Armadale UCA

3rd January 2021

`Grow in grace`

Christmas 2

Rev Fiona Winn

Welcome and Grace

Scripture sentence

`…we have not ceased praying for you…
asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will
in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work
and as you grow in the knowledge of God.`
Colossians 1: 10, 11

Hymn 199 `Lord Jesus, our bright Morning Star`
(music only) https://youtu.be/yIIcqwfVHLk

  1. Lord Jesus, our bright Morning Star,
    how full of grace and truth you are,
    my bridegroom, king from heaven!
    From Jacob`s line, the promised one,
    our great deliverer, David`s son,
    to you my heart is given.
    Dearest
    Jesus,
    you are glorious,
    great, victorious,
    richly giving;
    high in heaven`s glory living.

2. You loved me, Father, in your Son
before you even had begun
To plan this world`s creation.
Your Son is standing by my side,
he is my treasure, I his bride;
what joyful celebration!
Praise him
Praise him!
Life in heaven
now is given
by my Saviour.
There I`ll sing his praise for ever.

What joy is mine, all sorrow past;
the Lord I love is first and last;
there is no other saviour.
I know that I`ll will surely rise
to be with him in Paradise,
where I will live for ever.
Amen,
amen
for your coming
I am longing,
Crown of gladness!
Come, and end all grief and sadness.

Here is a Bach cantata which offers an alternative version of the hymn. The words are in German with interlinear translation.
`Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern` Bach cantata https://youtu.be/gBfHemeJTfg

Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
How beautifully shines the morning star
Voll Gnad und Wahrheit von dem Herrn,
full of grace and truth from the Lord,
Die süße Wurzel Jesse!
the sweet root of Jesse!
Du Sohn Davids aus Jakobs Stamm,
You son of David from the line of Jacob,
Mein König und mein Bräutigam,
my king and my bridegroom,
Hast mir mein Herz besessen,
have taken posession of my heart,
Lieblich,
[you who are] lovely,
Freundlich,
friendly,
Schön und herrlich, groß und ehrlich, reich von Gaben,
beautiful and glorious, great and honest, rich in gifts,
hoch und sehr prächtig erhaben.
lofty and exalted in splendour.

Prayer
Lord of all beginnings, of all new beginnings
of all that is new and different,
You make us wonder.
We wonder at the mystery of life – and death.
We wonder at joy and laughter – and suffering and struggle.
We wonder at story and event, history and truth.
We wonder at the beauty of the earth
and the darkness in our hearts.
We wonder at Your creative, generative love for us
and for the whole world.
We wonder at Your coming among us as a child in Jesus Christ.
We wonder at the gift of the Spirit
to enliven our hearts and transform our lives.
Let us rejoice! Let us rejoice!
For Christ is born of Mary!
We rejoice and are glad indeed,
and come to offer You our praise and prayer, our thanksgiving,
the love of our hearts and the obedience of our wills.
Hear us as we make our confession and ask for Your forgiveness…
Forgive how easily we are led astray by the call of the world,
its enticements and empty promises. Help us hold fast to Your truth.
Lord have mercy…Lord have mercy…
Forgive how quickly we turn to false gods for help and support.
Help us trust Your true love for us.
Christ have mercy …Christ have mercy…
Forgive how slow we are to pray and praise and give our thanks.
Make us mindful of Your loving kindness to us in so many ways.
Lord have mercy…Lord have mercy…
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4: 31-32
As we consider these words, we hear again Christ`s words of grace to each of us `Your sins are forgiven `
Thanks be to God. Amen

Readings
Jeremiah 31: 7-14; Ephesians 1: 3-14; John 1: 10-18

Jeremiah 31: 7-14
For thus says the Lord:
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
“Save, O 
Lord, your people,
the remnant of Israel.”
See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations
[d] I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
10 Hear the word of the Lord
, O nations,
    and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, “He who scattered Israel will gather him,
    and will keep him as a shepherd a flock.”
11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the 
Lord,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.
13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14 I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
says the 
Lord.

