The Parishes of Crail and St Ayle

Reflections from Rev. John Murray 

Sunday 13 December 2020: The third Sunday in Advent

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Be still and know that I am God’: The risen Christ present with us by the Spirit is our ‘temple’,

our true and lasting place of worship.


Like Mary, may we be recipients personally of that good news, and the bearers of that

good news in our time and place: let it be so according to your word, O Lord.

Life from what appears dead. Justice is coming!



Isaiah 11:1-5 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.  The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD- and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.  He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.  He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips, he will slay the wicked.  Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.


And listen to Mary:

Luke 1:47-55 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- holy is his name.  His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.  He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.  He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.  He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.  He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors."

Have I got news for you!


How do we respond to things?  Are we always wondering about how it will affect me, and our agendas, or might we see the greater good?


Mary responded in a way which could see the greater good that was coming with news that was, to say the least, challenging.


Today, let’s hold in our hands the stories of Mary and Joseph, and let’s learn from them.






Can we become ready to receive the wonderful offer coming to us?’  Lord, come into my life, and may we let in your good news afresh.  How well do I receive, or am I one of those folk who can manage fine for myself thank you very much?


Lord, we may think we have listened and responded,

But our focus is often just on the written word, rather than the Word made flesh.

Speak afresh in our worship, through the inner presence of the living Christ in our hearts.

Help us this Advent to create a waiting empty space within.

Conceive in us that which will grow and cause rejoicing.

Help us to sing, and to say ‘let it be for us according to your will’.


The Lord’s Prayer


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever


Prophetess of Revolution


Read again the Magnificat, this song of Mary’s.  At long last the dream is coming true, and Mary senses that she is part of the story, an indispensable part.  And she sings like a lintie.  It is a swooping song of high brought low, of low made high.  See the wonderful sentences all starting with ‘He….’ And admire the sheer bravery, faith, pizzazz, of this young girl from Nazareth.  Say these words to yourself: ‘The Mighty One has done great things for me’.

What’s going on here then? (Thinks Joseph)


Not exactly what he was hoping for:  Lord, come into our life, as we sit with disappointment, lost dreams, betrayal (or so we think), confusion in our minds, self-pity, hurtful comments, and the like: may we pause and see different things: according to your word, as in He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.   It’s so often our skewed perception which is in error, rather than things themselves.






Lord, we thank you for the kindness that you send through those who take time with us, and care and carry us on the journey.  As Elizabeth cared for Mary when she faced danger and distress, thank you for those who are always there for us.  And when we are really stuck, like Joseph, in negative stories of our own making, give us intimations that all is well and shall be well.  Even if it takes dreams and angels, please do whatever is necessary. Amen.


And a time for your own prayers. Spoken or in silence, ‘Lord, in your mercy, hear us’.



Go now in joy and peace, and may the Lord Jesus Christ, the one whom Mary carried and Joseph and Mary cared for, carry you and care for you, now and for all eternity. Amen




Ps 126: When the Lord restored the fortunes to Zion, we were like people who dreamed:


When we look at the world, Lord

Its tensions and suffering, need and heartbreak

It’s hard not to wonder what you’re doing

And why you take so long to put things right.

Help us to understand that you are working nonetheless

Your purposes and plans, not in our time, but in yours.

And help us to know that good things are always coming to us if we but have the faith to see.



Daily Awareness Exercise for this week


Thank God for today, for all that has gone to make up this day.

Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind any experience of the day through which God wants to speak to you.

What gave you a deep sense of joy? Or sadness?

Ask what God wants you to see through this experience,


Follow the star: we come from the East to worship




What gifts can we bring to the King as we journey towards the birth of Jesus?

© 2018 - 2020 by St Ayle