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.
Oh, what joy for those
whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
When I refused to confess my sin,
my body wasted away,
and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude
Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.
For you are my hiding place;
you protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
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
Wisdom Is Important
My children, listen to your father’s teaching;
pay attention so you will understand.
What I am telling you is good,
so do not forget what I teach you.
When I was a young boy in my father’s house
and like an only child to my mother,
my father taught me and said,
“Hold on to my words with all your heart.
Keep my commands and you will live.
Get wisdom and understanding.
Don’t forget or ignore my words.
Hold on to wisdom, and it will take care of you.
Love it, and it will keep you safe.
Wisdom is the most important thing; so get wisdom.
If it costs everything you have, get understanding.
Treasure wisdom, and it will make you great;
hold on to it, and it will bring you honor.
It will be like flowers in your hair
and like a beautiful crown on your head.”
My child, listen and accept what I say.
Then you will have a long life.
I am guiding you in the way of wisdom,
and I am leading you on the right path.
Nothing will hold you back;
you will not be overwhelmed.
Always remember what you have been taught,
and don’t let go of it.
Keep all that you have learned;
it is the most important thing in life.
Don’t follow the ways of the wicked;
don’t do what evil people do.
Avoid their ways, and don’t follow them.
Stay away from them and keep on going,
because they cannot sleep until they do evil.
They cannot rest until they harm someone.
They feast on wickedness and cruelty
as if they were eating bread and drinking wine.
The way of the good person is like the light of dawn,
growing brighter and brighter until full daylight.
But the wicked walk around in the dark;
they can’t even see what makes them stumble.
My child, pay attention to my words;
listen closely to what I say.
Don’t ever forget my words;
keep them always in mind.
They are the key to life for those who find them;
they bring health to the whole body.
Be careful what you think,
because your thoughts run your life.
Don’t use your mouth to tell lies;
don’t ever say things that are not true.
Keep your eyes focused on what is right,
and look straight ahead to what is good.
Be careful what you do,
and always do what is right.
Don’t turn off the road of goodness;
keep away from evil paths.
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 in Bold – Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved
All other Psalms – Scripture quotations are taken from The Living Bible copyright © 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
All other Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.