Sunday Service

The Sunday Service is livestreamed from the Abbey on Sunday from 9:30am. Click below to watch it live either on Youtube or Facebook.

If you are not watching this live, the service starts 5 minutes into the video.


FIRST READING (click to expand)

Ephesians 1:1-14

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit;this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

SECOND READING (click to expand)

Sirach 24:1-12
The Praise of Wisdom

Wisdom praises herself,
and tells of her glory in the midst of her people.
In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth,
and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory:
‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High,
and covered the earth like a mist.
I dwelt in the highest heavens,
and my throne was in a pillar of cloud.
Alone I compassed the vault of heaven
and traversed the depths of the abyss.
Over waves of the sea, over all the earth,
and over every people and nation I have held sway.
Among all these I sought a resting-place;
in whose territory should I abide?

‘Then the Creator of all things gave me a command,
and my Creator chose the place for my tent.
He said, “Make your dwelling in Jacob,
and in Israel receive your inheritance.”
Before the ages, in the beginning, he created me,
and for all the ages I shall not cease to be.
In the holy tent I ministered before him,
and so I was established in Zion.
Thus in the beloved city he gave me a resting-place,
and in Jerusalem was my domain.
I took root in an honoured people,
in the portion of the Lord, his heritage.

GOSPEL (click to expand)

The Gospel according to John

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.”’) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

Catherine's Reflection



And then came that day,
a specific moment in time,
when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
The pre-existent Word,
agent of all that ever was created,
unimaginable power and glory,
focussed as a sun’s ray centring through a magnifying glass,
channelled through a girl.

God chose just a girl,
at the time when a daughter’s birth brought sadness.
This girl was ready to listen,
to respond to the promptings of the Spirit.
A girl with an unopened womb,
ready to receive that wonder of creation,
Emmanuel, God with us.
For days and months unseen by human eyes,
yet forming in the image of God.
Known by God even before the moment of conception,
fragile and vulnerable,
yet pulsating with majesty beyond imagination.
And the time came for her to be delivered,
and she brought forth her first born son,
and laid him in a manger.
A manger, for one so great?
How could it be,
this meeting of magnificence and lowliness?

Here was the transformation of accepted standards.
No wonder the angels sang,
the shepherds ran,
and far, far away, wise men saw and understood,
then prepared for the greatest journey of their lives.

As, months later, they looked on that little child,
did they know the wounds of life yet to come,
wounds already foreseen by old Simeon?
Or was it pure glory,
an incandescent meeting between God and humans,
experienced but once,
yet engraven for ever in their hearts?
Did that young mother ponder
as she cradled her son
on the power enfolded there,
a power that had beamed into being
distant stars and galaxies?
How could she comprehend
such greatness concentrated unimaginably,
embodied so lovably?
God with a human face,
a human heart and ever-abiding love,
laying aside the majesty in the emptying of servant hood?

Godly Play

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