Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Story: The Weaver of Bethlehem

This year's Christmas Story: The Weaver of Bethlehem.

Christmas worship podcast. Merry Christmas from all at Seal Church

 

Merry Christmas from all at Seal Church. I hope you have a blessed (and healthy) Christmas. 
The link to our Christmas worship podcast is below. There won't be a podcast tomorrow (Boxing Day), owing to the advanced state of exhaustion of the vicar (and the consequent lack of any functioning brain cells)... There will be a communion service in church at 10 am, but no 6.30 service.

However, if you would like some more Christmassy input from Seal Church, you can revisit last year's recorded Carol Service, or Crib Service, or listen to some of the Christmas stories I posted last year. You can also search out the Advent windows, which will be up until Dec 28 - ideal for a Boxing Day walk around the village!
I will be taking time off next week, and hope that you will all be able to take some time also to rest and celebrate. 
In the Christian calendar, Christmas begins today, and continues until Candlemas on Feb 2nd, so there is still plenty of time to ponder the wonderful news of Christ's birth, God with us in the child in the manger. 

Blessed art thou, O Christmas Christ,
that thy cradle was so low that shepherds,
poorest and simplest of earthly folk,
could yet kneel beside it,
and look level-eyed into the face of God.”
(Anon.)

 
with best wishes
Anne Le Bas


Online
Worship podcast       Order of service
You can also access this podcast by phoning 01732 928061
There will not be a podcast on Boxing Day. 


In the church building today - Christmas Day
10 am   All Age Holy Communion with a story in place of a sermon.

Boxing Day (Sunday Dec 26)

10 am   Holy Communion
NO evening service on Boxing Day

Friday, December 24, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 24

 

The Virgin and child with St Anne Anonymous Flemish 15th Century

Our Advent series finishes with a favourite painting of mine, picturing Mary cradling the sleeping Christ, with her own mother, (and my namesake!) St Anne, not mentioned in the Bible, but named in legends. She stands, or perhaps sits, on the low wall, above Mary. Anne’s right hand, although holding the book, also seems to hover over Mary’s head, blessing her. It’s a lovely, peaceful image, in which everyone appears to be in their own world, and yet perfectly connected to each other.








LINKS TO THE PICTURES

1.      https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/pentecost/f83b921d-2380-4dc9-8532-b3c597dab1e8

2.      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Frink.jpg

3.      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/52/Christ_Appearing_to_His_Mother_MET_DT2649.jpg

4.      https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/antonello-da-messina-christ-crucified

5.      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Krak%C3%B3w_Piet%C3%A0_of_Tub%C4%85dzin.jpg

6.      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yelin-bergpredigt-ca1912.jpg

7.      https://picryl.com/media/marriage-at-cana-from-bl-royal-2-b-vii-f-168v-d7b122

8.      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Finding_of_the_Saviour_in_the_Temple

9.      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lorenzo_Costa_004.jpg

10.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Annunciate_(Antonello_da_Messina,_Munich)#/media/File:Antonello_da_Messina_036.jpg

11.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cestello_Annunciation#/media/File:Botticelli,_annunciazione_di_cestello_02.jpg

12.    https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/annunciation-triptych-merode-altarpiece/2gH9uXVRR_p-vQ?hl=en

13.    https://www.carlbloch.org/Mary-And-Elizabeth.html

14.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visitation_(van_der_Weyden)#/media/File:Leipzig,_Museum_der_bildenden_K%C3%BCnste,_Rogier_van_der_Weyden,_Heimsuchung.JPG

15.    https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Luc-Olivier_Merson,_L%E2%80%99Arriv%C3%A9e_%C3%A0_B%C3%A9thl%C3%A9em.jpg

16.    https://artsandculture.google.com/asset/the-nativity-with-the-prophets-isaiah-and-ezekiel/VwFhxyyiHc20QA?hl=en

17.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adoration_of_the_Shepherds#/media/File:The_Adoration_of_the_Shepherds_-_Matthias_Stom_(Stomer)_-_Google_Cultural_Institute.jpg

18.    https://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=31195

19.    https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436101

20.    https://www.wikiart.org/en/rembrandt/presentation-in-the-temple-1628

21.    https://www.clevelandart.org/art/2010.154

22.    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Odigitriya_Smolenskaya_Dionisiy.jpg

23.    https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/workshop-of-dirk-bouts-the-virgin-and-child-with-saint-peter-and-saint-paul

24.    https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/the-virgin-and-child-with-st-anne-141556


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 23

 

The Virgin with St Peter and St Paul

Dirk Bouts c 1400-1475

There are thousands of portrayals of the Madonna and Child, but I have included this one because it also shows Seal’s Patron Saints, Peter and Paul. Paul, (right) whose sword stands behind him, offers Christ a carnation, a symbol of his crucifixion – they were supposed to have sprung from Mary’s tears. St Peter, whose keys are on the floor, peeping out from the bottom of his robe, holds a book, probably a prayer book, from which Mary is reading.

