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 Lord the Strength of His People
A Song of Asccents.
Those who trust in the Lord
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the Lord surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
On the land allotted to the righteous,
Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
And to those who are upright in their hearts.
As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways,
The Lord shall lead them away
With the workers of iniquity.
Peace be upon Israel!
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
With patience a ruler may be persuaded,
and a soft tongue will break a bone.
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.
Let your foot be seldom in your neighbour’s house,
lest he have his fill of you and hate you.
A man who bears false witness against his neighbour
is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow.
Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble
is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.
Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart
is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day,
and like vinegar on soda.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
The north wind brings forth rain,
and a backbiting tongue, angry looks.
It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.
Like cold water to a thirsty soul,
so is good news from a far country.
Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain
is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
It is not good to eat much honey,
nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.
A man without self-control
is like a city broken into and left without walls.
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.