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The Dean’s Weekly Message – 15th December 2019 Posted on Sunday 15 December 2019

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 Christs coming and the signs were that Gods promises of the past were now being fulfilled.

The example of John the Baptists 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.’

This Sunday afternoon the Boy Choristers will perform Benjamin Brittens ‘A ceremony of Carols’ after sung Evening Prayer at 3pm. They will be accompanied, as the composer intended, on the harp by Elizabeth McNulty. Bellerive College have their prize giving here on Wednesday afternoon and throughout most of the week there are various school carol services taking place. The Diocesan Dementia Carol Service is at 2pm on Thursday afternoon in the main Cathedral.

Our own Cathedral Carol Service, involving all our choirs and musicians ‘The Festival Carol Service’ is next Sunday evening at 5pm. Admission is free, so invite your friends and family to come along and take part anticipating Christmas with carols, readings and prayer.

Canon Anthony O’Brien
Cathedral Dean