As we head towards for Christmas, Advent prepares us in repentance and hope for Christ’s return. The regular psalm cycle reflects this, building to the ‘Songs of Ascent’ in the run-up to Christmas Day. The gospel readings are focused on the Sermon on the Mount, the Old Testament readings relate entirely to the book of Proverbs while the New Testament readings anticipate the second coming as we read through the book of Revelation.
CALL TO WORSHIP
God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
God the Help of Those Who Seek Him
A Song of Ascents.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
(A short time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous. Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)
OLD TESTAMENT READING
A rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
The wage of the righteous leads to life,
the gain of the wicked to sin.
Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
and whoever utters slander is a fool.
When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
The lips of the righteous feed many,
but fools die for lack of sense.
The blessing of the Lord makes rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool,
but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
What the wicked dreads will come upon him,
but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more,
but the righteous is established for ever.
Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so is the sluggard to those who send him.
The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.
The hope of the righteous brings joy,
but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless,
but destruction to evildoers.
The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
Pause for Reflection…
(Take a moment to bring to God any issues that have arisen during the morning. You may like to end with the following prayer…)
Lord Jesus, we thank you for another morning in Your House,
For the Word as pronounced to your people,
For the Worship as presented by your people,
For the Witness as proclaimed through your people,
And for the gathering of your Bride all over the world.
We ask your blessings upon the rest of this day,
May we enjoy Sabbath rest, renewed strength and a firmer hope,
As we run the race and stretch forth towards the prize. Amen
(If these prayers are taking place before food, you may like to say the Grace here instead.)
Lord God, we thank you for your gift to us of this food;
Produce of earth, sky, many living beings, and much hard work.
May we eat with prayerfulness, gratitude and moderation;
With renewed minds and spirit-controlled appetites.
May we eat with compassion for those who hunger today,
And in such a way that reduces the suffering of all creatures;
Healing and preserving our precious planet.
Use this food to strengthen our bodies, revive our spirits,
Nurture our family and nourish our resolve;
That we may continue to serve all that lives with all our life. Amen
Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.