Sanctuary First this month is entitled “Don’t Put the light Out”. The service itself invites us to examine the Shape of our world and in doing so the shape of ourselves. There is a distinctive monologue at the beginning in which an individual wrestles with the challenges of everyday life. We are invited to consider the importance of keeping hope alive and not allowing cynical people and notions to put our “Lights Out” Of course it can be very hard to stop yourself from being cynical when it comes to Church life. Too many people in the church and indeed in church leadership find themselves going through the motions of faith without the passion or belief they once had. Looking at the shape of the Church is an interesting idea centered around the life of Zacharaih. In many ways he is the archetypal church figure who is going through the motions of his faith but not believing even when he gets a direct message from a heavenly visitor. The third shape we’re asked to consider is the shape of God himself. What is God really like? Of course no one can define God or even attempt to define his shape.He is beyond shape. The thing is he can fill every and any shape and be outside the shape.Despite all this we learn that God in Christ has taken on the shape of you and me. Quite incredible and worth taking time to reflect on is the idea- whatdoes it mean for God to shape humanity and for humanity to shape God?If humanity shapes Godits not in the sense that we humans are the creator of God but rather that God the creator allows himselfto connect with his creation to interact with his creation, to think in our shape and in so doing reveal his compassion and empathy with his creation. Herein is the amazing humilityof God revealed. I’m hoping that the writers of the prayers during this Advent periodof December will engage with these three shapes to a greater or lesser extent as they begin to reflect upon prayers thatspeak to us all out of the life oflives and experiences some of the central characters in the Christmas story. In week one we come to look at Prayers from the heart of Zacharaiah In week two we will be looking at Prayers from the heart of Mary In week three we will look at Prayers inspired by messages from an Angel In week four we’re going to look at how Simeon was inspired by the Christ-child.