As we enter the final countdown to Christmas, our Gospel readings begin telling the great story of our Lord’s birth. The Psalms continue their crescendo through the Songs of Ascent and our readings in the book of Revelation begin to draw to a climax in the Second Coming of Christ.
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
Blessed Unity of the People of God
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—
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
Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor,
but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
If one is burdened with the blood of another,
he will be a fugitive until death;
let no one help him.
Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered,
but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
A faithful man will abound with blessings,
but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
To show partiality is not good,
but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.
A stingy man hastens after wealth
and does not know that poverty will come upon him.
Whoever rebukes a man will afterwards find more favour
than he who flatters with his tongue.
Whoever robs his father or his mother
and says, “That is no transgression”,
is a companion to a man who destroys.
A greedy man stirs up strife,
but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Whoever gives to the poor will not want,
but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.
When the wicked rise, people hide themselves,
but when they perish, the righteous increase.
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.