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
A psalm of David.
Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
with bolts of lightning.
The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.
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
Happy is the person who finds wisdom,
the one who gets understanding.
Wisdom is worth more than silver;
it brings more profit than gold.
Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
nothing you could want is equal to it.
With her right hand wisdom offers you a long life,
and with her left hand she gives you riches and honor.
Wisdom will make your life pleasant
and will bring you peace.
As a tree produces fruit, wisdom gives life to those who use it,
and everyone who uses it will be happy.
The Lord made the earth, using his wisdom.
He set the sky in place, using his understanding.
With his knowledge, he made springs flow into rivers
and the clouds drop rain on the earth.
My child, hold on to wisdom and good sense.
Don’t let them out of your sight.
They will give you life
and beauty like a necklace around your neck.
Then you will go your way in safety,
and you will not get hurt.
When you lie down, you won’t be afraid;
when you lie down, you will sleep in peace.
You won’t be afraid of sudden trouble;
you won’t fear the ruin that comes to the wicked,
because the Lord will keep you safe.
He will keep you from being trapped.
Whenever you are able,
do good to people who need help.
If you have what your neighbor asks for,
don’t say, “Come back later.
I will give it to you tomorrow.”
Don’t make plans to hurt your neighbor
who lives nearby and trusts you.
Don’t accuse a person for no good reason;
don’t accuse someone who has not harmed you.
Don’t be jealous of those who use violence,
and don’t choose to be like them.
The Lord hates those who do wrong,
but he is a friend to those who are honest.
The Lord will curse the evil person’s house,
but he will bless the home of those who do right.
The Lord laughs at those who laugh at him,
but he gives grace to those who are not proud.
Wise people will receive honor,
but fools will be disgraced.
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 Father, we commit to you the work already done today,
Bless the work of our hands and forgive our many errors,
That we may we be empowered to serve you ever more fully. 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.