Stir up Sunday
Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.’
(Church of England prayer for last Sunday before Advent)
Richard and I generally have porridge for breakfast. Often our bowls of creamy, hot, soothing porridge are topped with fresh fruit, seeds or prunes. But, if in the general busyness of the morning I take my eye off the hob for a moment and forget to stir the porridge, it starts to stick on the bottom of the pan and burn. The only way to get good porridge is to be attentive and keep stirring.
One of my favourite bible verses is Hebrews 10:23 (RSV)
‘And let us consider how to stir one another up towards love and good works, not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.’
When we are tired, we need to be stirred into action, mixed up a bit. If we stay un-stirred, we are liable to settle, coagulate, burn, and become useless. Other bible translations use the words, provoke, or spur each other on.
Traditionally Christmas puddings were made on this Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent and every member of the family would take turns in stirring the mixture. This was because of the above prayer of the day…’Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord…’ This is not a good prayer just for today, but every day, we all need to be attentively considered and stirred into action.
So, as we face Advent, let us consider one another, how to stir each other on in service of the King of Kings, let us look to see what areas we have got stuck (there is always a corner of the saucepan that gets missed), and allow God to stir us out of our comfort zones. Then we can be, as a church together, useful, harmonious, and the bringers of God’s comfort and strength – rather like porridge.
Now, where is the scourer for my saucepan?