Newsletter – 13 December 2020

Sunday Letter

Benefice of Padstow & Trevone,

St. Merryn, & St Issey with Little Petherick

During this extraordinary time, we thought our congregations might appreciate an emailed letter with the prayers and readings for the Sunday and a short devotional piece, as a way of keeping us together and sharing any thoughts we may have.

Sunday December 13th  

Third Sunday of Advent

Collect

O Lord Jesus Christ,

who at your first coming sent your messenger

to prepare your way before you:  grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready your way by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in your sight; for you are alive and reign with the Fatherin the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Readings

First Reading                Isaiah 61.1-4, 8-end

Isaiah speaks of the anointed servant of the Lord

who will bring good news of healing and

freedom to God’s people.

Second Reading           1 Thessalonians 5.16-24

Paul encourages his readers to praise God joyfully, to pray and to allow the Holy Spirit into their lives so that God will sanctify them in readiness for Christ’s return.

Gospel                                 John 1.6-8; 19-28

We are told of the testimony of John the Baptist who was sent by God to prepare the way of the Lord and to witness to the coming of God’s anointed one, the Christ.

Reflection

Today our thoughts are directed towards John the Baptist who, as the last of the great prophets, came to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. 

There was already much speculation about John, who was attracting large crowds of people who came to hear him speak and to receive the baptism he was offering.   This was a baptism of repentance, a washing away of sins, by which people were given the opportunity to openly express their regrets for the wrongs they had committed; and by being immersed in the water they were able to demonstrate their resolve to make a fresh start.

However, there were three things that the people wanted to know about John, which, if they were true, would have world changing significance for the Jewish people.   First they wanted to know whether John was, in fact, the long awaited Messiah.   Alternatively, was he Elijah, returning, as was expected, to herald the coming of the Messiah?   Or was he the Prophet promised by Moses, who said, ‘the Lord your God will raise up a prophet like me from among you … him you shall heed’?

When John categorically denies that he is any of these, the Jerusalem delegates insist on finding out just who he is and why he is baptising, because baptism into the Jewish faith is only for Gentiles who wish to join the people of Israel.

At this point John reveals that he is the voice foretold by the prophet Isaiah, calling out to prepare people for the coming of the Lord.   God sent John to be a witness concerning his Son, and he proved to be a good witness.   Because of his testimony people like Andrew and Simon decided to follow Jesus.  So what made him such a good witness?

First of all, he was committed.   He saw himself as springing from the same tradition as the Old Testament prophets.   It was a calling which was grounded in the scriptures.   He claimed to be the voice of one crying in the wilderness, quoting the prophet Isaiah as his authority.  

Secondly, although he was a great orator, John used actions as well as words.   He gathered the people at Bethany, on the other side of the Jordan, taking them out of the Promised Land that Joshua had led them into many centuries before, inviting them to cross again into a new kingdom, a spiritual kingdom;  and where Joshua had parted the waters and led them across on dry land in order to fight battles, John invited the people to be baptised in those same waters for the forgiveness of sins.   God was forgiving Israel for the many times they had broken the Old Covenant, and John was inviting them into a New Covenant, which would be inaugurated by the One who was to come after him.   This combination of words and actions made John a very convincing witness.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, all John’s words and actions served one purpose only:  to make not himself, but his testimony more powerful.  He made such an impact that people thought he might be the Messiah, but he denied all claims to greatness and pointed his questioners to Jesus.

Post Communion Prayer

We give you thanks, O Lord for these heavenly gifts:

kindle in us the fire of your Spirit that when your Christ comes again we may shine as lights before his face;

who is alive and reigns now and for ever. Amen.

SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYER

Workers in health and social care and emergency services, local GPs, all keyworkers.

Our Benefice with all its communities

Our new Rector – Revd Ian Gulland and his family Schools – teachers, children and parents

Those losing jobs, or facing financial difficulty

Those with mental health problems

Church – worldwide, Diocese and Benefice

World – peace, equality and justice for all

– those affected by Coronavirus                   

Suffering – all who are sick, anxious, lonely

– refugees and all who are homeless

Radio 4   8.10am   Sunday Worship

Online video services:

www.churchofengland.org

www.trurocathedral.org 

            (Video Recorded Services page)  

www.kerdh.co.uk for readings, prayers & reflections.

Facebook pages:

United Benefice of Padstow, St Merryn St Issey

St Columb Minor & St. Colan Parish Churches

Facebook Newquay Online Church

https://www.facebook.com/groups/690831511862960/

United Benefice of West Kerrier

Wednesday Morning Prayer 9.00am by Zoom

Email Revd Fiona for link   giorlaf@outlook.com

Sunday 13th Teatime Service 4.00pm by Zoom

Email Revd Fiona for link   giorlaf@outlook.com

PRAYERS FOR THIS TIME

Keep us, good Lord,

under the shadow of your mercy

in this time of uncertainty and distress.

Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low;

that we may rejoice in your comfort

knowing that nothing can separate us

from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Let us pray to Almighty God,

who alone makes us dwell in safety.

For all who are affected by coronavirus,

through illness or isolation or anxiety,

that they may find relief and recovery …

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For those who are guiding our nation at this time, and shaping national policies that they may make wise decisions, and that all people will be considerate of others …

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For doctors, nurses and medical researchers,

that through their skill and insights

many will be restored to health …

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For a blessing on our homes and families, and our local communities, that all who need help will be known and cared for …

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves,

and all for whom we pray,

to the mercy and protection of God.

Merciful Father,

accept these prayers

for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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