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 for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem.
I look up to the mountains—
does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
both now and forever.
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
Having lots of money protects the rich,
but having no money destroys the poor.
Good people are rewarded with life,
but evil people are paid with punishment.
Whoever accepts correction is on the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction will lead others away from life.
Whoever hides hate is a liar.
Whoever tells lies is a fool.
If you talk a lot, you are sure to sin;
if you are wise, you will keep quiet.
The words of a good person are like pure silver,
but an evil person’s thoughts are worth very little.
Good people’s words will help many others,
but fools will die because they don’t have wisdom.
The Lord’s blessing brings wealth,
and no sorrow comes with it.
A foolish person enjoys doing wrong,
but a person with understanding enjoys doing what is wise.
Evil people will get what they fear most,
but good people will get what they want most.
A storm will blow the evil person away,
but a good person will always be safe.
A lazy person affects the one he works for
like vinegar on the teeth or smoke in the eyes.
Whoever respects the Lord will have a long life,
but the life of an evil person will be cut short.
A good person can look forward to happiness,
but an evil person can expect nothing.
The Lord will protect good people
but will ruin those who do evil.
Good people will always be safe,
but evil people will not remain in the land.
A good person says wise things,
but a liar’s tongue will be stopped.
Good people know the right thing to say,
but evil people only tell lies.
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
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.