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 song. A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
How great is the Lord,
how deserving of praise,
in the city of our God,
which sits on his holy mountain!
It is high and magnificent;
the whole earth rejoices to see it!
Mount Zion, the holy mountain,
is the city of the great King!
God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers,
revealing himself as its defender.
The kings of the earth joined forces
and advanced against the city.
But when they saw it, they were stunned;
they were terrified and ran away.
They were gripped with terror
and writhed in pain like a woman in labor.
You destroyed them like the mighty ships of Tarshish
shattered by a powerful east wind.
We had heard of the city’s glory,
but now we have seen it ourselves—
the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
It is the city of our God;
he will make it safe forever. Interlude
O God, we meditate on your unfailing love
as we worship in your Temple.
As your name deserves, O God,
you will be praised to the ends of the earth.
Your strong right hand is filled with victory.
Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice.
Let all the towns of Judah be glad
because of your justice.
Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls,
and tour all the citadels,
that you may describe them
to future generations.
For that is what God is like.
He is our God forever and ever,
and he will guide us until we die.
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
Then the woman approached him,
dressed like a prostitute
and planning to trick him.
She was loud and stubborn
and never stayed at home.
She was always out in the streets or in the city squares,
waiting around on the corners of the streets.
She grabbed him and kissed him.
Without shame she said to him,
“I made my fellowship offering and took some of the meat home.
Today I have kept my special promises.
So I have come out to meet you;
I have been looking for you and have found you.
I have covered my bed
with colored sheets from Egypt.
I have made my bed smell sweet
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Come, let’s make love until morning.
Let’s enjoy each other’s love.
My husband is not home;
he has gone on a long trip.
He took a lot of money with him
and won’t be home for weeks.”
By her clever words she made him give in;
by her pleasing words she led him into doing wrong.
All at once he followed her,
like an ox led to the butcher,
like a deer caught in a trap
and shot through the liver with an arrow.
Like a bird caught in a trap,
he didn’t know what he did would kill him.
Now, my sons, listen to me;
pay attention to what I say.
Don’t let yourself be tricked by such a woman;
don’t go where she leads you.
She has ruined many good men,
and many have died because of her.
Her house is on the road to death,
the road that leads down to the grave.
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 Spirit, guide us through the rest of our day.
May we know your wisdom in our hearts,
Your strength in our bodies,
And your peace in our lives. Amen
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.