Advent Sunday

ADVENT SUNDAY Hymns 3, 9, 298, 5

FIRST READING Isaiah 64.1-9 O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, so that the mountains would quake at your presence— as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil— to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence! When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways.

But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed. We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord, and do not remember iniquity for ever. Now consider, we are all your people.


Response: God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

1. O shepherd of Israel, hear us: shine forth from your cherubim throne

O Lord, rouse up your might: O Lord, come to our help. R.

2. God of hosts, turn again, we implore: look down from heaven and see.

Visit this vine and protect it: the vine your right hand has planted. R.

3. May your hand be on the man you have chosen: the man you have given your strength

And we shall never forsake you again: give us life that we may call upon your name. R.

SECOND READING 1 Corinthians 1.3-9 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

GOSPEL Mark 13.24-37 ‘But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. ‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome and thanks to Fr Paul Matthias, our celebrant this morning, who will also kindly be saying Mass for us on Thursday at 10.30 am as well as Wednesday (see below). Everyone is warmly invited to coffee in the Vestry Hall after Mass. If new to St Michael's, do join us so that we can welcome you properly!

Thank you to Sara and to all the energetic helpers who united to achieve a successful Fair on Saturday. The wintry weather was not on our side, and neither was the number of other local fairs – but those who attended spent generously and thoroughly enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and the delicious refreshments organised by Sue. Catherine's craft-and-gift stall looked particularly beautiful this time, and there will be an opportunity to make some late purchases from it after Mass. Fishing for Christmas baubles was a new attraction this year, joining sweets-in-a jar, guessing the weight of the Christmas cake, and guessing the name of the dog (this last a venture by Norman and Jackie).The tombolas appeared alarmingly well-stocked beforehand, and Mike, Mary, Alison and her husband Paul were delighted to see them diminishing steadily as the afternoon went on. The two Margarets – one selling bric-a brac and the other cakes and bread – were welcoming and effective saleswomen. The hard work of Sara and everyone else – including those who turned out beforehand to set up) is warmly appreciated by all who were there.

We are delighted and thankful to see Fr Paul back with us after his surgery and assure him of our continued prayers as he convalesces.

News of Paul: It is hoped that Paul will be able to leave King's College Hospital next week and will be placed under the care of the Royal Marsden. Please continue to pray for him.

Margaret Broadbent's funeral takes place at Vinters Park Crematorium on Wednesday, December 20th, at 10.15 am. Members of St Michael's are particularly welcome, even if they did not know her very well. Her dedicated work for our church in past years deserves recognition.

Interview Day is this Wednesday, 6th December. Thank you to members of our team who are rallying round to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Please, everyone, do all you can to welcome visitors to St Michael's that day, and continue to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit, for the candidate and for all concerned in the appointment process. The day will begin with Mass in the Ascension Chapel at 10.40, and anyone who is available is most welcome to join the candidate and the panel in worship.

Congratulations to Zangi, who attended a trial recently and will now be playing rugby for the county. Wonderful news, Zangi!

Are you a PT van driver, or do you know one? Make a Difference Maidstone are looking for a driver, 2 or 3 days a week, remuneration to be discussed. This could be a rewarding opportunity to work for a very worthwhile local Christian charity. If interested, please telephone Rob Foley on 01622 687414.

From Our Tower: Kent County Association Maidstone, Kent : St Michael and All Angels

Monday, 20 November 2023 in 42m (6–1–24 in C)

1280 Yorkshire Surprise Major

  1. Isabel Hitchings
  2. Kath White
  3. Jacqueline Barlow
  4. Janice Byrne
  5. Richard Young
  6. Mark Elvers
  7. Mike Birkbeck
  8. Reg Hitchings (C) 

Remembering David O’Sullivan 22/11/19 R.I.P.

Rung on the Saint's Day of Saint Edmund, King and Martyr (d. 869)

We need more Catholic voices on our Deanery and Diocesan Synods. There will be elections before very long. Could God be calling you to stand for election? At last week's Deanery Synod we were reminded of the significance of COP 28 and were urgently invited to adopt environmentally friendly changes that could make a difference in our individual lives and the life of our church. Please think and pray about this.

Could you pass this sheet on to someone else who might like to see it?