Mid Week Reflection -The Third Week of Advent 2021

The Nunc dimittis

LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace:
according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen:
thy salvation;
Which thou hast prepared:
before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles:
and to be the glory of thy people Israel.


Simeon’s Song of Praise
Willem de Poorter
Public domain – Wikimedia Commons

I recall the words from Evening Prayer from the local Church of England Church Sunday service in my teens. I was to change my allegiance to the Methodist which was nearer and had a good youth club. The years past, I forgot the words but was to be reacquainted in the late 1970’s it through a spy drama Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy and the theme tune composed by composed by Geoffrey Burgon, a new setting for the Nunc Dimittis, sung by Paul Phoenix and the Boys of the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral. For me it was a beautiful, haunting and moving tune but also the words had a depth that reached beyond the plot of John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy. I did on a number of occasions have to explain where the words came from, an opportunity to literally speak about the Gospel story.

Move on several decades and I have held seven grand children in my arms as babies and quietly offered a blessing and prayer of thanksgiving for them and their parents. I have also had the joy of having held countless babies in my arms at their baptisms. I have a certain empathy with Simeon. There is something very special to hold a baby in your arms and gaze in wonder at this new creation. Simeon as an old man held a new life in his arms and gazed at this new creation knowing he was different, he is Jesus, a light to the world. He was to seen as the Chosen One, the Messiah, the Christ, as Lord and in John’s Gospel Jesus was the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd, the Door, the Vine, the Resurrection and the Life, the Way, the Truth and the Life and yes, the Light of the World.

A single verse, a single mention of Simeon and yet Simeon is forever remembered thanks to the words of Luke and Simeon’s Song. Through these words of peace
the early church saw it as an appropriate for the ending of the day and since the 4th century it has been used in such evening worship services as Evensong and Compline.

The Third Week of Advent 2021

Collect for the Third week of Advent
God for whom we watch and wait, you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son: give us courage to speak the truth, to hunger for justice, and to suffer for the cause of right, with Jesus Christ our Lord.

Candle Image – Adventný veniec na 3. adventnú nedeľu 2015 v kaplnke exercičného domu. Mesto Prešov. Ing.Mgr.Jozef Kotulič
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0- Wikimedia Commons

Psalm 146.4-end
Happy are those who have the God of Jacob for their help, •
whose hope is in the Lord their God;
Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; •
who keeps his promise for ever;
Who gives justice to those that suffer wrong •
and bread to those who hunger.
The Lord looses those that are bound; •
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; •
the Lord loves the righteous;
The Lord watches over the stranger in the land; he upholds the orphan and widow; •
but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
The Lord shall reign for ever, •
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. Alleluia.


A reading from Philippians (4.4-7)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.



Advent, a season where we lift up our hearts in praise and anticipation. In the weeks of Advent let us pray that we use the season to prepare ourselves as we look forward to hearing the improbable story of the birth of the baby. Let us pause before our prayers and hold the words of our readings and rejoice and be happy and ‘let your gentleness be known to everyone’. Perhaps slowly read them again.

We pray firstly for those closest to us, our immediate family and closest friends – for their health, needs, joys and fears.

(Silent prayer)

God of creation, God of Salvation Hear the prayers of our hearts

We pray for our extended family and friends who we might not see each week –
for their love and concern, for their wellbeing.

(Silent prayer)

God of creation, God of Salvation Hear the prayers of our hearts

We pray for those who we only have contact with infrequently –
for a blessing this Advent-time

(Silent prayer)

God of creation, God of Salvation Hear the prayers of our hearts

We pray for this world and its people – for the needs of this week and the future.

(Silent prayer)

God of creation, God of Salvation
Who speaks to us through thunder and whisper, who loves us as if there were but one of us to love Hear the prayers of our hearts
(Adapted from Prayers for Advent 1 John Birch)

Lord, as Christmas draws ever closer free me from being self-absorbed and self-centred. Instead fill me with eagerness and generosity of heart. Like Mary, may I too go out in loving service of others and experience your Love leaping up in me and in those with whom I come in contact.

Our thanks to Barry and Ann Sugden for the musical accompaniment. Many of use will remember with gratitude their musical input to our weekly worship during the Lockdowns and beyond. Thank you for your contribution to this time of reflection.

Faithful vigil ended
Please follow the link below for the music

Faithful vigil ended,
Watching, waiting cease;
Master, grant your servant
His discharge in peace.

All the Spirit promised,
All the Father willed;
Now these eyes behold it
Perfectly fulfilled.

This thy great deliverance
Sets your people free;
Christ, their light, uplifted
All the nations see.

Christ, thy people’s glory!
Watching, doubting, cease:
Grant to us your servants
Our discharge in peace. (167)
(Timothy Dudley-Smith (b1926) © Timothy Dudley-Smith)

The Lord’s Prayer

Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace according to thy word.
For mine eyes have seen thy salvation;
Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles and to be the glory of thy people Israel Luke 2.29-32
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be world without end. Amen.

A Joyful Benediction
Be people of joy.
Let joy live in your heart and share the joy of Christ with all you meet.
Share joy by seeing the good in each other.
Share joy by remembering good times and hoping for good times to come.
Share joy by praying for our world.
In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share joy.
As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share joy, peace, and hope with those you meet. Amen.

You may wish the finish this time of reflective prayer sitting silently and enjoying a peaceful moment or two. You may also think about listening to some music that has touched you or a favourite hymn or song. Enjoy these moments! God bless!

Derek Akker
(Derek is a retired Anglican Parish Priest and a member of the congregations of All Saints & St James, Bury)

Collect & Nunc Dimittis – Liturgy © Common Worship, The Archbishops Council, 2000

Parish of Kirklees Valley, Bury, (All Saints, Elton & St James, Woolfold)
In the Diocese of Manchester
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