Morning Service for Advent 4 2021

HYMN For Mary, mother of the Lord NEH 161 – St Botolph

1. For Mary, Mother of the Lord

God’s holy name be praised,

Who first the Son of God adored

As on her child she gazed.

2. The angel Gabriel brought the word

She should Christ’s mother be;

Our Lady, handmaid of the Lord,

Made answer willingly.

3. The heavenly call she thus obeyed,

And so God’s will was done;

The second Eve love’s answer made

Which our redemption won.

4. She gave her body for God’s shrine,

Her heart to piercing pain,

And knew the cost of love divine

When Jesus Christ was slain.

5. Dear Mary, from your lowliness

And home in Galilee,

There comes a joy and holiness

To every family.

6. Hail, Mary, you are full of grace,

Above all women blest;

Blest in your Son, whom your embrace

In birth and death confessed.

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen


We recall our Lord’s command to love and in a moment of silence we confess 

the many ways we fail to keep his command:

Most merciful God, 

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.  Amen

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


God our redeemer, who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary

to be the mother of your Son: grant that, 

as she looked for his coming as our saviour,

so we may be ready to greet him when he comes again as our judge;

who is alive and reigns with you,in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

FIRST READING – Micah 5.2-5a

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.

And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.

HYMN O come, O come, Emmanuel NEH 11 – Veni Emmanuel

1. O COME, O come, Emmanuel!

Redeem thy captive Israel,

That into exile drear is gone

Far from the face of God’s dear Son.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

2. O come, thou Wisdom from on high!

Who madest all in earth and sky,

Creating man from dust and clay:

To us reveal salvation’s way.

3. O come, O come, Adonai,

Who in thy glorious majesty

From Sinai’s mountain, clothed with awe,

Gavest thy folk the ancient law.

4. O come, thou Root of Jesse! draw

The quarry from the lion’s claw;

From those dread caverns of the grave,

From nether hell, thy people save.

5. O come, thou Lord of David’s Key!

The royal door fling wide and free;

Safeguard for us the heavenward road,

And bar the way to death’s abode.

6. O come, O come, thou Dayspring bright!

Pour on our souls thy healing light;

Dispel the long night’s lingering gloom,

And pierce the shadows of the tomb.

7. O come, Desire of nations! show

Thy kingly reign on earth below;

Thou Corner-stone, uniting all,

Restore the ruin of our fall.

GOSPEL – Luke 1.39-45[46-55]

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

And Mary said,“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 

for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. 

Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 

for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 

His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 

He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 

he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 

He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 

according to the promise he made to our ancestors, 

to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”


Today’s Gospel reading told of Mary’s visit to her relation Elizabeth. The leap of John in utero both confirms Gabriel’s announcements and sets us up for John’s future role. Two extraordinary women, two extraordinary pregnancies – Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s greeting is the passage we now know as the Magnificat. An opportunity for Luke to declare his gospel manifesto in a song that praises God and redresses the imbalance in the world – bringing down the mighty and raising up the lowly. A message entirely in tune with the teaching of Jesus, of course. A message rather too often absent from our Christmas festivities. 

Mary’s song was inspired by the song of Hannah, the mother of the great prophet, Samuel (1Sam 2.4ff). They are both radical evocations of what might be called Yahweh the great equaliser and leveller. They are both part of the great hunger for social justice that is threaded through the pages of the Bible. A justice that is an inevitable foundation of what Jesus called The Kingdom of God, or the Rule of God. 

It is appropriate to hear this song of Mary on her day in the Advent cycle; and to close Advent, the season of the coming Kingdom, with this resounding statement of its values. However, unlike Hannah, Micah and many of the Hebrew prophets, we don’t have an expectation that God will follow the pattern of Rome and bring peace at the point of a sword. The Kingdom Jesus proclaims depends upon the moving of people’s hearts and minds, not their submission by force of arms. It calls on us to see the bias of God, a bias we have largely ignored, but which has inspired the greatest and most selfless of actions. And it is not about feeling guilty, it’s about action – guilt never fed or clothed or housed anyone. No more than words did.

Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried; he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles: this we have received,
and this we believe. Amen.
1 Corinthians 15.3-7

HYMN Tell out my soul NEH 186 – Woodlands

1. Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord!

Unnumbered blessings give my spirit voice;

Tender to me the promise of His Word;

In God my Saviour shall my heart rejoice.

2. Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His name!

Make known His might, the deeds His arm has done;

His mercy sure, from age to age the same;

His holy Name, the Lord, the mighty One.

3. Tell out, my soul, the greatness of His might!

Powers and dominions lay their glory by;

Proud hearts and stubborn wills are put to flight;

The hungry fed, the humble lifted high.

4. Tell out, my soul, the glories of His Word!

Firm is His promise, and His mercy sure.

Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord

To children’s children and forevermore!.


Heavenly Father, as Christmas gets ever closer, and we get ever busier, help us to find time for quiet thought and prayer, that we may reflect upon the wonder of your love and allow the story of the Saviour’s birth to fill our hearts and minds. May our joy be deeper, our worship more real and our lives worthier of all that you have done for us through the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

We pray for our Benefice. We pray for William, Warwick, Keith and all who work within our church community, in particular all those who have kept our church safe during the different stages of the pandemic. 

We pray for the schools in our Benefice, for the staff, children and governors, as they face the continual challenges from Covid. Grant that all who come into our church this Christmas may be inspired to renew their relationship with you. Help us to be glad of your presence and to rejoice in the coming of your Son.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

Lord we pray for those for whom Christmas will be especially hard this year after the challenges and consequences of this past year; those who have lost family or friends, homes or employment, health and well-being; for those who feel life as they have previously known it is slipping away with uncertainty and insecurity. Give grace to all of us, our families and friends, and to our neighbours that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us.

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

In this Christmas period, let us pray for those who are in hospital and those who are housebound, including their families and carers, especially in these Covid times. Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind and spirit, give them courage and hope in their troubles; and bring them the joy of your salvation. We pray for those known to us who are in special need at this time, remembering those on our benefice prayer list….

Lord in your mercy hear our prayer.

We pray for all those who have lost their lives in recent weeks and we commend them to your safekeeping. We remember the family and friends who have lost loved ones recently and we ask that your presence brings them comfort, strength and hope in their grief.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

Christ the Sun of righteousness shine upon you, scatter the darkness from your path,

and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory. And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always.  Amen

HYMN  Lo! he comes with clouds descending NEH 9 – Helmsely

1 LO! he comes with clouds descending,

Once for favoured sinners slain;

Thousand thousand saints attending

Swell the triumph of his train:


God appears, on earth to reign.

2 Every eye shall now behold him

Robed in dreadful majesty;

Those who set at nought and sold him,

Pierced and nailed him to the tree,

Deeply wailing

Shall the true Messiah see.

3 Those dear tokens of his passion

Still his dazzling body bears,

Cause of endless exultation

To his ransomed worshippers:

With what rapture

Gaze we on those glorious scars!

4 Yea, Amen! let all adore thee,

High on thine eternal throne;

Saviour, take the power and glory:

Claim the kingdom for thine own:

O come quickly!

Alleluya! Come, Lord, come!

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