Advent Bible Study group.
This will start on Thursday 25th November 2021 for the first of 4 consecutive Thursdays in the Annexe at All Saints, East Cowton at 10.15am
We will be looking at “Advent for Everyone” by Tom Wright. You are welcome to join for as many of the sessions as you can. Contact Christine Johnson for more details
Advent candle prayers
In Advent, many churches adopt the practice of using an Advent ring/wreath/crown during worship. This can be simply a plate or dish, decorated with greenery, with four candles in holders around a centre candle. One outer candle is lit for Advent week 1, two for Advent week 2, and so forth. The centre candle is lit together with the others on Christmas Day.
Instead of just lighting these candles, this can be a focal point for Advent prayers. One possibility is to have different families to take responsibility each week. One of the children - the youngest, perhaps, unless they are too young - can light the candle; other family members can lead the readings and prayers. Involving families in worship can be a way of encouraging them to attend regularly with their children. Alternatively, children can be teamed with other members of their 'church family'.
Traditionally the candles were seen as symbols of the following:
Advent 1, Red Candle: the Old Testament founders of faith, e.g. Abraham and Sarah, Moses, David, etc.
Advent 2, Red Candle: The Old Testament prophets who told of Christ's coming.
Advent 3, Red Candle: John the Baptist.
Advent 4, Pink/Purple Candle: Mary the mother of Jesus.
Christmas Day, White Candle: Jesus, Light of the world.
The candles can be other colours as well, In some places they use all white candles. Other traditions use 4 red and one white.
Each week of advent I will include a simple form of liturgy to be used at home or in church following the tradition above
Advent 1: Founders of our faith (Hebrews 11 - 12.1)
Reader 1: To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for and to be certain of the things we cannot see. It was by their faith that the people of ancient times won God's approval.
Reader 2: It was faith that made Abraham obey when God called him to go to a strange country, and faith that enabled Sarah to have children when she was old.
Reader 1: Faith made Moses' parents hide him in the bulrushes and gave Miriam courage to wait and watch. Faith gave Moses strength to stand up to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of slavery.
Reader 2: There were others too: Joseph, Gideon, Samson, Samuel, David and many more. By faith they fought and won, they did what was right and received what God had promised to them. They were weak but became strong, even under persecution.
Reader 1: As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So let us get rid of everything that gets in the way, and, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, run the race that God has set before us.
(Light first candle.)
Reader 2: Let us pray:
Thank you for those who have gone before us,
from ancient times, right up to the present day.
We think especially of those who have kept this church alive,
whose lives have been an example to us all.
Let us remember them and name them - either aloud - or silently.
(Pause, during which people can be named if appropriate.)
Please give us a vision for the future.
Grant us wisdom and flexibility to recognise and accept the need for change.
By your Holy Spirit, turn our weakness into strength. Amen