 




Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Have you spotted our Advent Windows?

Have you seen any of the Advent windows springing up around the village? I haven't been able to get hold of photos of all of them, but here are a selection. Maybe you can add some more. The full list of them is here (or on the church lychgate) https://sealpeterandpaul.blogspot.com/.../advent-windows...
There are a couple more to be unveiled, and the final "window" is the church crib, which you can drop in to see on Christmas Eve. Between 3 and 5 pm we are having a special "drop in" event, when you can see the crib, have a Christmas blessing from me if you like, add a prayer star to the Christmas tree and pick up a take home pack for families with craft materials and ideas. Everyone is welcome.















Picturing Mary: Day 22

 

Theotokos of Smolensk (c. 1500) “Hodgeteria” type icon.

Icons of Mary classically fall into a number of distinct types. Yesterday we saw a “Virgin of Tenderness”. Today’s is called the “hodgeteria”, from the Greek word meaning “she who points the way. Mary points to Jesus, who sits as if enthroned on her arm.







Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 21

 

Virgin Eleusa  c. 1425–50   Angelos Akotantos

Icons of this type, showing Mary cheek to cheek with her child are called Virgin Eleusa, or the Virgin of tenderness. It emphasizes the love between Jesus and Mary, love which is shared with the world.





Monday, December 20, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 20

 

The Presentation in the Temple, Rembrandt 1606-1669

When Jesus was 40 days old, Mary and Joseph brought him to the Temple, as religious custom demanded. There he was recognised by Simeon and Anna, who acclaimed him as the Messiah, the one who would be a “light to enlighten the Gentiles”. In this portrayal by Rembrandt, the light is important, shining on the child, but also, in some sense, from the child.







 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Worship podcast and other news: Dec 19

 

Join us for worship online, on the phone or in the building today. 

with best wishes
Anne Le Bas


Online
Worship podcast       Order of service
You can also access this podcast by phoning 01732 928061
There will be podcast worship for Christmas Day, but no podcast on Boxing Day. 


In the church building today - Dec 19
10 am   Holy Communion
3.30pm Carol service, beginning with congregational carols outside the church, then moving inside with the crib figures for some music from the choir and a congregational carol to end.


During the week
Monday             11.15 Funeral: Debra Bull

Wednesday            10am Zoom Church
                                 7.15 pm Adult Choir


Friday              9.30 am Morning Prayer in Church 
                           10.30-12.30 Friday Group in the church hall

In the church building (all plans subject to last minute change if necessary)
Christmas Eve

3-5pm - Drop in to church to see the crib, receive a prayer of blessing from the vicar if you would like, add a prayer star to the Christmas tree and take home some family craft activities. 

9pm - The First Holy Communion of Christmas (no Midnight Mass this year). Carols from the choir from 8.30pm


Christmas Day
10 am  - All Age Communion for Christmas Day with a story in place of a sermon 

Boxing Day (Sunday Dec 26)

10 am   Holy Communion
NO evening service on Boxing Day

Advent 4

Today's Gospel reading includes Mary's famous song, commonly known as the Magnificat, which is said or sung at every service of Evening Prayer. It is a radical proclamation of God's priorities, in which the poor are lifted up and the mighty put down from their thrones. Today's sermon explores a little more what it might have been like to proclaim such a thing in the first century.

The photo above was taken by me, in Sepphoris, 4 miles from Nazareth, which you can see on the hillside in the distance.

 
ALL AGE IDEA

  • What do you think of when you hear the word "Justice"? Have you ever had to stand up for something that was right when others were doing wrong? What did it feel like. 
  • What do you think it would have been like to be Mary? Draw a picture of her the way you imagine her. You might like to have a look at the pictures of her I have been sharing on our church blog. https://sealpeterandpaul.blogspot.com/search/label/Picturing%20Mary
Today's Gospel story retold.
STORY OF THE WEEK  
 
Luke 2. 41-52
 
This Advent we are concentrating on stories featuring Mary.The final story in our series featuring Mary is that of her visit with Joseph and Jesus to the Temple when Jesus was twelve years old. At that age, Jewish males were deemed to be old enough to take on adult responsibility for keeping the religious law. Jesus was, in some sense, grown up. As every  parent will know, however, that doesn't stop you worrying when they go missing. In Luke's Gospel this is the first time we hear Jesus speak, and his message is clear. He isn't just their son, but the Son of God, with loyalties which will go beyond his family. 
  • Who do you empathise most with in this story? 
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS
Please note: we have decided to stop serving refreshments after church for the time being.

