The service of Hanging of the Greens focuses on preparing for the birth of Jesus and the second coming of Christ. The practice of bringing evergreens into the sanctuary started in Europe and continues in many churches with European heritage to this day. Evergreens were a symbol of the eternal coming to dwell among us as Word made flesh. They were also a sign of life and growth overcoming and flourishing in the midst of the dead of winter, and so of the resurrection of Christ. Over time, other attributes were given to specific evergreens, as we hear in the carol The Holly and the Ivy. Hanging greens at the beginning of Advent points to the second coming and culmination of all things in Christ. As we draw closer to Christmas, evergreens point to the incarnation and life of God dwelling among us in the birth of Jesus.
Although, on this occasion, we will not be decorating the church, maybe this service will inspire you to do your own ‘Hanging of the Greens’ at home, as you prepare to remember the first coming of Christ, and look forward to his second coming.
Put this Zoom service in your diaries – 4:00pm on Sunday 29 November. If you haven’t received joining instructions yet (these were at the end of his email about the Zoom service on 22 November), please email Eddie at ku.gro.tsidohtemhtysornull@retsinim for an access code. The code is not the one we use on Sunday mornings!
Our series of Autumn Bible Studies is coming to a climax, when the passage we are studying (Esther 7:1–8:17) sees a baddie get his come-uppance! Before you join us – and it’s never too late to express an interest – Eddie suggests you look at the notes at this link, and think about your answers to three questions:
- Some would say that what happened to Haman was poetic justice. Do you think poetic justice ever happens in the real world, or just in films and stories? Think of some instances where this may be true.
- Esther has to throw herself on the king’s mercy to show him the seriousness of the situation. Have you ever had to throw yourself on someone’s mercy in order to open their eyes to a situation of injustice?
- To some extent the story could have finished at Esther 8:17 with hardly any damage to the substance of the plot. Do you agree, or do you think something else needs to be said?
Do join the (friendly!) discussion this Thursday morning at 10:30am.
The Church of Scotland has posted a news item from which this has been adapted and shortened:
This Sunday (1 November), as new tiered restrictions have been announced across Scotland, Christians across the country – and further afield – will join together in prayer at 7.00pm in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As in previous weeks since 22 March, 14 Christian churches and organisations across the country, including the Methodist Church, have co-signed a letter calling for prayer, and Scottish Christians have been continuing to answer the call to pray at the same time each week.
Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, has been taking part. He said: “There are some things which make sense for a certain period of time but which come to a natural conclusion – such as clapping for carers during the spring lockdown. Prayer isn’t one of them.
“The Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘pray without ceasing’ and Jesus himself offers parables where persistence in prayer is lauded.
“It can be hard to keep going when there’s no end in sight; much easier when the finishing line comes into view. In the case of the pandemic, it still feels as if there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
“All the more reason then for God’s people to continue faithfully in prayer. And even better when we can pray across the whole of the Church, unrestricted by denominational divides.
“If Sunday at 7.00pm is in your diary, keep it there. Thank you. If it hadn’t been, it would be great to have you involved. It matters that we pray.”
The prayer for the coming Sunday is updated each Thursday/Friday, and you can find a link to it on our home page.
… is the intriguing title of this Thursday’s (22 October) Bible study.
Eddie suggests that, after you have read Esther 4:1–5:8, as well as referring to the notes at this link) you might like to consider the following questions:
- What do you think Esther’s reasons were for sending clothing to Mordecai? Why did he refuse it?
- Though God is never mentioned in the book of Esther, 4:14 does carry an air of divine intervention. Do you think the writer intended this?
- We see in this passage a sudden change by Esther to the world around her as she prepares to go against the prevailing forces and norms. When in your life have you had to make such a sudden change? Why did you do it? What was the outcome?
The Zoom meeting starts at 10:30am, includes a time of sharing at the beginning, and finishes at about 11:40am. If you don’t have the meeting details, or are new to the study group, please email Eddie at ku.gro.tsidohtemhtysornull@retsinim for an access code.