Sunday, 9.15am Holy Communion see also Readings

LITURGICAL NOTE
From the start of Advent we follow the YEAR B readings in the three year lectionary cycle.

Lectionary

The full text of the readings for Sunday are available in our Sunday's Readings section.

Other Resources

Textweek The Text This Week - Revised Common Lectionary, Scripture Study and Worship Links

Online Revised Common Lectionary Vanderbilt Divinity Library

Earlier Thoughts      Year B 05/06      Year C 06/07       Year A 07/08      Year C 09/10

Sunday, 9.15am Holy Communion

LITURGICAL NOTE
From the start of Advent we follow the YEAR A readings in the three year lectionary cycle.

Before entering the sanctuary or the vestry…
Please allow the Choir to complete the ‘postlude’ and any additional songs that are part of our offering in worship – Our holding the sacred space is part of our common union - our being together in communion.

 

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany 1 February 2009

Paul in his epistle to the Corinthians uses the example of dietary customs to illustrate a theological point… It is by such examples that we have our relationship with god illuminated….
This week we have been reading the letter of James at Evening prayer.. and that has another helpful illustration…
we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies.
Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!

As we consider what we eat…. And consider what we speak… Maybe we should also look at what truly feeds us and what calls for our songs of thanksgiving…

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Jesus and his disciples were walking around one day, when Jesus said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like 3x squared plus 8x minus 9."
The disciples looked very puzzled, and finally asked Peter, "What on earth does Jesus mean - 'the Kingdom of Heaven is like 3x squared plus 8x minus 9?'"
Peter said, "Don't worry, guys. It's just another one of his parabolas."

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Look, I have set before you an open door

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The right to search for the truth implies also a duty: one must not conceal any part of what one has recognised to be true.
Albert Einstein.

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Gentled by Silence
It takes time to learn the ways of silence,
time to be with her and to let her touch
gentle your mind, your heart, your very being.
Noel Davis

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Epistle:
A letter, especially a formal one.
A literary composition in the form of a letter.
Bible: One of the letters included as a book in the New Testament.
An excerpt from one of these, read as part of a religious service.
[Middle English epistel, from Old French epistle, from Latin epistola, from Greek epistol, from epistellein, to send a message to  : epi-, epi- + stellein, to send; see stel- in Indo-European Roots.]

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A HOLE IN A FLUTE
I am
A hole in a flute
That the Christ’s breath moves through –
Listen to this
Music.

I am the concert
From the mouth of every Creature
Singing with the myriad
Chords.
Hafiz.

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WONDER MOMENTS
The actual sense of wonder
does not have to be grand;
maybe one kangaroo
outlined above the dunes at sundown;
a few seconds of melody from Grieg or Haydn;
a bare wintering tree
lifting arms to the moonlight;
a phrase from a psalm
not heard for some time.

Little glimpses of the kingdom
can be born in a moment,
unexpected as a Christ,
unearned as grace
bud-bursts of wonder-praise
tingling in one's being
and focusing on the Mystery
greater than the stars!
Bruce D. Prewer - More Australian Psalms

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Be still and know that I am God++

We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow

 

Third Sunday after the Epiphany 25 January 2009

Repent - Believe - Follow

Repent, and believe in the good news

Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.
Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labour, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.
For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and travelled across oceans in search of a new life.
Inaugural address: 44th US President

Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." And he also said, "Follow me” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:14-20

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A Reflection on the Gospel…..
This week’s Gospel has some simple advice/instruction
This IS the sacred version of the Secular “new Years Resolutions..
Let us take each call to action and find its meaning for ourselves
Repent
What are the changes/re-orientation I need to make that will Give Life?
Believe
What are the fruits of my belief – where do I have my treasure stored?
Follow
Who do I follow and to where am I being led?… as a clue make a list of what you watch on TV.

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'Be not lax in celebrating.
Be not lazy in the festive service of God.
Be ablaze with enthusiasm.
Let us be an alive, burning offering before the altar of God.'
Hildegard of Bingen

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Reflections from last week’s sermon…
To fully engage the contemplative process, to encounter the Divine, we must find ourselves as we are found and formed by God, to know ourselves that fully. To encounter the fullness of God is to encounter the fullness of ourselves, initially as an individual and then as part of the whole, as members of one body..

In 2009, if each of us can find a place in our lives to utter that -'Speak, for your servant is listening’ – it will bring about change.

