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.
Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion;
they will not be defeated but will endure forever.
Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forever.
The wicked will not rule the land of the godly,
for then the godly might be tempted to do wrong.
O Lord, do good to those who are good,
whose hearts are in tune with you.
But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O Lord.
Take them away with those who do evil.
May Israel have 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
Whoever guarantees to pay somebody else’s loan will suffer.
It is safer to avoid such promises.
A kind woman gets respect,
but cruel men get only wealth.
Kind people do themselves a favor,
but cruel people bring trouble on themselves.
An evil person really earns nothing,
but a good person will surely be rewarded.
Those who are truly good will live,
but those who chase after evil will die.
The Lord hates those with evil hearts
but is pleased with those who are innocent.
Evil people will certainly be punished,
but those who do right will be set free.
A beautiful woman without good sense
is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.
Those who do right only wish for good,
but the wicked can expect to be defeated by God’s anger.
Some people give much but get back even more.
Others don’t give what they should and end up poor.
Whoever gives to others will get richer;
those who help others will themselves be helped.
People curse those who keep all the grain,
but they bless the one who is willing to sell it.
Whoever looks for good will find kindness,
but whoever looks for evil will find trouble.
Those who trust in riches will be ruined,
but a good person will be healthy like a green leaf.
Whoever brings trouble to his family
will be left with nothing but the wind.
A fool will be a servant to the wise.
A good person gives life to others;
the wise person teaches others how to live.
Good people will be rewarded on earth,
and the wicked and the sinners will be punished.
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
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.