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
Why are the nations so angry?
Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
the rulers plot together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.
“Let us break their chains,” they cry,
“and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then in anger he rebukes them,
terrifying them with his fierce fury.
For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”
The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.
Today I have become your Father.
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
the whole earth as your possession.
You will break them with an iron rod
and smash them like clay pots.’”
Now then, you kings, act wisely!
Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,
and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
But what joy for all who take refuge in him!
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
The Importance of Proverbs
These are the wise words of Solomon son of David, king of Israel.
They teach wisdom and self-control;
they will help you understand wise words.
They will teach you how to be wise and self-controlled
and will teach you to do what is honest and fair and right.
They make the uneducated wise
and give knowledge and sense to the young.
Wise people can also listen and learn;
even they can find good advice in these words.
Then anyone can understand wise words and stories,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
Knowledge begins with respect for the Lord,
but fools hate wisdom and discipline.
Warnings Against Evil
My child, listen to your father’s teaching
and do not forget your mother’s advice.
Their teaching will be like flowers in your hair
or a necklace around your neck.
My child, if sinners try to lead you into sin,
do not follow them.
They will say, “Come with us.
Let’s ambush and kill someone;
let’s attack some innocent people just for fun.
Let’s swallow them alive, as death does;
let’s swallow them whole, as the grave does.
We will take all kinds of valuable things
and fill our houses with stolen goods.
Come join us,
and we will share with you stolen goods.”
My child, do not go along with them;
do not do what they do.
They are eager to do evil
and are quick to kill.
It is useless to spread out a net
right where the birds can see it.
But sinners will fall into their own traps;
they will only catch themselves!
All greedy people end up this way;
greed kills selfish people.
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 also.)
Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, and New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.