A Celtic Advent Liturgy for the Third Week of Advent by John Birch

by Christine Sine


This year I am featuring these beautiful Celtic liturgies by John Birch as my weekly Advent liturgies. The focus for this week is Obedience. Check out all John’s Celtic Advent liturgies here.

Responses are in bold print

Symbol: A candle and in front of it a stone (A rock is often used as a symbol for Christ. In the wilderness, Moses struck a rock and it poured forth water to refresh the people. A rock can also symbolize obedience to Christ. St. Peter, whose name means “rock,” is sometimes thus represented)

The candle is lit

‘You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. ‘

Luke 1:31-33

There were safer places
more comfortable places
palaces and wealthy places
Yet you chose a daughter of the soil
Who would have otherwise
lived a good and honest life
grown and harvested crops
cooked and washed and cared for others
and been forgotten
to be your temporary home
to be exalted for all time

My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed

When does an ordinary life
Become extraordinary
An mundane day
Become revolutionary
A moment in time
Change history?
When God enters in
Forgives sin
Allows us to
Begin again
When we repeat
Those words of Mary
‘May it be to me
As you say’

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

‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.’
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered.
“May it be to me as you have said.”

Luke 1:35-38

(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 )

Into the daily cycle of our lives
When all seems well
With us and with the world
When our yoke is easy
And the burden light
You break in
And scatter our complacency

Into the daily cycle of our lives
When we are comfortable
And at our ease
When the fire is lit
But eyes are closed
You break in
And challenge our dependency

You break into
Our daily prayers
Humble hearts
Lay souls bare
You break in
You break in

You break in
When defences are down
With an Angel’s shout
Or the quietest sound
You break in
You break in

And we change
And all things change
When you break in

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

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

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

(A space for a hymn or song to be sung/said)

(Intercessions – A circle prayer.
Imagine throwing a pebble into the centre of a pond, and the circles of ripples that move out from the centre.)

We pray firstly for those closest to us, our immediate family and closest friends – for their health, needs, joys and fears.
(Silent prayer)
God of creation, God of Salvation
Hear the prayers of our hearts

We pray for our extended family and friends who we might not see each week – for their love and concern, for their wellbeing.
(Silent prayer)
God of creation, God of Salvation
Hear the prayers of our hearts

As the ripples reach out toward the land we pray for those who we only have contact with annually or less – for a blessing this Advent-time
(Silent prayer)
God of creation, God of Salvation
Hear the prayers of our hearts

And as the ripples reach their furthest point we pray for this world and its people – for the needs of this week and the future.
(Silent prayer)
God of creation, God of Salvation
Who speaks to us through thunder and whisper
Who loves us as if there were but one of us to love
Hear the prayers of our hearts

May God the Father bless us;
may Christ take care of us;
the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life.
The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul,
both now and for ever, to the ages of ages.

(Æthelwold c 908-984)

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