Samuel was guided by Eli, Nathaneal was guided by Philip. It’s pretty clear that movement cannot and is not something that we can do alone. Full sermon

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In the silence of the early morning
your Spirit hovers over the brink of the day.
Philip Newell, Celtic Benediction

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We are a feather on the breath of God
Hildegard of Bingen

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‘Shine as a light in the world to the Glory of God’
What greater purpose could there be?

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We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow

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The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me. (Meister Eckhart)

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Things that look quiet and still, like a glass of water with a covered top that has been sitting for several days, are active all the time; the atoms are leaving the surface, bouncing round inside and coming back. What looks still to our crude eyes is a wild and dynamic dance.
(Physicist, Richard Feynman)

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Who will save Israel from Herself By Mark LeVine Aljazeer.net
Around the world people are beginning to compare Israel's attack on Gaza, which after the 2005 withdrawal of Israeli forces and settlers was turned literally into the world's largest prison, to the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto.
A reflection for us all – as we look at the history WE repeat, and
the call to REPENT

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War is not about victory or defeat. It is about the total failure of human spirit,"
Robert Fisk, The Independent's Middle East correspondent

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Baptism of our Lord 11 January 2009

May all creatures live from the heart
May all creatures be free from suffering
May all creatures be healed
May all creatures know their wholeness
May all creatures be at peace
May all creatures be happy.
Buddhist 'Metta Meditation',
sent by Pamela Cuneen

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WE are Beloved, We are a Pleasing People, We are forgiven,
We are forever made new….

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We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow

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You are my Beloved; with you I am well pleased

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We are a feather on the breath of God
Hildegard of Bingen

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God of Love, Divine Creator
We give thanks for the child of Bethlehem,
Our Lord, our Teacher, our Guide & our life, Jesus,
who was baptised in the fearful waters of death,
and rose to tear open the heavens
so that all might be baptised with your Holy Spirit
and hear you declare them to be pleasing to you.

We give thanks that
In this symbolic act all are washed in the divine
for ever past and for ever future
the all, the one is named as sacred
We are sacred – let us rejoice in this gift.

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Reflection from last Sunday’s sermon:
God is revealed in and through us. Christ reveals the coming of light in humanity, the coming of light into all, including us – ‘all who receive and believe in God are given power to become children of God’.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which is to look out
Christ's compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
Teresa of Avila

Shine as a light in the world to the Glory of God.....
What greater purpose could there be?

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Reflection from First Sunday after Christmas Sermon….
The feasts, like the gospel, seek to provide us with some reference points for the unfolding of Christmas. The feast of Saint Stephen – the giving of ourselves, the giving fully and the dying of our worldly self –the first martyr. The Holy Innocents, the cost, the cost of the journey before us and the extent to which the authorities will go to prevent our realisation. The naming and circumcision of our Lord - the new name by which you and I and we will be known. What is that name? What will we be called; what we grow into?

We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow

2009…. A year that opens a new bracket………. If you mistype it!

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Reflections by Kim on the symbolism of the Christmas words:
PEACE is the most fragile and easy to disturb...............
LOVE is delicate, transparent and elusive unless you look really carefully, but it's there all the same...........
JOY we borrowed but it had to be given back, so we made our own, and it somehow works even better in the overall scheme of things................
HOPE has been the most solid, secure, and reliable
What does this say about us?

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Our Affirmation of Faith - the Creed

We believe
that in the Child of Bethlehem
all love and grace
is gathered for the world.
Here God entered our life
in a way which honoured forever
our struggle to survive
our possibilities for newness
and our ordinary human journey
Here we see our God
in a surprising way
a God who travels with us
a God who loves us to the death
and a God who comes among us
as a small and vulnerable child
This God we Praise
This God we welcome into our life
This God we celebrate today.
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Blessings for 2009
Be blessed and be a blessing in the year ahead

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Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which is to look out
Christ's compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about
doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
Teresa of Avila

Shine as a light in the world to the Glory of God.....
What greater purpose could there be?

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And another New Year’s resolution……
Behave as if the God in all life mattered…
as I was pondering the New Year I wondered if we should look at
New Year’s Revolutions!
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Blessings for 2009
Be blessed and be a blessing in the year ahead

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Reflection from Sermon, First Sunday after Christmas:
For Isaiah, [Christmas] was a cause of great rejoicing; it involves the whole being. It is a springing into life: ‘I will not keep silent, I will not rest’. Isaiah speaks of unfolding into a new being and of becoming a new person: ‘You shall be called by a new name that the mouth
of the Lord will give’.