Today at 3.30pm     CAROL SERVICE - Please note the earlier time than our usual carol service!
Starting outside the church with some congregational carols, then coming inside for music from the choir and a final carol.  There will be a few folding chairs available in the churchyard for those who can't stand for long, but please come prepared for rain, as we will sing outside whatever the weather!
 
CHRISTMAS EVE
  • 3-5PM CRIB EVENT. Drop in between 3 & 5pm to see the crib, add a prayer to the tree and pick up a family Christmas activity bag.
  • 9pm  HOLY COMMUNION Note the time! The first Communion of Christmas, with carols and music from the choir. This replaces the Midnight service.
CHRISTMAS DAY
  • 10 am HOLY COMMUNION An All Age communion service with a story in place of a sermon.
All arrangements provisional depending on government advice.  Facemasks required in church unless exempt.
 

  
RECRUITING We shall need a new Treasurer VERY SOON and a new churchwarden next year. Can you help? Role descriptions for these jobs are on the board at the back of church, and I will be happy to chat with you if you think these roles might be for you.  
ADVENT WINDOWS Each day from Dec 1 a new Advent Window is being revealed somewhere around the village. The list of windows is available on the church lychgate or on the blog .  Each window has a letter in it. If you can find them all, and unscramble them, you will find that they spell out a Christmas Carol. 


For more community news from Marion Gilchrist, check out the Know Your Neighbours blog. https://knowyourneighbours.blogspot.com/
Would you like us to pray for you?
Email your prayer requests to:
sealchurchprayer@gmail.com
Your email will be read by Anne Le Bas and Kevin Bright, the Vicar and Reader of Seal Church who will hold you in their prayers. Please tell us if you would like us to contact you.

Picturing Mary: Day 19

 The rest on the flight into Egypt: Gerard David 1460-1523

This picture, inspired by the story in Matthew’s Gospel of the Holy Family’s journey to Egypt, where they took refuge from Herod’s murderous hatred. Ancient legends said that a date palm on the way, whose fruit was too high to pick, bent down so the family could feed. In this story, the date tree is replaced by a chestnut, whose fruit Joseph is trying to reach.  







Saturday, December 18, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 18

 

The Adoration of the Magi. 1490-1500, Book of Hours Central France

Mary holds Jesus as the magi, pictured as medieval kings, present their gifts. Joseph stands in the stable and Mary sits behind a woven fence, possibly a symbol of her virginity, alluding to a verse from the Song of Solomon, “a garden enclosed is my sister, my bride”

The adoration of the Magi was a popular subject, a chance to paint some colour and bling, but this portrayal emphasises the simplicity of the moment.




Friday, December 17, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 17

 The adoration of the shepherds, Matthias Stom: c. 1600 – after 1652


In this simple picture, the shepherds gather round to marvel at the infant Christ who glows with light. He, the Light of the World, is the only illumination in the scene. The Bible says nothing of this, of course – the “glow in the dark” baby comes from a vision which the 14th century mystic St Bridget of Sweden had, and wrote down. Her vision became very popular across Europe and often influences paintings of the nativity. In this scene, Mary, in red, with a blue cloak, joins in the moment of wonder.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Outdoor/Indoor Carol Service : Sunday Dec 19th at 3.30pm

 We're working hard to find ways of celebrating Christmas safely at Seal, so we have taken care to make this year's Carol Service as safe as we can. It will be an Outdoor/Indoor Carol Service, beginning with four congregational carols in the churchyard, then processing into church with our crib figures, to be put into the crib at the front of church as we sing Away in a Manger. We will then hear some pieces from the choir, have some prayers, a Bible reading and blessing and a final carol for us all to sing. Facemasks must be worn when in the church building unless you are exempt. There will be plenty of ventilation in church and, although we won't be able to ensure social distancing, everyone will be encouraged to spread out. Do come and join us if you are able to.

The service sheet for the Carol service will be available on the day, but if you would like to see it in advance, or bring your own with you, you can view or download it here.

I will also be re-releasing last year's online Carol service, if you would prefer to watch that at home.



Picturing Mary: Day 16

 Nativity by Duccio 1308 - 1311

 


Duccio’s crowded nativity – originally part of an altarpiece in Siena Cathedral – features Mary and Jesus, centre stage, with Joseph (left), shepherds (right) and angels crowd around. At the bottom, Jesus is being bathed by some women attendants, not mentioned in the Bible, but something that every medieval mother would have recognised. 



Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 15

 The Arrival in Bethlehem: Luc Olivier Merson 1846-1920

In Merson’s painting, Joseph tries to persuade an inhabitant of Bethlehem to give shelter to his pregnant wife. Mary has collapsed onto her knees, unable to go any further. The emptiness of the street and the locked up houses emphasize their plight. Will anyone find a space for them? 




Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 14


 The Visitation: Rogier van der Weyden 1400-1464

Rogier van der Weyden’s depiction of the Visitation, shows Mary and Elizabeth touching each other’s pregnant bellies, as if acknowledging the miracle that has happened, and the preciousness of each of their children. 



Monday, December 13, 2021

Picturing Mary: Day 13

 

Mary and Elizabeth: by Carl Heinrich Bloch 1834-1890


When Mary discovered she was pregnant, though not yet married to Joseph, she went to stay with her cousin Elizabeth, a much older woman who had never had children, but who had also miraculously conceived, when she should have been past child-bearing age. Her child would grow up to be John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus. Mary took refuge with her, away from the gossip of Nazareth. Here, Bloch paints the joyful welcome she received from Elizabeth.




Sunday, December 12, 2021

Sunday Worship podcast and other news

 

Join us for worship online, on the phone or in the building today. 

with best wishes
Anne Le Bas


Online
Worship podcast       Order of service
You can also access this podcast by phoning 01732 928061


In the church building today - Dec 12
10 am   Christingle (no communion) - please note that the church will be more crowded than usual.
2pm      Baptism
6.30pm Breathing Space Holy Communion


During the week
Wednesday            10.30 am Lavender Fields Communion (sorry no outside visitors at the moment)
                                 7.15 pm Adult Choir


Friday              9.30 am Morning Prayer in Church 
                           10.30-12.30 Friday Group in the church hall

In the church building next Sunday - Dec 19

10 am   Holy Communion
3.30pm Carol service - starting outside - for details see below.


Advent 3

Today is Gaudete Sunday.John the Baptist, stands with one foot in the water, ready to baptise people in a stained glass picture by Tiffany.
It is so called because traditionally, Philippians 4.4-7 is read on this day, which starts with the word "Rejoice", which in Latin is Gaudete.
Today is also the day when we light the pink candle in our Advent Wreath, because on this Sunday the Advent fast was traditionally relaxed a little, as Christmas neared.
Today's sermon explores this theme of rejoicing, and what it might mean for us, especially when we feel there is little to rejoice about.


 
ALL AGE IDEA

  • Write the word "Rejoice" in large letters on a piece of paper, and decorate it with all the things that you find joy in.
  • Think of something you can do which might bring joy to someone else today. 
Today's Gospel story retold.
STORY OF THE WEEK  
 
Luke 2. 22-40
 
This Advent we are concentrating on stories featuring Mary. Forty days after Jesus’ birth, his parents took him to the Temple to make the sacrifice the law required. While there, Simeon and Anna, prompted by the Spirit, realised that this was the Messiah they had waited for.
  • Are there times when you have suddenly realised that you really needed to pay attention, because something important was happening?  
CHURCH AND COMMUNITY NEWS
 
Dec  19th at 3.30pm     CAROL SERVICE - Please note the earlier time than our usual carol service!
Starting outside the church with some congregational carols, then coming inside for music from the choir and a final carol.  There will be a few folding chairs available in the churchyard for those who can't stand for long, but please come prepared for rain, as we will sing outside whatever the weather!
 
CHRISTMAS EVE
  • 3-5PM CRIB EVENT. Drop in between 3 & 5pm to see the crib, add a prayer to the tree and pick up a family Christmas activity bag.
  • 9pm  HOLY COMMUNION Note the time! The first Communion of Christmas, with carols and music from the choir. This replaces the Midnight service.
CHRISTMAS DAY
  • 10 am HOLY COMMUNION An All Age communion service with a story in place of a sermon.
All arrangements provisional depending on government advice.  Facemasks required in church unless exempt.
 

  
RECRUITING We shall need a new Treasurer VERY SOON and a new churchwarden next year. Can you help? Role descriptions for these jobs are on the board at the back of church, and I will be happy to chat with you if you think these roles might be for you.  
ADVENT WINDOWS Each day from Dec 1 a new Advent Window is being revealed somewhere around the village. The list of windows is available on the church lychgate or on the blog here.  Each window has a letter in it. If you can find them all, and unscramble them, you will find that they spell out a Christmas Carol. 


For more community news from Marion Gilchrist, check out the Know Your Neighbours blog. https://knowyourneighbours.blogspot.com/
Would you like us to pray for you?
Email your prayer requests to:
sealchurchprayer@gmail.com
Your email will be read by Anne Le Bas and Kevin Bright, the Vicar and Reader of Seal Church who will hold you in their prayers. Please tell us if you would like us to contact you.