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
Simple Trust in the Lord
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.
Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.
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 wise son hears his father’s instruction,
but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good,
but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
The righteous hates falsehood,
but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.
Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,
but sin overthrows the wicked.
One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth,
but a poor man hears no threat.
The light of the righteous rejoices,
but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
By insolence comes nothing but strife,
but with those who take advice is wisdom.
Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself,
but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Good sense wins favour,
but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.
In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,
but a fool flaunts his folly.
A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a faithful envoy brings healing.
Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is honoured.
A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Disaster pursues sinners,
but the righteous are rewarded with good.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food,
but it is swept away through injustice.
Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
but the belly of the wicked suffers want.
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…)
Mighty God, as we come to the end of our week,
Grant your blessings over all we love and your increase upon all we do,
We ask this in Jesus name. 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.