First Sunday of Advent
Advent is the season of hope. The readings for Advent are intended to tear us out of our ruts, out of the usual pattern of our days, and out of the narrow confines of our history. They are meant to startle us, awaken us to almost infinite possibilities, and claim our souls and lives for the work of recreation, restoration and deep transformation. These readings about God’s dreams have been entrusted to us as the people of God, and we stake our lives on the fact that these dreams not only have begun to come true in the Incarnation, Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ but are coming true in our births, lives, deaths and resurrections in the community of God’s Spirit. The promises and works of God are made manifest and experienced now, in our lives and in our history. These readings tell not only of the past, where they began as small seeds of hope in a time of despair, but also of the future, where they will bear fruit in another age and generation. The entrance antiphon for Monday of the first week announces ‘Nations hear the message of the Lord, and make it known to the ends of the earth: Our Saviour is coming. Have no more fear.’”
The readings this Sunday urge us to be awake to the presence of the Lord in our lives and looking ahead to when he will come again. It is also a reminder to us here at the Cathedral of the urgency of being ready for the wonderful mixed bag of events that lead up to the Feast of Christmas which will demand all our energy and time each day for the next four weeks or so. As I am typing this newsletter the choir are busy rehearsing along the corridor for the Advent Sequence which is at 5.00pm this Sunday.
Meanwhile in Cathedral House the final version of the script for the children’s Advent Services is being printed out for the cast who will be taking part. The children’s services will take place next Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, with a dress rehearsal on Tuesday. The production has had to be scaled down somewhat this year in comparison to previous Cathedral extravaganzas – so we will not be hiring in the motorised ‘disability scooter camels’ for the Kings, but we have a ‘volunteer’ 6 week old baby called Brendan who will be playing the part of Jesus and Kizzy, the shepherd’s dog, is making a comeback (not big enough to frighten off even a fox she is camouflaged as a sheep!). The cast is made up of children from St Nicholas, St Edward’s and Runnymede as well as adults from the Cathedral community.
Wednesday 6th December is the Feast of St Nicholas, patron Saint of our neighbouring primary school and of the Crypt Chapel. There will be an extra morning Mass in the Crypt at 9.30am that day for the schoolchildren, staff and for any parents who wish to attend. There are three funeral Masses this week- they are on Monday at 12.15 with the Mass taking place in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and on Wednesday and Friday at St Vincent’s with both Masses taking place at 10am. We celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady on Friday and that evening BBC Radio Merseyside have their Annual Christmas Carol Service in the Cathedral starting at 7.30pm. This not only attracts a large congregation on the night but is recorded live so that it can be replayed to a larger audience on Christmas Day. The Car Boot makes a comeback on Saturday morning for a one off Christmas Special from 8am.
Canon Anthony O’Brien