Ephesians 1: 3-14 Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ[b] before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,[c] having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14 this[d] is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

John 1: 10-18

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Christmas Carol `Gaudete`

Steeleye Span https://youtu.be/EDc2FD-vy8M
Prima Luca https://youtu.be/DFtppysEl-k

Gaudete, Gaudete!
Christus est natus
Ex maria virgine,
Gaudete!
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary,
Rejoice!
Tempus ad est gratiae,
Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina laetitiae,
Devote redamus.
It is now the time of grace
That we have desired;
Let us sing songs of joy,
Let us give devotion.
Deus homo factus est,
Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.
God was made man,
And nature marvels;
The world was renewed
By Christ who is King.
Ezechiellis porta
Clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.
The closed gate of Ezechiel
Has been passed through;
From where the light rises
Salvation is found.
Ergo nostra cantio,
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.
Therefore let our assembly now sing,
Sing the Psalms to purify us;
Let it praise the Lord:
Greetings to our King.

Reflection and Q and A

Reflection – 3.1.21 Grow in grace
At the beginning of a New Year many people make New Year resolutions: to lose weight, to exercise more, to give up smoking…whatever it may be. These are made with the best of intentions – but, usually they are disappointingly short-lived.
Have we made any this year?
If so – what are they? If not – why not?
As Christians – what might our New Year resolutions be?
To be kinder? To be more forgiving? To pray more? To give more?
When I first came to faith as a twelve year old, I heard, in sermons at church, the phrase `grow in grace` and somehow I knew that that was what I had to do as a new Christian – and I wanted to do it – but I didn`t know exactly what it meant or how to go about it!
When I asked my older sister about what it meant and how I might `grow in grace` she said `You read your Bible and you pray`! As if I should know…
Reading the Bible and prayer are part of growing in grace for sure. To expose your heart, your thoughts and your life to the influence of scripture – the words of Jesus, the teachings of other people like the Gospel writers and the apostle Paul - is to come into contact with Jesus` followers and friends; to wonder like them, to struggle like them – albeit in our own context and situation – some things so different, some things so very similar…
And there is so much more! To meet with other Christians to worship, to question, to discuss, debate – and disagree! To share in the sacraments. To think of and care for others – especially those who are on the edge and at the edges…Paul talks about maturity in Christ, about growing up in the faith, as those who want to learn more, `faith seeking understanding` as Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109) has it. Bible reading, Bible study, prayer and contemplation all nourish and nurture us in our growth as Christian people.
The prologue of John, reminds us once more about the specialness of the Christ born for us - `full of grace and truth grace`. And we are told that in him we have received `grace upon grace` - this is, he is, our inheritance, our birth-right. We are to live into this, we are to grow up into him more and more. There is no better New Year resolution than to `grow in grace`.
May God grant us so to live in 2021. A very Happy New Year

Notes on Facebook - Cantare`s Children`s Choir August 26th 2020
https://www.facebook.com/cantarecalgary/videos/681334952459817/

`WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET DER MORGENSTERN is a Lutheran hymn written by Philipp Nicolai often called “the Queen of Chorales”. Did you know that this is a PANDEMIC HYMN???
Philip Nicolai wrote hymn in 1597 at Unna, Westphalia where he was pastor. It was during a terrible pandemic which raged there from July 1597
to January 1598. In July, 300 people died. In August 170 died and in all, over 1300 fell victim. Nicolai’s parsonage overlooked the church yard where daily interments took place, often 30 in a single day.
Wie Shön Leuchtet” was published in 1599 together with “Wachet auf, ruft uns die stimme”. Both hymns were written in homage to a former student who died in the pandemic at age 15…
The author wrote in his preface, dated 10 August 1598:
"Day by day I wrote out my meditations, found myself, thank God, wonderfully well, comforted in heart, joyful in spirit, and truly content;
gave to my manuscript the name and title of a Mirror of Joy...
to leave behind me (if God should call me from this world)
as a token of my peaceful, joyful, Christian departure,
or (if God should spare me in health) to comfort other sufferers
whom He should also visit with the pestilence.`
That is quite a response to a pandemic …
sharing joy and uplifting spirits 400 years later!!!`

Prayer and the Lord`s Prayer

Hymn `Be Thou my vision`

Voices of Ireland https://youtu.be/rEP8SkGOnbE
Van Morrison`s version https://youtu.be/9h-bbvmu0YY

Ancient Irish
Trans. Mary E. Byrne

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art -
Thou my best thought, by day or by night;
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word;
I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord.
Thou my great Father; thine own may I be,
Thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.

Riches I heed not, nor vain, empty praise;
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and thou only first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Blessing

Go in peace. Grow in grace. Be full of joy.
And may the blessing of God, Father, Son and Spirit,
keep you, protect you, nourish and sustain you
this day and throughout all your days.
Amen