• Rossendale Circuit

Mary's Story - Sunday Service 20.12.20

Lead by Revd. David Burrow


Video Service


Thank you for watching our services this year, there won't be any more online services for a couple of weeks but there are plenty of other resources, past services and Christmas videos to enjoy in the meantime, Merry Christmas!


To watch the videos directly in youtube click here.


Part 1


Hymns & Songs:


MP 631 'Tell out my soul'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqwoqRo9N6E


Part 2


Hymns & Songs:


MP 597 'Silent night'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K22_lnVPhwo&t=78s


'When Love was born' - sung by Mark Schultz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKSU9Dbxvrw


Part 3


Hymns & Songs:


MP 491 'O come all ye faithful'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSDgapVwyD0


MP 503 'O little town of Bethlehem'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAU5Xg-o-eM


Have you seen our 'Story of Christmas Trees' video? Thank you to everyone who sent in photos!


Transcript

*Not always exact to the script


Mary’s story


On the Sunday before Christmas, we light the fourth candle.

This is the candle of Mary who said:


“My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Saviour, for he has remembered me, his lowly servant!


From now on all people will call me blessed, because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me!” (Luke 1:46-49)


In her life, Mary had some hard journeys to make; to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, to Egypt, where they had to go to escape Herod, and to the cross, where she watched her son die.


She couldn't have known how hard it would be, but she said 'yes' to God's call because it was a call to life.


All over the world, women still take on hardship because they want to create a life that is worth living for their children.


Light four candles


In the wasteland may the Glory shine.

Let us wake to Christ’s summons, urgent in our midst.

Let us wake to the truth that his power alone will last.

The worlds that now scorn him will vanish like a dream.

When Christ returns all will see his glory.


Prayer


Let us praise God for the events of the first Christmas: for His humble birth, the manger, and the humility of Mary and Joseph.

For the message of the angels: good news and great joy to all people, we praise your name, O Lord.

For the shepherds who came with haste, who saw the baby and glorified your name, we praise your name, O Lord.

For the wise men who rejoiced when they found Jesus and brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, we praise your name, O Lord.

And for the quiet serenity of Mary who kept all these things and pondered them in her heart we thank you and praise your name O Lord.

Forgive us, heavenly Father, for sometimes taking the story of your birth, and the gift of your love, for granted.

Forgive us, fill us with your Holy Spirit and help us, as we read the familiar stories again, to respond with love and gratitude and forever praise your name. Amen


Read: Luke 1:18-38 The angel Gabriel appears to Mary


MP 631 'Tell out my soul'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqwoqRo9N6E


Photo by Anuja Mary Tilj via Unsplash - (This is a statue in Germany.)


The story of Gabriel’s visit to Mary, as with all the nativity stories, is so familiar, that there is the danger of fully appreciating all that God was doing.

There are, at least, two important issues in Gabriel’s visit that we must not miss: God’s love & Mary’s choice.



Out of love God chose Mary. And that is wonderful and God in his love for Mary did not compel her but gave her the opportunity to respond freely.

Now, we know what she decided, so it’s easy to move quickly on in the story and not even wonder about all that might have gone through her mind as she decided what to do.


She could have said, “No” to Gabriel, and God would have had to search out another means to be born on earth. There is though, a danger in wondering too much. I have heard people ask, ‘Perhaps Mary wasn’t God’s first choice, maybe he asked someone else first and she turned him down?


Such wonderings I are think take us down the road to nowhere. To coin a phrase

But Mary certainly had to make a choice; say ‘No’ and then wonder what might have been, or answer ‘Yes’ and risk her life and future marriage to obey God.

W.H. Auden referring to Mary as a child and then Jesus as ‘the Child’ puts Mary’s choice this way in his poem ‘For the Time Being’:

. . . child it lies

Within your power of choosing to

Conceive the Child who chooses you.


Mary chose to say, “Yes”, without asking any of the men in her life! That in itself would have been a move away from cultural norms.

But I wonder, as she pondered her decision, and weighed her options, perhaps for that moment, as someone once wrote, all heaven held its breath?


And then she responded, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’


Where it would all lead?


The child was holy, the Son of the Most High, and one day would reign as a descendent of King David over an eternal kingdom. It must have been truly mind blowing. So, what would you do next? Tell your parents – perhaps not straight away.

Tell Joseph? Well, Mary obviously did this at some point, but the angel Gabriel had told Mary that her older relative Elizabeth was six months pregnant - also rather unexpectedly.


And so, like many new mothers before and since Mary left to share her good news with someone who would understand her situation.


