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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 11th December 2016 Posted on Sunday 11 December 2016

Third Sunday of Advent
The Gospel this Sunday has John the Baptist imprisoned and alone in the sure knowledge that a violent death awaited him. What hope could there be for him, had his preaching and life’s witness been in vain? Even John, the great prophet, in fact Jesus declared him to be the greatest of all prophets, needed assurance that his words and example had purpose and meaning. He sent a message to Jesus and the response he received was an echo of the words of Isaiah ‘the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the good news is proclaimed to the poor’. This would not just have lifted his spirits but the fact that the promised word of God was being fulfilled in Jesus meant that the good he had done and his words and actions had helped others and prepared a way for the Lord. His life had witnessed the dawn of Christ’s coming and the signs were that God’s promises of the past were now being fulfilled.

The example of John the Baptist’s life helps us to see that we should trust in God’s word even in our darkest moments – as he did with John, the Lord stands with us offering reassurance and hope. ‘Happy are those who do not lose faith’. But also we are called to work for that kingdom that Christ showed forth namely to encourage one another, to ease peoples burdens and to make him known in the situations of our lives. As we approach the Feast of Christmas may the Lord help us to be more understanding and considerate and in small ways respond to the needs of those around us when the opportunity arises. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, come.

Evening Prayer this Sunday at 3pm is in a shorter form and is followed by Britten’s, ‘Ceremony of Carols’, sung by the boy choristers accompanied on the harp. This will take place in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

St Mary’s College, Crosby, hold their Annual Prize giving at the Cathedral on Monday evening with Archbishop McMahon as the guest of honour. The NSPCC have their Carol Concert at the Cathedral on Tuesday evening. A new development this year has been the formation of a dementia choir and they will be leading the singing at a carol concert at the Cathedral on Wednesday afternoon at 2.00pm for people with dementia. On Thursday afternoon at 2.00pm Scarisbrick Hall are holding their Carol Service at the Cathedral and Nugent Care have their annual Light up a Life Service on Friday at 12.30pm. Meanwhile the Crypt this week will be busy hosting the University veterinary exams only to be followed by a gin festival next weekend.

The major Christmas Carolling events organised by the Cathedral involving all our musicians and singers and many others take place next Saturday and Sunday. This is our opportunity as a Cathedral Community to begin to anticipate the Feast of Christmas and enter into the festive spirit. The Dickensian Carol Concert, compered by Roger Phillips, is on Saturday at 7pm. Tickets for this can either be purchased in advance or on the door. On Sunday evening at 5pm we have our Festival Carol Service a traditional service of Carols, Christmas Verse, Readings and Prayers. A free event – why not invite your friends and extended family?

Some of our young children from the Cathedral Parish and from St Vincent’s will be making their First Confession this week and they will continue their journey of preparation next year for their First Holy Communion in the summer. Please remember them in your prayers.

Canon Anthony O’Brien

Cathedral Dean