Breakfast Liturgy for Candlemas
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright, winter will have another fight. If Candlemas Day brings cloud
and rain, winter will not come again
Music is played, porridge is served and the candle is lit
There is hope in lighting a candle. There is hope and mystery
Let us worship in the light of that hope Let us worship in the light of Christ
Reflection: In the East, the feast
of Candlemas is called ‘Hypapante, which means ‘meeting’ It is a celebration of faithfulness, recognition and encounter. The young couple Mary and Joseph, encounter the old couple Simeon and Anna - an encounter of different experiences, of
different faith journeys and of different generations. A meeting that closes one era and heralds the opening of another. And for Anna and Simeon, who bridge the gap between the two, it is a real and longed for encounter with the Living God and the fulfilment
of their calling to pray, to wait, to expect. Though Luke tells us little about them, there is enough for us to know that we are in the presence of those who have grown so close to God, that they can glimpse what is hidden from others. They have eyes to see.
Waiting and encountering, are part of the rhythm of life and discipleship and the sort of encountering worth waiting for, changes and transforms.
Neither, Mary, Joseph, Simeon or Anna walked away from their encounter unchanged. And change, transformation, is part of what meeting with Christ always offers. But the rhythm also requires waiting. Patient but expectant waiting. For Simeon and Anna the years
of waiting were long, but the meeting that brought the waiting to an end was a rich blessing. Fulfilment and confirmation that God keeps his promises .
Senior Moment by Ann Lewin
His parents brought him, in obedience to the Law. A baby six weeks old, to offer thanks and dedicate their
son. Nothing unusual- But for Simeon and Anna, Revelation.
Only mentioned once, these two had been around. Waiting and watching Prayerfully for
years, Longing to see salvation. And patience was rewarded When they saw the Child. A moment of recognition And they spoke about Fulfilment, theirs and his. For once old people had the best lines.
Age does not have to mean diminishment. There may well be constraints , but there is also space and time for patient prayerful growth to wisdom's fruitfulness.
Breakfast and Discussion
Questions: Do our lives feel more about waiting than meeting? Do we wait expectantly?
Are there things we are tempted to give up waiting for? CaneAnna and Simeon inspire the ministry of prayer for the older members of the churches who feel the less active they are, the less useful they are?
The Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon is played)
Lord, now lettest thou thy servant
depart in peace, according to thy word. For my eyes have seen thy salvation. Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people. To be a light to lighten the gentiles and to be the glory of they people Israel.
There is hope in lighting a candle. There is hope and mystery and promise, even as we wait.
Let us with Simeon rejoice in the light of that hope. Let us rejoice in the light of Christ Amen.
Advent Breakfast Liturgy
The Voice of John the Baptist
Opening Prayer Lord Jesus, you came as the living word, to be the voice of the voiceless. You came as the word made flesh to clothe
the outcasts. You came as the light in the darkness to reassure the afraid. You came as the lamb of God, to redeem the brutal. You came from the womb of the Trinity to the womb of the earth, to sanctify all creation. You came and you come as the servant of
love, at Advent and always Amen
John the Baptist
Advent can be a very evocative, and reflective time as we make our way through the darkness
of a year coming to an end, towards the light of a star hovering over a stable at Bethlehem. It is the beginning of the Church’s Calendar year and can bring a sense of anticipation, and permission to make a new beginning ourselves. It is a time of waiting
of preparing, of reassessing. But just as we are about to settle down into a nice gentle rhythm and pattern in bursts John the Baptist with no manners and even less finesse!
Of all the people in the New Testament
(excepting Jesus) John the Baptist is probably the most dramatic, the most dynamic and the most compelling and disturbing. He is the great Herald, the booming voice of Advent and speaks with alarming and provocative authority.
Prepare the way of the Lord. The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the Good news.
There is no mistaking his meaning not like some public figures who say a lot and yet say nothing.
John doesn't mince his words and he doesn't ramble. He is earthy flesh and blood proclaiming the divine. He had waited in the desert- perhaps having battled with his own temptations as Jesus did before his public ministry began and now his moment had come
and he gives it everything. He put his whole heart and soul into his message and his sense of urgency, his sense that the time is now counter balances the waiting and preparing side of advent and this wake up call, this living invitation is John's great gift
Repent now he says. Believe now. Follow now.
