Today is Gaudete Sunday, the announcing of the joyful news that the Lord is near to us, he is coming with salvation for his people. We hear in the second reading St Pauls’ words of encouragement: ‘What I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone; the Lord is very near…….’ The lighting of the rose coloured candle on the wreath is a final wake up call to make sure everything is ready for Christmas. May the Lord help us to be more understanding and considerate at this time and to respond to the needs of others when the opportunities arise and have a joyful spirit.
The afternoon service at 3pm in the Cathedral this Sunday is a shortened version of Evening Prayer followed by Benjamin Brittens ‘Ceremony of Carols’. This was written for treble voices and harp and composed by Britten when he was travelling by sea from the United States back to England. The texts that he used as his theme for the piece were a collection of Medieval Christmas poems.
A number of school events that had been planned to take place this week have been cancelled recently due to the incidence of Covid cases amongst staff and pupils. At the time of writing there will just be a prize giving evening on Monday for St Mary’s College, Crosby and ‘The Big Help Project’ charity carol concert in the Crypt on Friday evening. Also the final talk of our Advent series on St Luke will be held in the Gibberd Room on Wednesday at 7pm entitled ‘Luke a Christmas Gospel’ given by Archbishop Malcolm.
Our own Cathedral Christmas Festival Carol service involving all our musicians and singers will take place next Sunday at 5pm. It is a traditional service of Carols, Christmas Verse, Readings and Prayer. It offers us a lovely opportunity to begin to anticipate the Feast of Christmas after the celebrations for the Fourth Sunday of Advent have concluded – why not take the opportunity invite your friends and extended family to come and share in this service with us.
At present the G7 Foreign Ministers are meeting in Liverpool with the Hope Street Hotel being one of the accommodation venues for the delegates. The last time there was this much security presence on Hope Street was when Condoleeza Rice and Jack Straw held meetings here some years ago now- it raised the profile of the city for a short while but I’m not sure what their talks achieved. The meetings this week cover a number of issues such as climate change, the movement of peoples and the global effects of Covid. This has been part of a number of meetings in the UK this year, the others being in Cornwall and Glasgow. Let us hope and pray they have a lasting positive influence on the long term future of our world for the generations that will follow us.
Canon Anthony O’Brien