Speak Lord: Service

The Sacrifice and altar of the Sacrament of the Sacrifice. St Dominic’s church, Haverstock Hill. (c) 2009, Allen Morris

 This is what Christ said, on coming into the world: ‘You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation, prepared a body for me. You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin; then I said, just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book, “God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.”’
Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will.

He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

2nd Reading for the 4th Sunday of Advent
Hebrews 10:5-10

God offers himself in love. The Son offers himself in obedience to the Father, even as he offers himself in love to those he seeks to make his brothers and sisters.

He does this that all in all might ever be pleasing to God.

  • How do you live love? For God? For neighbour?

Speak Lord: Communion

Visitation. Musee des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.

Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’

Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent
Luke 1:39-44

Mary brought the Lord to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth rejoiced.

The Lord comes to us too, through the agency of Mary – and is for us blessing and joy. Something, someone, for us to enjoy and something, someone, for us to share in our turn.

Almighty ever-living God,
as we see how the Nativity of your Son
according to the flesh draws near,
we pray that to us, your unworthy servants,
mercy may flow from your Word,
who chose to become flesh of the Virgin Mary
and establish among us his dwelling,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Roman Missal
Collect for 23rd December

Taste and See: Joy

Poster in church. Beziers, France. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.

There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.

Second Reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 4:4-7

Happy is as happy does.

Share your reason for joy…

Taste and See: Share the joy

Apostle. Musee des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. (c) 2108, Allen Morris

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst.
Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,
Israel, shout aloud!
Rejoice, exult with all your heart,
daughter of Jerusalem!
The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away.
The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear. 
When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem:
Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.
He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; 
he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.

First reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Zephaniah 3:14-18

Rejoice, for we have received good news.

We are missioned with good news, and we are surely faced by a world in need of the good news.

Celebrate and share your reason for rejoicing….

Taste and See: Live Love

John the Baptist. St Giles, Cheadle. (c) 2018, Allen Morris

When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’

A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’ As well as this, there were many other things he said to exhort the people and to announce the Good News to them.

Gospel for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Luke 3:10-18

Love others as you love yourself, says Jesus, no more, no less.

But how easy it is to prefer ourselves! John checks this and would have us turn to Christ whose love seeks to free us from such faults and failings – to know and to live the good news.

Speak Lord: our protector

Prophet, Emil Nolde. Collection of the Barber Institute,
Birmingham.(c) 2018, Allen Morris


The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst.

Shout for joy, daughter of Zion,
Israel, shout aloud!

Rejoice, exult with all your heart,
daughter of Jerusalem!

The Lord has repealed your sentence; he has driven your enemies away.

The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you have no more evil to fear. 

When that day comes, word will come to Jerusalem:
Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp.


The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.
He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; 
he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.


First reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Zephaniah 3:14-18

The Lord sets us free. He is our saviour.

  • How will you live your freedom?
  • How do you express your joy in his gifts to you?

Speak Lord: Our security..

Stained glass. Church of St Roche, Montpellier. (c) 2017, Allen Morris

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.

His ways are faithfulness and love
for those who keep his covenant and law.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
to them he reveals his covenant.

Psalm 24:4-5,8-9,10,14

During Advent 2019 our parish is using one of the Common Psalms provided for Advent in the Lectionary to encourage the singing of the psalm. So, during Advent, Living Eucharist will feature this psalm each week, rather than the one ‘proper’ to the Sunday. 

For us to be safely led by another invites a certain trust on our part.

If we are led by someone we do not trust, we will resist. And if they refuse to let us go our own way we run the risk of being hurt or abused.

The Lord is good and upright, faithful and loving. He deserves our trust: his concern is only for our well-being

  • What helps you trust in his goodness?
  • What challenges your ability to trust?
  • How might you help another to learn to trust in God?

Speak Lord: Our sure hope

Figure at prayer. Cathedral, Nantes. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.

There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.


Second Reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 4:4-7

On Gaudete Sunday we hear this reading from Paul that urges us to rejoice, to be happy in the Lord.

The Lord and his love are the ultimate reason for our confidence.

His prayer, our prayer, and the prayer of the whole Church, offers us reason for comfort and trust.

Taste and See: Compassion

St Paul. Rembrandt. National Gallery, London. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes; and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you.

My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best.

This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God 

2nd Reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 1:4-6,8-11

One of the precious teachings of the Church is that of the ‘Communion of Saints’.

We are all of us called to be saints. The vocation for all Christians, especially, it is an expression of the universal call to holiness. And sometimes we find it a struggle! 

It is comfort to know that it is not all about us and what we do. The Communion of Saints is a communion of love and care and encouragement for us. How many are praying for us, even if they do not know us by name!

Taste and See: Us glorified by God.

Cope for Order of the Holy Spirit. 19C France. In collection of the Hermitage, St Petersburg.
(c) 2015, Allen Morris


Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress, put on the beauty of the glory of God for ever, wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around you, put the diadem of the glory of the Eternal on your head: since God means to show your splendour to every nation under heaven, since the name God gives you for ever will be, ‘Peace through integrity, and honour through devotedness.’

Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east: see your sons reassembled from west and east at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them.

Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory.

For God has decreed the flattening of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills, the filling of the valleys to make the ground level so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God.

And the forests and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God; for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.


First reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Baruch 5:1-9

The Beloved of God is cherished and honoured by the Lord – and why? Not for her merit, but simply for the gratuity of God’s love.

This love is shared with us too – and for the same reason.

  • How do you flourish through the love of God?