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
Song of Victory over Zion’s Enemies
Song of Ascents.
“Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,”
Let Israel now say—
“Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth;
Yet they have not prevailed against me.
The plowers plowed on my back;
They made their furrows long.”
The Lord is righteous;
He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked.
Let all those who hate Zion
Be put to shame and turned back.
Let them be as the grass on the housetops,
Which withers before it grows up,
With which the reaper does not fill his hand,
Nor he who binds sheaves, his arms.
Neither let those who pass by them say,
“The blessing of the Lord be upon you;
We bless you in the name of the Lord!”
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
An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
but the righteous escapes from trouble.
From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.
The vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.
Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Truthful lips endure for ever,
but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
but those who plan peace have joy.
No ill befalls the righteous,
but the wicked are filled with trouble.
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight.
A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
The hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be put to forced labour.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.
One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbour,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Whoever is slothful will not roast his game,
but the diligent man will get precious wealth.
In the path of righteousness is life,
and in its pathway there is no death.
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…)
Holy Father, we commit to you the work already done today,
Bless the work of our hands and forgive our many errors,
That we may we be empowered to serve you ever more fully. 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.