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
The Glory of God in Zion
A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
In His holy mountain.
Beautiful in elevation,
The joy of the whole earth,
Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north,
The city of the great King.
God is in her palaces;
He is known as her refuge.
For behold, the kings assembled,
They passed by together.
They saw it, and so they marveled;
They were troubled, they hastened away.
Fear took hold of them there,
And pain, as of a woman in birth pangs,
As when You break the ships of Tarshish
With an east wind.
As we have heard,
So we have seen
In the city of the Lord of hosts,
In the city of our God:
God will establish it forever. Selah
We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness,
In the midst of Your temple.
According to Your name, O God,
So is Your praise to the ends of the earth;
Your right hand is full of righteousness.
Let Mount Zion rejoice,
Let the daughters of Judah be glad,
Because of Your judgments.
Walk about Zion,
And go all around her.
Count her towers;
Mark well her bulwarks;
Consider her palaces;
That you may tell it to the generation following.
For this is God,
Our God forever and ever;
He will be our guide
Even to death.
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 good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favour is better than silver or gold.
The rich and the poor meet together;
the Lord is the maker of them all.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honour and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of his fury will fail.
Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor.
Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
and quarrelling and abuse will cease.
He who loves purity of heart,
and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the traitor.
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”
The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit;
he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.
Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,
or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
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 Spirit, guide us through the rest of our day.
May we know your wisdom in our hearts,
Your strength in our bodies,
And your peace in our lives. 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.Wednesday: Afternoon Prayer