Monday, 4 December 2017

Advent 2017


Advent is a time of quiet joy, and of hope and expectation. We celebrate God who shares our life with us, from the stable in Bethlehem to the Cross of Calvary. Christ is with us in word and sacrament, and with us each time we serve one another in a spirit of love, in the name of the Church. We prepare to celebrate once again the Birth in time, of the One who will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I hope you enjoy your Advent! It’s easy to get distracted in Advent. It’s too easy to let the busyness and the unnecessary commercialism be a substitute for what this time is really about. Enjoy the carols and the glitter by all means, but may there be a little time for sharing in the spiritual pilgrimage of the season. Some may wish to take the time to make a Confession, or to have a conversation about their spiritual life; I would be delighted to listen to you. You may wish to use one of these collects, opening prayers we use in the Parishes’ Liturgies, each day in your own prayers;

For Advent:


Almighty God,

give us grace to cast away the works of darkness

and to put on the armour of light,

now in the time of this mortal life,

in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;

that on the last day,

when he shall come again in his glorious majesty

to judge the living and the dead,

we may rise to the life immortal;

through him who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen



For the 12 days of Christmass:

Lord Jesus Christ,

your birth at Bethlehem

draws us to kneel in wonder at heaven touching earth:

accept our heartfelt praise

as we worship you,

our Saviour and our eternal God. Amen



Please pray that Christmass will be a true hope for humanity, and that the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will. Remember all families, may parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith. Thank You for all you do for the Life of God’s Church here in Elland, May the Lord bless you, and may you know the peace of the Christ-Child in your hearts, this Christmass-time.

May the Lord when he comes, find us watching and waiting, Amen.

Father David



On Advent Sunday we begin the Lectionary Year B, which is the Year of two Gospels. Principally our Gospel Readings over the next 12 months are taken from St Mark’s Gospel, but with some also from St John, (about whom more next month.)

John Mark was a Jew and, according to Paul's letter to the Colossians, was cousin to Barnabas. He accompanied Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey. Afterwards, he went to Cyprus with Barnabas and to Rome with first Paul and then Peter. Mark's gospel is generally regarded as the earliest and was most likely written whilst he was in Rome. It was probably based as much on Peter's preaching of the good news as on Mark's own memory. Mark's gospel has a sharpness and an immediacy about it and he does not spare the apostles in noting their weaknesses and lack of understanding that Jesus the Christ would suffer for the world's redemption. Sharing in the glory of the resurrection means sharing in the giving of self, both in body and spirit, even to death; sharing the gospel was, for all, in essence both excessively generous and ultimately sacrificial.


A Collect

Almighty God,
who enlightened your holy Church
through the inspired witness
   of your evangelist Saint Mark:
grant that we, being firmly grounded
   in the truth of the gospel,
may be faithful to its teaching both in word and deed;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Mark: A Sonnet by Malcom Guite, from ‘Sounding the Seasons’, Canterbury Press, 2012



A wing├Ęd lion, swift, immediate

Mark is the gospel of the sudden shift

From first to last, from grand to intimate,

From strength to weakness, and from debt to gift,

From a wide deserts haunted emptiness

To a close city’s fervid atmosphere,

From a voice crying in the wilderness

To angels in an empty sepulchre.

And Christ makes the most sudden shift of all;

From swift action as a strong Messiah

Casting the very demons back to hell

To slow pain, and death as a pariah.

We see our Saviour’s life and death unmade

And flee his tomb dumbfounded and afraid.