Monday, November 28, 2005

Advent Sunday

Yesterday, of course, was Advent Sunday - the beginning of the church year. A season of anticipation and expectancy. We had our regular Eucharist but added some Advent spice with a short candle lighting ritual at the beginning using the U2 track '40' (in darkness) followed by the Delirious track 'There is a light that shines in the darkness' (I know - I've lost all my emerging church kudos by mentioning Delirious...woops) as Pippa lit the 'Christ' candle at the back of the room and walked into the circle of sofas and then lit each person's candle. Simple but effective. We sang some of our home-grown songs (and it was good to have Martin singing for the first time), read the lectionary readings and Suzie shared some reflections on 'Watching, Waiting and Hoping' (I particularly enjoyed her tie in with the 'buy now pay later'/instant gratification culture we live in). We then prayed the eucharist liturgy together (and Jim has brought back a fantastic chalice and patten from Iona for us to use).
One of the things that I was most pleased about last night was the way people lingered after the service had 'officially' ended and prayed for each other without it being 'organised'. We have been struggling for a while to find some natural ways to incorporate 'prayer ministry' (for want of a better phrase) into our services without reverting to the overly hyped-up practices of many charismatic churches. It was great to see people in 2's and 3's around the place just simply and quietly praying for each other where they sat. I hope we see more of that.

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