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
Man’s Wickedness and God’s Perfections
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord.
An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:
There is no fear of God before his eyes.
For he flatters himself in his own eyes,
When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.
The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;
He has ceased to be wise and to do good.
He devises wickedness on his bed;
He sets himself in a way that is not good;
He does not abhor evil.
Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the great mountains;
Your judgments are a great deep;
O Lord, You preserve man and beast.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,
And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.
Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.
Let not the foot of pride come against me,
And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.
There the workers of iniquity have fallen;
They have been cast down and are not able to rise.
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
Plans are established by counsel;
by wise guidance wage war.
Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
If one curses his father or his mother,
his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning
will not be blessed in the end.
Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord,
and false scales are not good.
A man’s steps are from the Lord;
how then can man understand his way?
It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy”,
and to reflect only after making vows.
A wise king winnows the wicked
and drives the wheel over them.
The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord,
searching all his innermost parts.
Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king,
and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
The glory of young men is their strength,
but the splendour of old men is their grey hair.
Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
strokes make clean the innermost parts.
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.