Sacred Space on 16th December took as its theme ‘Encountering Angels’. Angels are a difficult thing to get our heads round! Yet our faith tells us that angels are all around us, whether we notice them or not, and that they come to us in many different guises. In the bible, both the old and new testaments tell us this, and that angels visit us at all sorts of different times and stages of life.

Angels are a key part of the story of Jesus’ birth. The archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to bear God’s son; an angel appeared to Joseph and told him not to be afraid to marry Mary; and later, an angel told Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt, thus saving the infant Jesus’ life from the marauding King Herod; still other angels appeared to the shepherds on the hill and told them to go to Bethlehem. Without angels, the Christmas story would be very different (and countless children would be have been deprived of a part in the nativity play!).

What of other angels? Are they confined to the pages on the bible?

You may have seen the story of Zeal Akaraiwai on the BBC website recently. Zeal is a 40-something financial consultant in Lagos, Nigeria. He does not have the wings of an angel – instead, he has a sleek black Mercedes, all purring engine and deep leather seats. In Nigeria, very few medical services are free of charge, and if you can’t pay your hospital bill you may not be allowed to leave. Yet only 5% of the population has medical insurance. Zeal is a devout Christian, and one of the ways he realises his faith is by paying the fees of hospital patients who are not able to settle their bills.

Zeal does not keep in touch with any of the people he helps. He does not even want to be thanked. But there is one thing he would like in return – that one day they might tell a story about him: the story of how when they were in hospital, an angel came, paid their bill and left. “I call this the Angel Project,” Zeal says. “Be the angel you hope to meet.”

At this time of year, when we sing of our longing for the time when God’s kingdom comes on earth and ‘the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing’, may God give each of us the courage and the grace to be the angel whom others would hope to meet. Gloria in Excelsis!

Sal McDougall, Precentor

Supporting Worship and Mission Regular giving is an important source of funding for the Worship and Mission of Lincoln Cathedral. If you would like to set up regular giving to support the Worship and Mission, or indeed any other aspect of the Cathedral, standing order forms are available from the tables in the north and south Choir Aisles. These can be returned to the chapter office by hand, or by using the freepost address at the foot of the form. Thank you for your support.

Confirmation Classes Lincoln Cathedral is planning confirmation classes for children in Year 6 and above. This is in preparation for confirmation at Easter 2019. If you are interested and would like more details please email precentorpa@lincolncathedral.com. Any adults who would like to explore confirmation should email the subdean, subdean@lincolncathedral.com

Sacred Space 2019 Sacred Space is a gentle and reflective service with time to wonder and a chance to explore. Come and use all your senses in the special space that is Lincoln Cathedral after hours. 19.00. Doors open at 18.45.
Upcoming dates (all Sunday evenings): 20 January, 17 February, 17 March, 14 April, 19 May, 16 June and 21 July.

The Snowman with Live Orchestra  On Friday 4 and Saturday 5 January at 13.30, 15.00 and 19.00 the screening of the film accompanied by live orchestra and Cathedral chorister.  For further information and tickets visit www.lincolncathedral.com or phone 01522 504394.

Cathedral Volunteer Thank You Party The annual Cathedral volunteer thank you party has traditionally been held in late January/ early February. Please note that this year the party will be held on Thursday 9 May 2019 when the days will be longer and the weather hopefully more favourable. Invitations and further details will be issued nearer the time.

Lectio Divina: Bible Reflection Group. The Chancellor is reviving and reforming a bible study into a new ‘Spiritual Reading’ (Lectio Divina) group engaging with the lectionary readings. It will begin in the new lectionary year, Year C, which begins in Advent and will generally explore Luke’s gospel. The first few dates are 29 December 2018, and 19 January 2019, all from 1600 – 1700 at 27 Minster Yard.

Spiritual Classics Reading Group:  This is an open group in which members read a book prior to the meeting, and discuss them together. The books we will discuss in the coming months are as follows. 12 January, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law (1728) and 23 February, Etty Hillesum, A Life Transformed by Canon Patrick Woodhouse. 27 Minster Yard, refreshments from 10.30, discussion from 10.45 -12.00.

Stillpoint: Finding silence in a busy world. You are invited to 45 minutes of guided silent prayer in the Ringers’ Chapel of Lincoln Cathedral on the following Saturday mornings: 29 December 2018 from 09.30-10.15, and then 26 January 2019 at the new time of 09.00-09.45

The Resilient Disciple: A part of our Cathedral engagement for Lent will be with a new Lent publication by The Venerable Justine Allain Chapman, The Archdeacon of Boston. The book launch (a free event) is on Tuesday 22 January 2019 16.15-17.15, followed by evensong. Thereafter there will be reflective sessions in the Cathedral Centre, on Saturday 16 February 14.00-17.00, Monday 18 March 13.00 – 16.00, and Saturday 6 April 14.00-17.00. These will be £10.00 each, or a discounted price of £25.00 for all three. More information soon on how to book.

Bible Readings

Sunday 23 December
4th Sunday of Advent

Sung Eucharist
Micah 5: 2-5a;  Hebrews 10: 5-10
Mattins
Isaiah 32: 1-8;  Revelation 22: 6-end
Evensong
Isaiah 10: 33-11.10;  Matthew 1.18-end

Sunday 30 December
1st Sunday of Christmas

Sung Eucharist
I Samuel 2: 18-20 and 26; Colossians 3: 12-17
Mattins
Isaiah 41.21-42.1; 1 John 1.1-7
Evensong
Isaiah 61; Galatians 3.27-4.7

Sunday 6 January
Epiphany

Sung Eucharist
Isaiah 60: 1-6;  Ephesians 3: 1-12
Mattins
Jeremiah 31.7-14;  John 1.29-34
Evensong
Isaiah 60.1-9;  John 2.1-11