday to prepare, visual aids to gather for tomorrow's lunchtime meditation and a printer to be delivered sometime between now and five thirty tonight!  Hold my breath I won't.

    Good to be home and back to work, feeling refreshed and relaxed and hopefully a little less tetchy!  Advent here we come.


    PS Sorry to anyone who has found the blog 'missing' the last day or so, no idea why, I couldn't get on either, probably means they were upgrading the server or some-such.  Probably some-such...

  • Christ the King

    For liturgical types out there, this coming Sunday is Christ the King, the final Sunday of the Church's year.  In recent times, I have usually taken this Sunday off as a breathing space before the Advent rush.  This year conforms to that pattern, so once agan it's a theme that I miss out on.  In fact, I think the last time I consciously preached on it, was in Wrexham in 2001 (or maybe 2002) when I was a student!  The Wrexham people were lovely, as I recall, and we had a good evening service on the theme (alas I've long since forgotten what I did in the morning!)

    I know not everyone likes 'King' language, and some people talk of the 'commonwealth of heaven' rather than 'Kingdom of Heaven' but I think we can discard infants along with ablution fluid if we aren't careful.  Just because human Kings (or Queens) are flawed doesn't make the concept inherently wrong (though if I wanted to be a bit pedantic, God tried to dissaude Israel from having a King before eventually giving in and saying 'OK').  Changing from'kingdom', which offends some republicans, to 'commonwealth,' which others assert has little to do with Cromwell and less to do with British Imperialism, doesn't I fear, overcome the tension.

    Odd that we are all quite happy with the idea of the 'Prince of Peace' but not everyone with the 'King' when his reign is fulfilled...

    Bit of a rambly post, not thought through, just a brain dump.  That and I think I will be marking Christ the King in some way this weekend when I'm away.  If nothing else it's an excuse to sing this rousing old hymn...

    Sing we the King who is coming to reign,
    glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain.
    Life and salvation his empire shall bring,
    joy to the nations when Jesus is King.
        Come let us sing: Praise to our King,
        Jesus our King, Jesus our King:
        this is our song, who to Jesus belong:
        Glory to Jesus, to Jesus our King.

    All then shall dwell in his marvellous light,
    races long severed his love shall unite,
    justice and truth from his sceptre shall spring,
    wrong shall be ended when Jesus is King.

    All shall be well in his kingdom of peace,
    freedom shall flourish and wisdom increase,
    foe shall be friend when his triumph we sing,
    sword shall be sickle when Jesus is King.

    Souls shall be saved from the burden of sin,
    doubt shall not darken his witness within,
    hell has no terrors, and death has no sting;
    love is victorious when Jesus is King.

    Kingdom of Christ, for your coming we pray,
    hasten, O Father, the dawn of the day
    when this new song your creation shall sing,
    Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King.

    Charles Silvester Horne (1865-1914)

  • Cue: Spooky Music

    Yesterday the new edition of Magnet (a Methodist worship & spirituality type resource magazine) hit my doormat.  As I flicked through to see what ideas it had for Advent (albeit too late for people like us who plan way ahead!) I went into spooky muisic "do do do do" (X-files style I think) mode as there, large as life was... an all age service based around the Jesse tree.  This spooky because we will be creating our own Jesse tree over the Advent season.

    My subscription is now up for renewal, and as it's a mere £10 and you get some fabulous A4 poster-pages in each magazine I will be sending off my dosh shortly.

    I am pondering how to 'do' Advent this year on this blog... I have a few vague ideas but until I get back from my short break I won't finalise them.  Wait and see!

  • Nada Te Turbe

    Around this time last year, this prayer by Theresa of Avila became very precious to me, one I used to sing myself to sleep with (or at least try to get to sleep with) in its Taize setting in some of my most scared and vulnerable moments.

    Nada te turbe
    Nada te espante
    Quien a Dios tiene nada le falta
    Solo Dios basta
    Todo se pasa
    Dios no se muda
    La paciencia todo lo alcanza

    Let nothing disturb you,
    nothing afright you.
    Whom God possesses
    in nothing is wanting.
    Alone God suffices.
    All things are passing.
    God never ceases.
    Patient endurance attains all things.

    Today's PAYG used a Margaret Rizza setting of the words, which was very beautiful, and then, hunting for the words I stumbled on this setting, which is achingly haunting (at least to me)

    Right now I'm tired and tetchy, taking things far too personally, in real need of my few days away... It is good to be reminded of this prayer and to seek comfort in the shelter of its promises.