A key gospel story for Advent is Jesus’ parable of the 10 bridesmaids in Matthew 25. They’re waiting for the bridegroom – to welcome him and accompany him into the wedding. Five are wise and keep their oil stocked up; five are foolish and have run out when the bridegroom arrives. It’s a story full of Advent themes like making sure we’re well prepared, being ready even though we’ve no idea what time he’s coming and staying awake. The bridesmaids are sometimes called virgins, sometimes wedding attendants, but one scholar calls them torchbearers. They are ready with lit and filled lamps to provide light and support for the bridegroom.
If you were around on Nettleham Road or the Bail last Tuesday evening, you would have been witness to over 1000 torchbearers. It was the annual St. Barnabas Hospice procession to light the tree of life outside the west end of the Cathedral. Into the distance ran a seemingly endless river of torchbearers of all ages, genders and backgrounds. The torches’ light in the cold, dark evening seemed to hold and articulate a huge range of feelings and emotions for the torchbearers. Some came to express grief at the loss of loved ones. Some came to offer support to those who were feeling pain. Some came with a strong hope in how the care, skill and compassion of the approach St. Barnabas Hospice embodies can give all of us when faced by so many grim, anxious-making things going on in our world and in our lives. Mostly it was about love – love shared, love that makes the absence hard, but never regretted. All expressed in a hug, a tear, a heartfelt message written on a tag and hung on the barriers round the tree.
Advent gives us space to get ourselves ready to be torchbearers of love for the saviour who is to come. It offers a number of weeks where we can spend a little time each day building up the stock of spiritual oil that will keep our torch alight, dwelling in love and hope for a few moments with our brokenness, our God-given potential, and those who have loved us and whom we have loved and still love in thanksgiving and recognition of the pain and fear we bear.
This is a blessing that this season tenders to us. God loves us in and through the hurt and the fear – and loves us into new life. Moments of reflection through a daily time of quiet prayer or following one of the Gospels a little each day or tracking the same story in the news every day and praying about those impacted. It might be an Advent course or book or making a list of the important people in your life past and present and writing them each a haiku or folding an origami star for each for your Christmas tree.
Ove the next few weeks we’ll be doing a lot of getting ready for Christmas with presents, food and decorations. Preparing our hearts to welcome and light the way for Christ the bridegroom, the child of Bethlehem, our saviour and our judge, making sure our oil is plentiful, will be a smidgeon of daily time well spent.
REVEREND CANON DAVID DADSWELL
Worship and Mission
Weekly service schedule
The service sheet for the coming fortnight can be viewed on the cathedral website (click link to visit)
Sacred Space – 27 November
Lincoln Cathedral is bringing back the Sacred Space event for all to interactively experience and explore faith.
Stillpoint – 19 December
The Stillpoint silent contemplative prayer meeting takes place monthly. The next meeting is December 19, from 8.40-9.20 a.m., in the Ringers Chapel.
Services of Lessons and Carols – 23 and 24 December
During the final days before Christmas, the Cathedral will be hosting the traditional services of readings and festive music. The Cathedral Choir will be singing many well-known Carols as well as other seasonal Choral works.
This year, these services will be on 23 and 24 December at 4pm. We recommend arriving a few minutes early to ensure a seat as these services are usually very popular.
Come and celebrate the night of the birth of Jesus. Our annual Midnight Mass service this year is 24 December at 11:30pm
Festal Eucharist and Festal Evensong
At 10am on Christmas day, we will be having a festive Eucharist to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
And come and join us later at 3:45pm for the Festal Evensong for a serene reflection.
Lincoln Cathedral Community Association
– New Executive Committee
At the recent LCCA AGM, we thanked David Ford, Prue Chadderton and Margaret Campion, whose terms of office on the Executive committee has ended, for their much appreciated contribution to the smooth running of the LCCA.
We welcomed new Executive Committee members, Theresa Moses, Judi Jones, Linda Jones and Shirley Finneran.
A full list of the new executive committee is on the LCCA noticeboard, opposite the vergers’ offices so please introduce yourself to them over coffee after the Sunday morning Eucharist.
Community Book Group – 21 January
Our January book will be ‘Faith after Doubt’, by Brian D. Mclaren (Hodder and Stoughton 2021, ISBN 978-1529384451), which will be discussed on the morning of Saturday 21 January. In this book, Mclaren develops a four-stage model of faith development (simplicity, complexity, perplexity and harmony) in which questions and doubt are not the enemy of faith, but rather a portal to a more mature and fruitful kind of faith. This will be in the cathedral bookshop shortly.
Reminder: Collection for Will Harrison
Our Chapter Clerk and COO Will Harrison’s departure is sadly approaching. We will be holding a celebration for Will and his family on Sunday 18 December to give thanks for his time amongst us at the end of the 10am Eucharist.
If you would like to contribute to a leaving gift you can still do so online at https://www.collectionpot.com/pot/3040340 or there are still cards and collections in the Vergers Vestry.
On behalf of Chapter we wish Will and his family all the best for their future.
Lincoln Christmas Market
1 to 4 December – The Lincoln Christmas will be coming to uphill Lincoln next week.
The annual spectacular of The Snowman is commencing 10 December for which tickets have completely sold out.
Congratulations to the Cathedral Choristers who have been chosen to sing the “Walking in the air” solos – Frankie, Naimh, Jack, Max and Judah
Carols by Candlelight
Wednesday 14 December the Friends of Lincoln Cathedral once again host their very popular annual concert of Carols by Candlelight in the Nave at 7.30pm on Wednesday 14 December. Join the Lincoln Cathedral Choir to sing seasonal carols by candlelight.
Tickets are priced from £8.50 – ticket sales are going well so get them while you can.
A pre-concert dinner is available in the Cathedral Cafe. Please book your table directly by calling 01522 561654.
Two courses with welcome drink: £29.95
Three courses with welcome drink: £38.95
For full details of events, and to book tickets, please visit https://lincolncathedral.com/forthcoming-events/
Ceremony of Carols
The Cathedral Choristers and Youth Choir will be doing two performances of Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols on Saturday 17 December. They will be joined by harpist Thea Maund for this Christmas classic.
First at 2pm, second at 7pm.
Sunday 27 November
First Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 2. 1-5
Matthew 24. 36-44
Isaiah 52. 1-12
Matthew 24. 15-28
Sunday 4 December
Second Sunday of Advent
1 Kings 18.17-39
Sunday 11 December
Third Sunday of Advent