Read: Luke 1:39-45 Mary visits Elizabeth


Elizabeth made Mary so wonderfully welcome. Filled with, and inspired by, the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth almost sang – perhaps she did. Elizabeth understood immediately what was going on. This was a key moment in Mary’s story and Luke draws our attention to it. Mary has a fundamental role in the story of the salvation of humanity. A new dawn is breaking, for Mary is blessed among women.

She had believed God’s promise to her and as Elizabeth said, Mary is “the mother of my Lord”. And don’t forget, Mary is the mother of my Lord and your Lord too!

Even baby John the Baptist leapt for joy in his mother’s womb!


And Mary’s response to all this was the song of praise which we call, ‘The Magnificat’.

It echoes the songs sung by women of old who had unexpectedly been promised motherhood, most memorably Hannah, the mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1-10)

Listen carefully to the words and note how things are different in God’s kingdom where it is not the strong who win, but those without power.


Read Luke 1:46-56 The Magnificat

This is a celebration of God’s love for Mary and Mary’s love for God. It is a celebration of how God honours and rewards the faith of the poor while the rich and the poor are ‘sent empty away.’ Wealth can be deceptive. Place your security in your wealth, in God’s gifts rather than God himself and your belief in your own self-sufficiency will lead you astray.


We can see how this works in India. In the caste system, the Dalit community (the former Untouchables) do the dirtiest of jobs. Regarded as unclean by many and at the bottom of society’s pile, it is in this community, more than any of the other castes that Christianity finds a people ready to embrace the hope of the Christian message; the hope that stands against the worldly interests that are stacked against them.

The Advent hope of which Mary speaks offers life to all, but so often it is the poor who are the ones who reach out to respond to God and seize it.


Mary’s song of triumph reminds us of her lowly life. But now things are different. She is one of God’s chosen people and has her place in history, throughout which all generations will call her blessed.

Even so, Mary recognises that she is part of a bigger plan; God’s plan, that humanity first became aware of in Abraham when God promised him that through him and his offspring all nations would be blessed.


God’s great rescue plan for the world was about to enter its final phase as Jesus was welcomed by and born of Mary. As we stand on the brink of Christmas, perhaps feeling overwhelmed by the year we have experienced and all the Christmas preparations, is it possible to pause for a moment and think about what God has done for you in Jesus?

And as you pause, let me encourage you to take the time to recognise that you too are chosen and blessed by God. This Christmas prepare your heart to find a room to welcome him, rest in his presence and celebrate his love.


Photo by Dan Kiefer via Unsplash


MP 597 'Silent night'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K22_lnVPhwo&t=78s


'When Love was born' - sung by Mark Schultz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKSU9Dbxvrw


Prayers of intercession


Prayers of Intercession:

Bidding: In our watching and in our acting

Response: Come, Lord Jesus


Lord of the poor and the outcast: we pray for all those around the world who are having to rely on food banks, hostels and the generosity of others in order to survive this Christmas. Empower those of us who are able, to reach out in action and service.

Bidding: In our watching and in our acting

Response: Come, Lord Jesus


Lord of Refuge and Shelter: we pray for those who are homeless or, as refugees, are fleeing from their homes: please protect and care for them and fill us with the compassion to act.

Bidding: In our watching and in our acting

Response: Come, Lord Jesus


Lord you are Unfailing and Endless.

We pray that you would be with those who find thoughts of the future worrying and fearful; comfort and help them find joy in the day-to-day. We pray for school children and university students who have been impacted by Covid’s uncertainties. Help them to find peace in you.

Bidding: In our watching and in our acting

Response: Come, Lord Jesus


Holy and Mighty Lord, we pray this Christmas that people would come to know you and the goodness and joy that you bring.

We pray that as the shepherds were in awe of Baby Jesus, that we too, would be in awe of your kingdom and your holiness.

Bidding: In our watching and in our acting

Response: Come, Lord Jesus


Lord, you are Eternal and Wise.

We pray for our government, national and local, navigating the troubles of this year with Covid, and so many other major issues; give them discernment and wisdom.

We thank you that ultimately you reign, and yours is the kingdom, now and forever.

Bidding: In our watching and in our acting

Response: Come, Lord Jesus

And we pray, that the love that Mary gave to her Son, might be the love that we give to the world. And in a moment of still ness bring your own prayers to God, for those you love and for yourself.

Bidding: In our watching and in our acting

Response: Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.


Lighting the Jesus Candle & John 1:1-14


Blessing:


May the blessing of God be with you.

The Son of God beside you.

The angels of God around you and the joy of God within you, this Christmas and always. Amen


I pray that you have a joyful Christmas and a peaceful New Year – and enjoy the carols that follow. God bless.


MP 491 'O come all ye faithful'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSDgapVwyD0


MP 503 'O little town of Bethlehem'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAU5Xg-o-eM

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