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
A 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
Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring.
Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
a stranger, and not your own lips.
A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming,
but who can stand before jealousy?
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
One who is full loathes honey,
but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet.
Like a bird that strays from its nest
is a man who strays from his home.
Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend,
and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity.
Better is a neighbour who is near
than a brother who is far away.
Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,
that I may answer him who reproaches me.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for an adulteress.
Whoever blesses his neighbour with a loud voice,
rising early in the morning,
will be counted as cursing.
A continual dripping on a rainy day
and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
to restrain her is to restrain the wind
or to grasp oil in one’s right hand.
Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.
Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
and he who guards his master will be honoured.
As in water face reflects face,
so the heart of man reflects the man.
Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
and never satisfied are the eyes of man.
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and a man is tested by his praise.
Crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle
along with crushed grain,
yet his folly will not depart from him.
Know well the condition of your flocks,
and give attention to your herds,
for riches do not last for ever;
and does a crown endure to all generations?
When the grass is gone and the new growth appears
and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,
the lambs will provide your clothing,
and the goats the price of a field.
There will be enough goats’ milk for your food,
for the food of your household
and maintenance for your girls.
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.