Thoughts for 1st Sunday of Advent

Following the death of King Solomon in 926BC, there was a split in the People of God, and they divided into two kingdoms. To the North, was the kingdom of Israel; to the South, the kingdom of Judah.

Into this mess, God sent Isaiah as prophet. Isaiah spoke out against idolatrous practices and warned what would happen if Israel didn’t turn back to God. Sure enough, Israel fell to the Assyrian Empire in 722BC and many Jews were carried off. Isaiah tells us never to lose heart, however, as God will maintain a remnant of the faithful and will call them back home.

Much later in 586BC, the Kingdom of Judah is overrun, Jerusalem is utterly destroyed and the people carried away into exile in Babylon. Again, the prophet cries out among the people, but this time with a message of hope that God is going to gather his people once more and they will return across the Jordan to the land of their fathers.

With the fall of Babylon in 539BC, Jews did, indeed, begin to return to their homeland and it is from this period that today’s reading is taken. It seems that the Lord has been quiet for some time, leaving his people to wallow in the fruits of their sinfulness, abandoning them to their fate. The prophet beseeches the Lord to return to his people, to show, once again, the great power that he had shown long ago. To show to his people his great mercy and to return as the Father to his people, to work them as a potter works clay.

Taken today, this first Sunday of Advent, it is a clear call to us to admit our guilt and to turn back to God, mindful of his mercy and his promise to gather all peoples to himself so that, when we welcome Jesus at Christmas, he “would meet us doing right”.

The psalm implores God to come to his people, to be their shepherd. To send the Son of Man to care for the vineyard, to bring new life to us all.

St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians begins with a prayer of praise to God and a reminder to Christians to to wait for the coming revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel reading, this week, is from late on in Mark’s Gospel. Jesus reminds us all to remain vigilant, watchful. God is coming at a time of his own choosing and, particularly during Advent, we pay close attention to the state of our own souls in anticipation of his glorious, if understated, arrival at Christmas.

New committee members

We are delighted to welcome Claire and  Christy to the Cambourne Catholic Church Committee: they were elected unopposed during Mass this evening.

We also say goodbye with grateful hearts to Mel, Lori and Tony who have worked so hard over the last year to get everything established.

Patrick Brannagan stepped down as chair.  He will remain on the committee for the next year to advise the new chair, who will be selected at the committee’s first meeting.

Election of new committee

After Mass, this week (22nd November), we will be electing three new people to sit on the church committee to replace three members who are stepping down.

Many thanks to Lori Cavin, Tony Jennings and Mel Ward for their dedicated service and great ideas over the last year, and we look forward to welcoming new ideas with the new people.

All Saints’ Party

The all Saints Party on November 1st was fun for everyone who came, and was also a good chance to catch up with friends that you mightn’t see that often. For example, I managed to talk to 2 of my great friends from St Albans Primary School, as we all go to different schools now. Some people Had dressed as saints and others had carved pumpkins for a competition.

We played games like ‘Empire’, where you had to guess who was who in order to win the biggest empire. We all had to choose a saints name, the whole list was read out and people had to guess which one we had chosen. If someone got your name right you joined their ‘empire’. We had everyone from Pope John Paul to St Patrick! My team was close to winning, but we were outsmarted at the last second!

We also played a game called Psychologist, where one person leaves the room. The people left in the room then have to come up with a trigger and a reaction that the ‘psychologist’ has to guess. Our trigger for the first round was, that if the ‘psychologist’ asked a question to anyone without shoes on, the person behind her would have to scare her, which made some great reactions!

We shared a lovely dinner of baked potato, chilli and cheese followed by mini doughnuts off strings, which is actually quite a traditional game, and did make some people look rather silly!

Everyone joined in for a game where you had to pass a balloon up and down a line, but by passing it with your chins, no hands allowed. The secret is to have a smallish balloon! You then had to pass it up and down using over, under, over, under etc. However, the rule of if you drop the balloon you have to start again, was eventually dropped due to team 2’s bad passing skills slowing everybody down!

At the end of the evening, we had a Night Prayer for the Feast of all Saints and sung a hymn, listened to a psalm and a reading. Parents of some of the children, came in and sat down with us all, listening The moment was a good one to contemplate about God, and all his love for us, our friendship and the people who have helped us by example to learn to be closer to Him.

Finally we wrapped up the prayer and each had a yummy mug of hot chocolate.

It was a great evening and a chance to have fun with new friends in the church who go to different Masses and different schools.

Our next event is on the 22nd of November at Comberton Village College where we will join youth from different churches from West Cambridge. This is an evening with live acts from local young people who have auditioned for a competition and also professional acts such as Guvna B  and streetdance companies. My choir “Tensing” took part last year and a member of our group won as a solo artist. See the details on  our Cambourne Catholic Church or OLEM 7UP FB pages.

Hope to see you there!