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First Sunday after Christmas 28 December 2008

You shall be a crown of beauty

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You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD
How great for us to be told this as we contemplate the mystery of Christmas….. ‘Me’, a crown of beauty…. In the hand of the Lord…….
But then… do we always [ever] listen to what we are told……
As we move toward the unfolding of a new calendar year… we have a chance to look again at the direction in which we move… to look again at our unfolding…
For Christ the orientation was always born out of ‘giving’…. It starts we hear from the offerings of those who loved him…. ‘two turtle doves” and it unfolded into the giving of his wholeness into the Divine hand……

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

So too us

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May the blessing of light be upon you,
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine upon you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great fire
and strangers may warm themselves,
as well as friends.
And may the light shine out of the eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer to come in
out of the storm

(Celtic Blessing)

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I would love to live
like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.
John O’Donohue

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We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow

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The Man at the Gate
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
“Give me a light that I may
Tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied, “Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than the light
And safer than a known way!”

So I went forth and finding the hand of God.
Trod gladly into the light. (M. Louise Haskins)

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2009 New Year’s Resolutions
Some biblical resolutions worth considering:
(Deu 30:19) “Choose life, so that you and your children may live"
(Job 42:6) "Repent in dust and ashes.""
(Psa 37:7) "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently”
(Mic 6:8) Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God."
(Mat 3:8) "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance."
(Mat 6:33) "Seek first the kingdom and God’s righteousness.”
(Mat 22:37-39) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, Love your neighbour as yourself."
(Mat 28:19) "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"
(Mark 13:34-35) "Keep watch.”
(Rom 12:1) "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”
(Rom 12:2)“.Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect."
(2Cor 13:11)Put things in order agree with one another, live in peace.
(Phil 1:27)Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ,
(James 3:18) "Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of
righteousness."
(James 4:8) "Come near to God and he will come near to you. ..and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
(2 Pet 3:11-12) "Live holy and godly lives as you look forward to
the day of God and speed its coming.”
(Rev 22:17) "Take the water of life as a gift."

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January 6th Epiphany

Epiphany comes from the Greek word which means appear, it also means be revealed and give light. As we move into the New Year as a community we seek to make Christ present.
Our appearance, as we reveal our identity, our truth, and our being will enable us to give light for we are THE BODY OF CHRIST.

Epiphany - Chalking the door
The custom of chalking the door, which seems to be familiar in some parts of Europe is reported as follows:. On Epiphany, children dress as the three kings and go door to door, sometimes singing a carol, and collecting donations for a good cause. On each house that welcomes them they write in chalk on the lintel over the front door the year and the initials of the 3 kings:

20 C M B 09

C,M,B stand for Caspar, Melchior & Balthasar of course, however these initials have also been interpreted as the latin phrase "Christus mansionem benedicat" ("May Christ bless this house").
The ‘chalking” is left on all year.. and therefore serves as a reminder to those within of the constant presence and indwelling of Christ, and also to visitors that this home is a place where Christ may be found

Those who wish to chalk their doors this year may like to do so with the following prayer, and make it an Epiphany ritual on Thursday 6th January
May Christ bless this house
May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find
Christ living among us;
and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet,
that same Jesus who is Lord for ever and ever. Amen.

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Blessings for 2009
The Church began a new liturgical year on the First Sunday of Advent, The world begins a new year on January 1st - Thank God that we got a head start.

2009…. A year that opens a new bracket………. If you mistype it!

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We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow

Fourth Sunday of Advent 21 Dec 2008

Let it be with me according to your word

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The Old Testament reading today sets the scene for some of the Nativity narrative... We learn of the “House of David”...... This is however not a place to visit... even though it “shall be established forever.”... It is a place to find within ourselves..... The place where the Divine forever dwells........
So as we look at the figure of Mary we find a key to the “House of David”..... For Mary, like us. receives the Divine invitation.... The call of baptism... to bring to birth The Divine in the world...
And Mary’s response.....
"Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."
As we look forward to Christmas........ Can we find the place where we can make the same response?

We, and all people, are called to bear the Divine and birth the Divine in response to God’s creative calling in Love.

