“Be still, and know that I am God”. We have created a Prayer Space in front of the altar in the Lady Chapel, with visual aids and suggestions for personal reflection. These will be changed monthly,and everyone is welcome to contribute ideas for future themes. Rev Grace Redpath will be delighted to discuss ideas with you.
On Advent Sunday, Rt Rev Dr John Armes,The Bishop of Edinburgh, blessed this new “Prayer Space” Cross, designed and hand-made by Sandie Goddard
The Prayer Space Cross
I wanted to represent St Andrew’s church and the surrounding area and so I looked at the decoration already in our church.
Our youngest grandchildren identified and listed all the colours in the two stained glass windows by the prayer space for me to use. I have attempted to use all these colours and some of the other decorative features in the work.
My early thoughts led me to the use of an application method of one particular colouring medium to represent the design.
Equally the shape of the cross became the only possible shape for the work to physically fit both the corner and the required wording.
I see this cross shape as not only being the cross of the crucifixion and symbol of Christianity but of a figure with arms opening wide to welcome all to pray.
The design of the background fabric represents at face value the landscape that surrounds Kelso with the river, hills and valleys and also the movement of water and the clouds of the sky. Both of these things always moving and changing but constant here on the cross. (Bob saw these as waves of peace and no doubt there will be other personal interpretations.)
The blue fabric of the letters links the windows, carpet and chairs in church as well as the fabric often used in the prayer corner installations. It was chosen specifically for its colour which would be visible all around the church building and also for the design upon it which to me look like seeds. This again references the agriculture of the Borders as well as sowing the word of God and the bosses on the beam across the chancel which at certain angles look like seeds.
Over the cross are small areas of silver beadwork and lines of gold-work following designs developed from the decoration of the chancel ceiling and the artwork on the pulpit. These also reflect the gold and silver on the windows and around church.
The whole work refers to the love of God, the wonders of nature and the gifts, skills and creativity that God has given to us to enjoy, as well as the gift of an invitation to prayer.
I would particularly like to thank Peter Tucker who translated my ideas and measurements into a good, solid frame for the work and for fixing it all securely to the wall. Sandra Goddard.
The Advent Theme was prepared by Margaret Addie.
The Advent Wreath: What does it mean?
There are several interpretations associated with The Advent Wreath. Here is my version.
Firstly, by being circular, the wreath represents God’s endless love for us, and by being EVERGREEN it represents the HOPE of eternal life.
There are traditionally at least four candles, three PURPLE (the liturgical colour of Advent) and one ROSE , and they are lit in turn on the 4 Sundays of Advent. A fifth, white candle, may be added on Christmas Day.
The meanings of the candles, and the order in which they are lit, varies according to tradition, but my interpretation is:
The first of the PURPLE candles symbolises HOPE and is often known as The Prophecy Candle, in remembrance of the Prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipating the coming Messiah. As the carol says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”
The second PURPLE candle can symbolise FAITH, and is often known as The Bethlehem Candle, representing the great journey of faith which Mary and Joseph took from their home in Nazareth to a stable in Bethlehem. It was a long and tiring journey for the heavily pregnant Mary, with no certainty as to what would await them on arrival. But Mary travelled in faith, having submitted to the will of God, saying “be it unto me according to your word”.
The third Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, meaning “Rejoice”, and the third candle is sometimes known as The Shepherd’s Candle, representing their Joy at finding the Christ Child. Now, opinions differ as to whether the candle should be ROSE on the third Sunday, or dedicated to Mary on the fourth Sunday, but ROSE is the colour of JOY and those tidings of great joy, which the shepherds heard, should be at the heart of all our preparations.
The fourth candle…whether ROSE or PURPLE…is sometimes known as The Angel’s Candle and represents PEACE, reminding us of the Angel’s message of “Peace on Earth, goodwill to all”.
So, as we journey through Advent, we do so in Hope, in Faith, in Joy and in Peace. And as we arrive at the stable in Bethlehem, we find The Christ Child, for whom a final WHITE candle will be lit on Christmas Day, symbolising Love, the greatest gift of all, and the gift that keeps on giving.
Mary’s journey was not without difficulty, possibly danger, certainly stress and inevitably fatigue.
In the run up to Christmas, with all its commercial pressures, increased expectations etc it is sometimes hard to keep our perspective. Personal circumstances might preclude joining in with the festivities. Other people’s family gatherings might serve only to highlight the isolation of the lonely.
For those who prefer a more gentle approach, St. Andrew’s offers “A Quiet Christmas” at 5pm on Dec 19th. There will be a few carols and readings, and a chance for a quieter time of reflection, without any of the busy-ness and razz-a-ma-taz of the bigger events.
And of course, our Church is open daily during daylight hours and we hope this beautiful Prayer Space will be a haven of peace for all who use it.
A final thought, courtesy of Eleanor Farjeon:
“People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.”
Our Choir sing this lovely song each week after the Advent Candle is lit..Enjoy!
The Prayer Board
You are invited to leave personal prayers on the Prayer Board. These will be included in our Intercessions at the mid-week Communion Service each Wednesday for four weeks, and then respectfully removed.
We always remember in our prayers the residents of Queen’s House, Murray House, Evanthea House, and Grove House, together with all who receive Holy Communion at home.
We continue to hold Sandra Wright in our prayers as she trains to be a Lay Reader.