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Christmas Podcast Worship

Watchnight Service 2020

See out the old year and welcome the new year by listening or reading this Watchnight Service for 31 December 2020. To start 2021 with a blessing and joyous peal of church bells, press ‘Play’ at 10 minutes to midnight.

Be Still…

Be still, for the presence of the Lord,
the Holy One, is here;
come bow before him now
with reverence and fear:
in him no sin is found —
we stand on holy ground.
Be still, for the presence of the Lord,
the Holy One is here.

David Evans (b. 1957)

The Greeting

We meet in the presence of God
who knows our needs,
hears our cries,
feels our pain,
and heals our wounds.

Prayers of Penitence

The gospel calls us to turn away from sin
and be faithful to Christ.
As we offer ourselves to him in penitence and faith,
we renew our confidence and trust in his mercy.

In a dark and disfigured world
we have not held out the light of life:
Lord, have mercy.

In a hungry and despairing world
we have failed to share our bread:
Christ, have mercy.

In a cold and loveless world
we have kept the love of God to ourselves:
Lord, have mercy.

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.

The Collect

O God, by whose command
the order of time runs its course:
forgive our impatience, perfect our faith
and, while we wait for the fulfilment of your promises,
grant us to have a good hope because of your word;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

I heard the voice of Jesus…

I heard the voice of Jesus say,
‘I am this dark world’s light;
look unto me, thy morn shall rise,
and all thy day be bright’:
I looked to Jesus, and I found
in him my star, my sun;
and in that light of life I’ll walk
till travelling days are done.

Horatius N. Bonar (1808–1889)

Reading:
Ecclesiastes 3.1-13

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

What gain have the workers from their toil?

I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil.

This is the word of the Lord.

Prayers 

In the power of the Spirit, and in union with Christ, we pray to the Father.

You have called us into the family of those who are the children of God. May our love for our brothers and sisters be strengthened by your grace.

You have called us to be a temple where the Holy Spirit can dwell. Give us clean hands and pure hearts, so that our lives may reflect your holiness.

You have called us to be a light to the world, so that those in darkness come to you. May our lives shine as a witness to the saving grace you have given for all.

You have called us to be members of your body, so that when one suffers, all suffer together. We ask for your comfort and healing power to bring hope to those in distress.

You have called us to be the Bride, where you, Lord, are the Bridegroom. Prepare us for the wedding feast where we will be united with you for ever.

Jesus, Lord of the Church, hear our prayer and make us one in heart and mind to serve you with joy for ever.
Amen.

Let us pray with confidence as our Saviour has taught us

Our Father, who 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 trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

The ringing out of the old year

The bells of St Andrew’s Abbey Church, Sempringham

Jesus, Lord of time, hold us in your eternity.
Jesus, image of God, travel with us the life of faith.
Jesus, friend of sinners, heal the brokenness of our world.
Jesus, Lord of tomorrow, draw us into your future.
Amen.

May God the Father keep you in all your days.
May God the Son shield you in all your ways.
May God the Spirit bring you healing and peace.
May God the Holy Trinity drive all darkness from you
and pour upon you the blessing of his light and love:
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always.
Amen.

The ringing in of the new year

The bells of St Chad’s Church, Sempringham