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HOPE PEACE JOY LOVE

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As our Advent pilgrimage draws to completion,
grant us the courage to share your love.
Love for the unexpected challenge in our lives,
Love for the vulnerable one in our midst.
Love for the presence of God in all creation.

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Third Sunday of Advent 14 Dec 2008

Make straight the way of the Lord

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Isaiah
They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, to display his glory. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
Paul
But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them.
John
"I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,'"

We listen to three voices as we prepare for Christmas.... and as we prepare for the Rebuilding of the East Wall of the Church........
And the voice from our wilderness is crying for us to straighten our resolve.... and be confident in our commitment..........
As we build in a new direction ...
we can have faith that it is in Giving that we Receive

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In the height of our Advent walk,
grant us the courage to experience joy.
Joy in the face of apathy,
Joy in the face of sorrow,
Joy in the face of uncertainty.
We participate in the birth of tomorrow: not just in the day after today but in the birth of every tomorrow

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HOPE PEACE JOY LOVE

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We are the meeting place of heaven and earth,
soul and body, breath and blood,
and we celebrate you with every part of our being.
You are Eternal, while we remain within the passage of time
measuring our span in numbers.
Jesus our Brother,
whose incarnation was the meeting place of time and eternity,
teach us to take joy in the earth and the heavens.
Let us rejoice in our mortality and its loves,
and sing aloud when our soul reaches out for the stars,
for by both we prove we are God's children.
St Hilda Women Included Liturgy

Second Sunday of Advent 7 Dec 2008

ADVENT Candles
Last Sunday – HOPE - we lit the first Advent candle, representing our mothers and fathers in faith from ancient times and distant places, matriarchs and patriarchs who sought God and were found by God.
As spiritual children of Sarah and Abraham, we thank God for their other children, Jews and Muslims, and in a world of many faiths we pray for grace to cherish the disclosure of God in the Child of Bethlehem and the Christ of the Cross.
Today we light a second candle – PEACE -for all God’s prophets, those who see the truth and have courage to tell the truth. Their witness is almost always very costly, and often they pay the price with their lives. The prophets are candles in our darkness, little lights and little Christs, flames gathering to a singular brilliance in the birth of the Light of the world.
Adapted from Advent Candlelighting by Rev David Wood

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"Christ has no body on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion is to look out to the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now." Teresa of Avila

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Take time to dream ? to find the vision of which you are a part

Christmas is the Nativity of Consciousness. It is a time for us all, we who have lost touch with the tale, to rediscover the wondrous, the miraculous, the unspeakable; the wild, the odd, the strange; the impossible world of the child, the improbable faith of the believer.
"The Crime of Christmas," Commentary, Animating Illustrations, Quotations, and Children’s Sermon. Homiletics Online, 1991.

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Prepare the way of the Lord

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Peace is not the product of terror or fear.
Peace is not the silence of cemeteries.
Peace is not the silence of violent repression.
Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.
Peace is dynamism. Peace is generosity.
It is right and duty.
Oscar A. Romero

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What shall I Give?

Christmas, a time for us to reflect on our Giving and Receiving
There is an expectation, implicit in Christmas, that we shall once again Receive God’s promise, and realise the trust that is Given to us, a trust that we can contribute to the abundance of creation by the sharing of ourselves…. The community of St Paul’s is a community of faith, a faith that is realised in loving action…. Please reflect on your Giving to the continued ministry of this community so that we may become the realisation of promise.

We will be asking all members of the St Paul’s Community to “Give” again toward the East End project... We have received planning approval, and so need to secure another $200,000 to see the Restoration completed.

HOPE PEACE JOY LOVE

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The Promise of Advent: Stir up our hearts, we beseech you, to prepare ourselves to receive your Son. When he comes and knocks, may he find us not sleeping in sin, but awake to righteousness, ceaselessly rejoicing in his love. May our hearts and minds be so purified, that we may be ready to receive his promise of eternal life. Gelasian Sacramentary c.50

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Children who have died call us to look at the nature of life and to see the eternal nature of life.
Today we remember those close to us who have died young.
In faith we give thanks for their lives, for the love they gave and received, for all they shared with us, and for their eternal light.
We look to the eternal light of the Christ-child, the gift of love that we receive as God gives his child into our care.
So too we know the eternal light of those children who we remember today.
Love is forever born, we are created for life that stretches beyond our temporal seeing and so we also rejoice that our children forever shine.