I am starting to write this on Thursday morning at 9.50am and begin with a Facebook post from 25 minutes ago: (By the way BCP is Book of Common Prayer 1662 and CW is Common Worship 2000)
Just having a cuppa while I turn myself round (and think of a sermon) for a BCP communion at Alton using daily lectionary (so can’t use Sunday sermon). I have just come home from doing the last of the assemblies for the week at JCB Academy with the 6th from. Including Sunday and today, this week I will have done
1 BCP communion
4 CW communions (1 with memorial prayers)
1 Christingle service (but not the talk)
4 Advent assemblies – 1 each for years 9 to 6th form. A different year group each morning.
2 Christmas/Incarnation assemblies – 1 first school, 1 middle school
And each night Sun – last night I haven’t slept very well. So I am VERY TIRED.
But it is great to be able to bring the message of God’s love to so many people right across the age range, from 4 – too old to ask!
The JCB Academy assemblies are at the start of their school day, so about 8.40am once they’ve lined up and got into the hall. I have to finish by 8.50am but the material I produced was too long. I had run out of time to make it shorter! So each morning I gradually tried to shorten it. I was delighted therefore this morning to be told that I didn’t have to finish by 8.50 – I could go on until 9am if I wished. I could then be more relaxed and do the whole thing as planned and even go off script (I knew it so well by then). I actually finished at about 8.53 but they had all got in quicker than the younger groups, not being required to line up outside first.
I have just finished the cup of tea (almost cold, yuk) and the church bell is chiming 10am. I have to be in Alton for a 10.30am service so this is the end of writing this section as I have to go. I have decided to read a bit of Tom Wright’s Matthew for Everyone on the gospel for today, which is Matthew 11:11-15.
Continuing to write on Saturday afternoon after my art/prayer time. This week I have been using the readings for tomorrow (3rd Sunday of Advent) in my prayer times. I picked up on the desert flowering, continuing on from last week. I imagined my heart as a wilderness/desert in the past but is now flourishing and in flower. A quick sketch was done in pencil (on Tuesday I think) and I painted it this afternoon. Not my best work of art by a long chalk. However I enjoyed doing it despite the frustration of water colour not being my best medium. I remembered that my spiritual director advised not to let the art take over but make prayer the priority. She is right. This is about connecting with God and enhancing my prayer, not about producing a great work of art.
My focus for prayer has been Isaiah 35 and the Magnificat plus Psalm 146. I wasn’t able to convey the idea of water flowing into the desert, creating pools and the flowers as I had imagined them. Nevertheless, I am not displeased with the result. I will use it in prayer tomorrow and then on Monday start again with the readings set for the 4th Sunday in Advent. Doing this is helping me to keep focused on me and God rather than just the next Christmas service or event. Coming up next week are school Christmas services with church carol services tomorrow and next Sunday. Then of course there will be Christmas Eve and Day…. nearly there.
I hope you are enjoying Advent and your preparations for celebrating Christmas. I have used a short film off YouTube and a song by Kutlass. If the links work, I hope you enjoy them too. Advent in 2 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eC0FGQLBp7w This is Christmas by Kutless https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sust0VZ64rw