ORPHIR CHURCH Sunday 10 by forrests


									ORPHIR CHURCH Sunday: 10.45am

CH3 & Junior Praise

ORDER OF SERVICE Welcome & Intimations: Session clerk Call to Worship: Today, on this the fourth Sunday of Advent, we
remember the willingness of Mary to respond to God's call even though she did not understand why or how the promise would be fulfilled. As God's people today we need to be challenged by Mary's willingness and encouraged to trust as she did and offer ourselves to be part of God's story.

Opening Praise: 182 324 Angels from the realms of glory – Ask for the Offering to be taken to the Chancel First Prayer - God, who sent the Angel Gabriel to Mary

and called her to be the mother of his Son, made us bearers of his Word. As we wonder and wait. We look and hope. We listen and are listened to. We come, and are changed. God gives us a place within his story and without us the picture is not complete, God who gave us life and set the planets in their courses is waiting for us, patient and caring, excited and hopeful of the part we might play. God invites us to come. Let us worship using the words that he taught us Our Father which art in Heaven , Hallowed be thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory for ever Amen.

This is the 4th Sunday of advent - lasts till midnight on Christmas eve –Advent from Latin Adventus meaning arrival Advent is time of waiting for the arrival of Jesus To me arrival suggest there’s been a journey. Today we are going to think about several journeys. The first hymn we sang today began “Angels form the realms of glory wing your flight o’er all the earth” - coming to tell the world about the birth of Jesus This is not the first time the Angels appear in the Christmas story

Reading/s: Alfie - Luke 1 v 26 – 38 Message: Olivia – Mary reflection Praise 2 : JP 214 – See him lying on a bed of straw
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Message: James Shepherds- reflection
Luke 2:8-20 (New International Version)

Praise: 3 – Hymn 174 296– While Humble Shepherds watched their flocks Message: Elaine Magi – reflection Orphir children – to draw a Christmas picture ? The next journey I want to consider is
The Journey of the Magi

Not much in the bible about their actual journey only that they followed the star and asked King Herod where the one who was to be the king of the Jews was born. (Could you imagine shepherds asking a king? – would they have been listened to?) I have a poem that describes how their journey might have been – written by Thomas Stearnes Eliot
The Journey of the Magi
"A cold coming we had of it, Just the worst time of the year For a journey, and such a long journey: The was deep and the weather sharp, The very dead of winter." And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory, Lying down in the melting snow. There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet. Then the camel men cursing and grumbling And running away, and wanting their liquor and women, And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters, And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.: A hard time we had of it. At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches, With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly. Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation; With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,

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And three trees on the low sky, And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow. Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel, Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, And feet kicking the empty wine-skins. But there was no information, and so we continued And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory. All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down This set down This: were we lead all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly, We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death.

Just as the Shepherds had gone to see the baby, the magi too, had gone but their journey was longer and much harder for them. The magi came from wealthy, educated, privileged background. They were not Jewish so they would not have been awaiting a prophesy to be fulfilled yet they went on this long journey. In the first verse tells of the difficulties of the journey. Just the worst time of the year problems with the camels and the camel men. Unpleasantness cities hostile and the towns unfriendly And the villages dirty, and charging high prices. – census – lots of people travelling lots of excuses for turning back—

Think what they had left behind
summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, And the silken girls bringing sherbet

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But, the Magi redouble their efforts and press on travelling through the night, napping briefly and moving on. All the people telling them that this was madness That this was all folly.

