The Eternal Now

Sunday 13th Dec 2020: The Eternal Now

Image Credit: Dragonfly by Shanthanu Bhardwaj licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.



Posted by St Paul’s Church Woking on Sunday, 13 December 2020

Words for the Service

All: Lord Jesus, light of the world, John told the people to prepare, for you were very near.

As Christmas grows closer day by day,help us to be ready to welcome you now.


All: Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Song: Hills of the North, rejoice

Charles Edward Oakley (1832 – 65)

Hills of the North, rejoice,

Echoing songs arise,

Hail with united voice

Him who made earth and skies;


He comes in righteousness and love,

He brings salvation from above.

Isles of the Southern seas,

Sing to the listening earth,

Carry on every breeze

Hope of a world’s new birth:


In Christ shall all be made a new,

His word is sure, his promise true.

Lands of the East, arise,

He is your brightest morn,

Greet him with joyous eyes,

Praise shall his path adorn:


The God whom you have longed to know

In Christ draws near, and calls you now.

Shores of the utmost West,

Lands of the setting sun,

Welcome the heavenly guest

In whom the dawn has come:


He brings a never-ending light

Who triumphed o’er

our darkest night

Shout, as you journey on,

Songs be in every mouth,

Lo, from the North they come,

From East and West and South:


In Jesus all shall find their rest,

In him the sons of earth be blest..


Come, Holy Spirit of God,

All: and search our hearts with the light of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. 

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’

There is no other commandment greater than these.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

All: Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

All: Lord our God, in our sin we have avoided your call.

Our love for you is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early.

Have mercy on us; deliver us from judgement; bind up our wounds and revive us;in Jesus Christ our Lord.



May the Father of all mercies cleanse you from your sins and restore you in his image to the praise and glory of his name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

All: Amen

Collect: Advent 3

All: God for whom we watch and wait, you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son:

give us courage to speak the truth, to hunger for justice, and to suffer for the cause of right, with Jesus Christ our Lord.


The Creed

Let us declare our faith in God.

All: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body,  and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Peace

God will speak peace to his people, to those who turn to him in their hearts.

The peace of the Lord be always with you.

All: And also with you.

Let us offer one another a sign of peace.

Song: Christ be our Light

Bernadette Farrell (b. 1957)

Longing for light, we wait in darkness,

longing for truth, we turn to you.

Make us your own, your holy people,

light for the world to see.


Christ be our light!Shine in our hearts,

shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light!Shine

in your church, gathered today.


Longing for peace, our world is troubled;

longing for hope, many despair.

Your word alone has pow’r to save us;

make us your living voice.


Christ be our light!Shine in our hearts,

shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light!Shine

in your church, gathered today.


Longing for food, many are hungry;

longing for water, many still thirst.

Make us your bread, broken for others,

shared until all are fed.


Christ be our light!Shine in our hearts,

shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light!Shine

in your church, gathered today.


Longing for shelter, many are homeless;

longing for warmth, many are cold.

Make us your building, sheltering others,

walls made of living stone.


Christ be our light! Shine in our hearts

shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light! Shine

in your church, gathered today.


Many the gifts, many the people,

many the hearts that yearn to belong.

Let us be servants to one another

Making your kingdom come.


Christ be our light! Shine in our hearts,

shine through the darkness.

Christ be our light! Shine

in your church, gathered today.

Holy Communion

The Lord be with you

All:  And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

All:  We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

All:  It is right to give thanks and praise.

It is right to praise you, Father, Lord of all creation; in your love you made us for yourself. 

When we turned away you did not reject us, but came to meet us in your Son.

All:   You embraced us as your children and welcomed us to sit and eat with you.

In Christ you shared our lifethat we might live in him and he in us.

All:   He opened his arms of love upon the cross and made for all the perfect sacrifice for sin.

On the night he was betrayed, at supper with his friends he took bread, and gave you thanks; he broke it and gave it to them, saying:  

Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

All:   Father, we do this in remembrance of him: his body is the bread of life.

At the end of supper, taking the cup of wine, he gave you thanks, and said:

Drink this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins; do this in remembrance of me.

All:   Father, we do this in remembrance of him: his blood is shed for all.

As we proclaim his death and celebrate his rising in glory, send your Holy Spirit that this bread and this wine may be to us the body and blood of your dear Son.

All:   As we eat and drink these holy gifts make us one in Christ, our risen Lord.

With your whole Church throughout the world we offer you this sacrifice of praise and lift our voice to join the eternal song of heaven:

All:   Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, Heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread. 

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever,


We break this bread to share in the body of Christ.

All:  Though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.

God’s holy gifts for God’s holy people.

All:   Jesus Christ is holy, Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

All: We give you thanks,  O Lord, for these heavenly gifts; kindle in us the fire of your Spirit that when your Christ comes again we may shine as lights before his face; who is alive and reigns now and for ever.



The almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you and keep you. 

All: Amen.

We go into the world

All: To share God’s love and grow as God’s people. Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. 



Isaiah 61:1-4

1 The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2 to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

3 to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that he may be glorified.

4 And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

Isaiah 61:8-11

8 For I, Jehovah, love justice, I hate robbery with iniquity; and I will give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 And their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which Jehovah hath blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in Jehovah, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with a garland, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth bringeth forth its bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord Jehovah will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

John 1:6-8

6 There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.

7 The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him.

8 He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.

John 1:19-28

19 And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent unto him from Jerusalem priests and Levites to ask him, Who art thou?

20 And he confessed, and denied not; and he confessed, I am not the Christ.

21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered, No.

22 They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?

23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet.

24 And they had been sent from the Pharisees.

25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, neither Elijah, neither the prophet?

26 John answered them, saying, I baptize in water: in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not,

27 even he that cometh after me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose.

28 These things were done in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.