At our ‘Lessons and Carols’ yesterday we sang just 4 verses of ‘O come o come Emmanuel’. As a hymn this is one of the pillars of Advent hymnody.
We are used, in the spring to having ‘Lent – Holy Week – Easter’ where Holy Week is exactly that; a heightened spiritual time drawing to an end the long weeks of Lent and launching us into the Celebration of Easter.
Many people do not realise that ‘Advent – Christmas –Epiphany’ also has a Holy Week. It plays the same role and thus comes in the last days of Advent leading us into Christmas. So the dates are 17.12. to 23.12. inclusive.
Put those two together and you have something stunningly beautiful, but sadly almost unknown.
In practice – a daily 15 minute service/ worship time, best done in the evening with lots of candles and background classical music composed for just this time of year (spoilt for choice esp in Germany).
The worship then centres around these Antiphons. Which are essentially names given to Jesus.
Here are a few of the better know ones:
Emmanuel (which we know from scripture to mean ‘God with/ among us’)
Key of David
Lord of Might
But let’s have the Latin too and the way Common Worship uses them – why not
17.12. O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
18.12. O Adonai ( O Lord / leader)
19.12. O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
20.12. O Clavis David (O key of David)
21.12. O Oriens (O Morning Star)
22.12. O Rex Gentrum (O King of the nations)
23.12. O Emmanuel
If this Musings generates enough interest I will put something together for next year. Mail email@example.com or speak to Kara if you’d like to know more.
- Friday 20th December – Lichter der Leonhardsvorstadt – an ecumenical walk with prayers and singing around the local area in which our church is – meet at Anglican Centre 16.30 (official finish is 19.00 but leave when you need to). In German with some English at the beginning.
- Sunday 22nd December – 11:15 – Advent IV – Church Family Eucharist – the children will be in church with us for the whole service –
- *Tuesday 24th December – 14:00 – Crib Service with blessing of crib – everyone young and old is invited to dress up as something from the Christmas story – the theme is stars so glitter especially welcome (and who knows whether Harry Potter, Batman or the odd penguin may have turned up to worship at
- *Tuesday 24th December – 20:00 – Christmas Eve Eucharist – with candles, carols and organ
- *Wednesday 25th December – 10:00 – Christmas Day Family Eucharist
- Sunday 29th December – 11:15 Christmas 1 – Bilingual Eucharist held jointly with the Old Catholics
* I will be ‘blessing’ the crib and therefore there will be some incense but fairly low key
Now the ‘Lessons and Carols’ service is sadly behind us for this year:
– there are important Thank Yous to be made –
- Welcome/Front of House team – Roger, Bernd, Alison, Kingstone, Frances, Susanna, Jackie, Ben
- Hospitality team: Darren, Rainer, Christopher, Gudrun, Edeltraude
- Music: Mitch, our guest organist, plus Philippa on horn and the scratch choir – Anja, Laura, Bekka, Sula, Jason, Hartmut, Colin, Eric, Thomas, Wolfgang, Leslie
- Readers: Andrew, Julie, Julie, Howard, Christopher, Lauris, Jan, Jason,
and ongoing ways of ‘serving’ / ‘worshipping’:
• pray for the projects we will be supporting this year – which you can still do even if you are away on your travels already or don’t live in Stuttgart but have a link with St. Catherine’s
• support the ‘giving’ this year – which you can also still do from afar by bank transfer Please clearly mark your donation “Christmas giving”.
A reminder of the projects
1) CAFÉ- STRICH- PUNKT
This association seeks to support young people in particular difficulties, often in very practical ways. This requires funding and also those able and willing to do voluntary work. The support can be online or in real time. The need can be as immediate as being homeless, or as long term as relationship-based support e.g. bridge building back into families. There is street work and consultation, drop-in and medical help and advice, plus more than can be listed. This is very local work that, we as good neighbours, have supported for a long time. http://www.verein-jugendliche.de/home/
Alongside the local support, we support at least one project that is global. At the Gospel Concert this year we helped raise 1600€ towards the building of a well in rural Yemen. Tonight we turn our focus towards the Internal Province of West Africa. The work is ‘managed’ under the Anglican Umbrella of the six dioceses in that region, in partnership with the Mission Organisation USPG which has a long standing history there. This approach combines resources and expertise in the local context, with the transparency of established, world-wide organisations.
Three countries in this region were hit by Ebola – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone. Though the pandemic has waned, there is work to be done, not only in follow up, but also in anticipation and preparation, should Ebola return. Churches are key agents in rebuilding health facilities such as hospitals and clinics, with training of new staff and the provision of medicines and salaries for staff. Beyond such basics there are countless further areas of rebuilding infrastructure destroyed by Ebola – such as supporting those who are now vulnerable because they are orphans or widowed or have lost their livelihood and the means of financial independence. https://www.uspg.org.uk/worldwide/ipwa/
And once again:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in the land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.” Isaiah 9 v. 2