And not only does he in his ministry preach some of the most urgent words of scripture but also some of
the most inspired. 'Behold the lamb of God' he says when he sees Jesus and glimpses something of the cost of Christ's calling
And he speaks too some of the most honest words and the most humble words- the
one who comes after me is more powerful than me – I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals.
And with great insight he says I must decrease and Jesus must increase.
John the baptist had it all- the urgency, the obedience, the vision, the humility, the grace to be who he was truly called to be- no more- no less. Yet he too faced doubt later in his life when imprisoned and suddenly overwhelmed asks Jesus
'are you the one who is to come or should we expect some other?' He wasn't perfect, he didn't get it all right and he certainly wasn't Mr popular amongst the religious of his day but in fulfilling his vocation he challenges us to ask ourselves this Advent
what is our vocation?
And it is a big question for us to ask – who are we truly called to be? And how do we balance passion and urgency and make time and space to reflect and look forward. How do we
live in the now at the same time as looking forward. How do we make sure in our rush to get to Christmas we don't miss the gifts Advent has to give us.
prepare the way for us- prepare the way of our relationships, our finances. Prepare the way of our thinking, our understanding, our praying. And make straight the paths of our hearts and lives, that we may be ready to receive you this Christmas. Amen.
'Poetry and Prayer'
is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words' Robert Frost
A candle is lit and we say:
The light of the world
is here among us so we rejoice that we are not alone
Blessed be this day and all we will reflect on Blessed be our words and our silence Amen
Gracious God, we give you thanks for the gift of poetry. For all that lives within us unnamed but understood. For all that we cannot articulate but which dances in our souls. For all that enriches our experience of life and
The Seamless Robe
Prayer is like a seamless robe, there are no stitches
in between our praise and pleas, our adoration, anger, thanks and longing. Patterns, threads, colours, merge, pain and joy embrace, barrenness, fertility grow as one,as tears, ebb and flow as gentle and as raucous as the ocean, still and raging, music, words,
silence, all entwine becoming as the Trinity, albeit, fleetingly. And the robe once silky on your skin, is coarse again. Then gone and all that's left is nakedness that knows it can't be covered
is not ashamed.
Prayer is like waiting for the kingfisher. All you can do is Be where he is likely to appear and Wait. Often, nothing
much happens; There is space, silence and expectancy. No visible sign, only the knowledge That he’s been there, And may come again. Seeing or not seeing cease to matter, You have been prepared. But sometimes, when you’ve almost Stopped expecting
it, A flash of brightness Gives encouragement!
Questions How would we describe our own
prayer life? Do we try too hard to understand poetry and mis something of the mystery? Are we aware of evading ourselves?!
May we find poetry in
our praying. Music in our silence. And May God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, inspire, encourage and sustain us today and always Amen.
'Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood It may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant
evasion of ourselves. T.S Eliot
Silence and Music
Light a candle and keep a moment of silence
God, may our lives be as a piece of music with every day a new note which, when played, will so enrich the silence that others will be drawn to listen. May they be filled with the confidence to share their own songs until all hearts are heard
and your great composition is complete. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
ReadingThe Silence of a Rose “ I held the stillness as though it were a rose, with care, with reticence, with beauty.
Silence welled deep within its petals, far beyond the sweetest music and I myself was held, as though a raindrop in the tip of a leaf, as though a child on the lap of one who is the music and the rose, and the silence. Most of all, who is the silence.
Breakfast and discussion Share experiences of how the silence or music has moved you. Does thinking of our life as a piece of music inspire us to try and live more ‘tunefully’?
“Music begins with silence. You can only fully appreciate the beauty and effect of music when it grows out of silence. If you can’t appreciate the music and significance of silence, you will never be able to appreciate
fully the music of actual sound. Silence is such an important ingredient in any communication with God. How hard it is to really focus on listening.” (John Sanders – Christian composer)
How hard is it for us to think of ourselves as music? What sort of music do we think we are?!!! What would we like to be? Does music enrich our silence and can silence enrich the music we hear. Do they make words more precious and should we use them more carefully?
Prayers – for those who have no music their lives or who through illness feel their music is discordant, for those who have too much silence in their lives, for those who find it
threatening and for all those on our hearts......
Music is played......
When the anthems have all been sung, when the instruments have all grown silent and when the last
notes have all been played, may God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, who is ever in the silence, bless us and keep us Amen