Would we make such a journey to visit a baby today? But the poem is more than a description of what the journey may have been like – this is a poem with layers of meaning – Just as Jesus used parables which had meanings behind their simple story so does this poem. in particular the 2nd verse –
At one level the second verse describes how they have passed the initial difficulties and they come into the temperate valley - but here the poem is full of references to the bible and bible stories In Jeremiah, John and Revelations there are several references to God as “the spring of living water” Jesus is referred to as the Light of the world At the harvest


thanksgiving Kathryn explained about how light was essential for life and the first Sunday of advent the theme of the service was “children of light” we even sang the modern hymn “Shine Jesus Shine” – last week Graeme had a poster referring to Jesus as the Light of the world – Jesus is seen as the light banishing the darkness of sin At Easter we celebrate the death of Jesus because it is the precursor to his rising again -

These 3 ideas are compressed into 2 lines in the poem
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky, God as the living water (the stream) defeats the darkness because of the crucifixion of Jesus – the 3 trees hinting at the crosses on Calgary Other biblical references in this verse are vine-leaves over the lintel, - reminds us Jesus tells us he is the true vine John 15 v 1-8 dicing for pieces of silver, - hints at both the silver that Judas received for betraying Jesus and the soldiers at the foot of the cross dicing for Jesus’ robe.

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the empty wine-skins. Hints at the first miracle performed by Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Canna but also Jesus spoke

of coming to faith in him as putting new wine in new wineskins and here we see the Magi finding empty wineskins, there is no faith yet. The arrival of the Magi at Bethlehem was the end of one part of the journey – The last section - is the Magi looking back on the event years later – but
the magi are no longer at ease among their own people – something has changed for them. This verse made me think of the Chris Accabussi story Kathryn read to us a couple of weeks ago – The ants are busy scurrying about at the end of the garden and the gardener knows when he cuts the grass their home – therefore everything important to them - is to be destroyed. The gardener tells them every day what is to happen but they don’t understand and carry on. I wondered what would happen if some of the ants did begin to understand that something was wrong - something was going to change. All other ants carry on as normal – suddenly they don’t have anything in common with the other ants – To me the magi in the poem are like ants who understand that something is different –they may not understand what – but the magi are no longer at ease among their own people – something has changed for them. All their old certainties were shaken and they had to adjust to a new reality whilst all around are going on in the old ways. We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. The magi had begun a spiritual journey.

Their arrival at Bethlehem was the beginning of so many other journeys - their journey back to their homes – a by a different route to avoid Herod - Mary and Joseph’s journey to escape Herod – - and the journey of millions of people through the years since as they have tried to follow Jesus

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There is yet another way to look at the poem It is to see the first verse as representing a spiritual journey.  This part of the poem shows how a person encounters many obstacles to a true journey of faith.  The way is not easy and all along there are inducements to give up all together. Faith will not come easily and reaching conversion happens when we begin to ignore those voices that proclaim it all to be folly. The second verse opens at dawn,  literally the time when the light begins to shine  the time of enlightenment and conversion. We are brought into a place flowing with living water,  which beats back the darkness The second section of the poem represents to me enlightenment and conversion.

The third section explains the spiritual journey and the conversion led to changes. Their conversion was a death to their old life and they are no longer at ease carrying on in the same old way. Things have changed and so to for us if we wish to genuinely make the spiritual journey. Just as the end of the poem marks a new beginning.

Although not an easy poem it is one of my favourites  first because it make me look at a well know story in a different way and think much more about it –  but also every time I read it I see different things in it .

Praise 4: Hymn 170 303 It came upon a midnight Clear
The Wreath – layers of meaning –like the stories in the

bible and the poem
The circle, which has no beginning or end, reminds us of God's unending love for us as He offers us salvation. Usually decorated with evergreen leaves to symbolise everlasting life

The Candles
The four candles usually red each one represent one of the four Sundays

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of Advent Hope, Gods people Peace the old testament prophets, Love, John the Baptist, Joy, Mary – In the bible reading today we heard about Mary – the candle for today represents Mary

Praise 5: Sing advent song 4 verses
as James to light the candles one each verse

James - Christmas Prayer by Robert Louis Stevenson Loving Heavenly Father, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, that we may share in the song of angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May Christmas morning make us happy to be Thy children, and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. In Thy Name We Pray, Amen Praise: 306 Oh Come all you faithful Orphir - Call children up to show paintings – then Children sing Orphir Closing Benediction: May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, evermore, Amen (Sung Amen) May God’s blessing surround you each day

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