Church of England Diocese of Birmingham St. Paul Blackheath

A short service for the 4th Sunday of Advent – 20/12/2020

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Amen.

Opening prayer

Turning towards each other
in this holy season of Advent,
we light the final candle,
trusting that you will always bring
your covenant of love to completion.
God, among us, in hope and expectation
in fulfilment and flourishing.
Amen.

Psalm 89

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
through all generations.

I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant,

‘I will establish your line forever
and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.

For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?

In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
he is more awesome than all who surround him.

Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.

Amen.

Our Bible reading is Luke 1: 26-38

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

For Thought for the day by Revd Arif Anees. Please click the link below or visit our Facebook page;

https://youtu.be/sTCRGncu0z4

Collect

God our redeemer,

who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary

to be the mother of your Son:

grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,

so we may be ready to greet Him

when He comes again as our judge;

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

Amen.

Prayers of intercession

We pray today for those who feel far from themselves and others. We pray that this Advent season might, in the midst of demand, provide soft nights and ease, so that people can return to themselves, knowing you, too, are always in the heart, and always wait for us with kindness.
Lord, in your mercy…
Hear our prayer.

We remember today all who have not given their consent, but whose lives and bodies and integrity are taken for granted. For them, we pray for justice, reparation and truth.

Lord, in your mercy…
Hear our prayer.

Today we remember that God surprised us by coming among us through the ‘Yes’ of Mary. Let us always be open to the surprise of finding God in unexpected places.

Lord, in your mercy…
Hear our prayer.

In a moment of silence, we will bring before God people, places and situations that we carry in our hearts…

(Silence is kept for few moments)

Lord, in your mercy…
Hear our prayer.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ who reigns with you in the unity of Holy Spirit,

Amen.

Sending prayer

God of surprises,
you chose Mary as the ark of your covenant with us.
And with her ‘Yes’,
you entered the world of body and blood.
Nurtured by your body and blood,
we go out,
to look for surprise
and wonder
all around us.

Amen.

Final blessing

The Lord bless us, and preserve from all evil,

and keep us in eternal life.

Amen.

The Holy Bible NIV - Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Common Worship – Copyright © The Archbishops’ Council 2000

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Reproduced with permission.