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
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord!
He shouts with joy because you give him victory.
For you have given him his heart’s desire;
you have withheld nothing he requested. Interlude
You welcomed him back with success and prosperity.
You placed a crown of finest gold on his head.
He asked you to preserve his life,
and you granted his request.
The days of his life stretch on forever.
Your victory brings him great honor,
and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty.
You have endowed him with eternal blessings
and given him the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the Lord.
The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.
You will capture all your enemies.
Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you.
You will throw them in a flaming furnace
when you appear.
The Lord will consume them in his anger;
fire will devour them.
You will wipe their children from the face of the earth;
they will never have descendants.
Although they plot against you,
their evil schemes will never succeed.
For they will turn and run
when they see your arrows aimed at them.
Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.
With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.
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
Rewards of Wisdom
My child, listen to what I say
and remember what I command you.
Listen carefully to wisdom;
set your mind on understanding.
Cry out for wisdom,
and beg for understanding.
Search for it like silver,
and hunt for it like hidden treasure.
Then you will understand respect for the Lord,
and you will find that you know God.
Only the Lord gives wisdom;
he gives knowledge and understanding.
He stores up wisdom for those who are honest.
Like a shield he protects the innocent.
He makes sure that justice is done,
and he protects those who are loyal to him.
Then you will understand what is honest and fair
and what is the good and right thing to do.
Wisdom will come into your mind,
and knowledge will be pleasing to you.
Good sense will protect you;
understanding will guard you.
It will keep you from the wicked,
from those whose words are bad,
who don’t do what is right
but what is evil.
They enjoy doing wrong
and are happy to do what is crooked and evil.
What they do is wrong,
and their ways are dishonest.
It will save you from the unfaithful wife
who tries to lead you into adultery with pleasing words.
She leaves the husband she married when she was young.
She ignores the promise she made before God.
Her house is on the way to death;
those who took that path are now all dead.
No one who goes to her comes back
or walks the path of life again.
But wisdom will help you be good
and do what is right.
Those who are honest will live in the land,
and those who are innocent will remain in it.
But the wicked will be removed from the land,
and the unfaithful will be thrown out of it.
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, you worked with your hands as a carpenter.
May we who labour upon the earth never cease to give you praise,
And know your loving presence with us.
We ask this for your glory. 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, and New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. All rights reserved. Other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.