A Celtic Liturgy for Week 2 of Advent by John Birch

Christmas candles photo by Christine Sine

Christmas candles photo by Christine Sine

Today’s liturgy is written by John Birch for the second week of Advent. Read more of his Celtic Advent liturgies here. 

Responses are in bold print

Symbol: An outside lantern with small candle

The lantern is lit

(A few moments of silence)

‘Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.’

(John 1:3-5)

In the beginning, Lord
I was alone
Like the earth
before your Spirit moved over the waters.
I was formless and empty
and darkness filled the depths of my heart.
Then, it was as if you declared
‘Let there be Light’
and out of the darkness
I began to see hope
like a shimmering ray of love
breaking through the parting clouds
at the conclusion of the night.
In the beginning, Lord I was alone
but when I saw you in the light I was no longer afraid.
You held out your hand
and though I had a choice
I had no choice
because to refuse
was to embrace again the darkness.
In the beginning, Lord I was alone
now I am again a part
of your creation
loved, wanted, needed, family.
In the light of your presence
I hold out my heart that others
might glimpse through it your reflection
and be drawn from the darkness that I once embraced
into the light of your sunrise
the brightness of your face

Lord Jesus, Son of God, Saviour of the world
All: Be the centre of all that we are, and the life that we lead

Lord Jesus, Light in this dark World, illuminate our hearts and minds
All: Be the centre of all that we are, and the life that we lead

(A space for music to be played or sung – a Taizé chant would be most appropriate)

‘There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.’

(John 1:6-9)

(A moment of silence - During the silence, you may like to read and reflect on the words that have been read, gaze at the lantern – or simply enjoy the peace and calm )

In the lonely places
The wilderness
Where we stand forlorn
Windswept and alone
Your voice calls out
Prepare a way for the Lord

In the dark places
The shadows
Where we hide our fears
Embrace our tears
Your voice calls out
Prepare a way for the Lord

For the desert places in which we walk
The streets we roam
The paths we cross
Guide our feet
Take us to places
Where you would go
Give us words that you would use
That in this Advent season
Of promise and preparation
We might point the way with John the Baptist
To the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

O come, Thou Day-spring, from on high,
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come again and with us ever dwell

(Scripture reading - possibly the Gospel reading for the day)

(A space for music to be played or sung)

(Intercessions - A circle prayer)

Circle us, Lord
Circle us with the light of your presence, bright within this dark word
Enable us to be overcomers of fear and temptation
Enable us to be victors over sin and despair
Enable us to become that which you would desire
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle us with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle our family within the shelter of your outstretched arms
Protect them in each moment of their daily lives
Protect them in the decisions that they face
Protect their homes and relationships
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle our families with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this nation with Advent love and hope
Create a desire to listen to the Advent message
Create a willingness to understand and respond
Create a need to reach out to the Christ Child
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle our nation with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this world with the joy of your Salvation
Where there is sickness and disease bring healing
Where there is hunger and despair bring hope
Where there is torture and oppression bring release
(Silent prayer)
Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation
Circle this world with the light of your presence

Lord, thou hast given us thy Word for a light to shine upon our path;
grant us so to meditate on that Word, and to follow its teaching,
that we may find in it the light that shines more and more until the perfect day; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

(Jerome, c 342 – 420)
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