Year III: Week 2 of Advent

Tuesday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

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

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 24 (Domini est terra)

All: 

The King of Glory and His Kingdom
A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who live upon it.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.  

All:  
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 45

The Glories of the Messiah and His Bride
To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.” A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love.

My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One,
With Your glory and Your majesty.
And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, andrighteousness;
And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies;
The peoples fall under You.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia,
Out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your honorable women;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.

Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father’s house;
So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.
And the daughter of Tyre will come with a gift;
The rich among the people will seek your favor.

The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace;
Her clothing is woven with gold.
She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors;
The virgins, her companions who follow her, shall be brought to You.
With gladness and rejoicing they shall be brought;
They shall enter the King’s palace.

Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons,
Whom You shall make princes in all the earth.
I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.

All:  
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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Almighty God, we thank you for keeping us safe through the night and giving us the gift of a new day. May we know your presence and love as we seek to follow you…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.
  • For opportunities to share your love and eyes to notice those on the Jericho Road today…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.
  • For the supply of our needs and hearts willing to share with those in lack…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call

Family & Friends

  • Father of all, we ask that our families may be kept from all harm and that more and more they may experience your power and grace. May they be overwhelmed by your goodness…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.
  • For restoration of broken relationships, and strengthening of those that are weak…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.
  • For those who are seeking you for direction in life and peace of heart…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.

 The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for your people, whom you have redeemed by your blood. That your church may be without blemish or wrinkle, kept as a pure and spotless bride. Bring unity to your people…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.
  • For the churches in our area, their leaders and ministers. For strength, vision and joy…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.
  • For the work of Churches Together, that your people may be one…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.

 The World

  • Father of the fatherless, we bring our world to you. Grant peace in our time, revival in our nation, integrity in our government and righteousness in our places of power. May the poor be fed, the broken restored and the crooked ways be made straight…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.
  • For areas of war and displacement. Bless the peacemakers and break the power of Satan.
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.
  • For those who will go hungry today, those who may die and those who have no hope…
              –  Lord, answer us when we call.


THE LORD’S
 PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.  Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 6:1-14

Do Not Be Anxious

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Community: The Principle of Stability.

Conscious that a tree often uprooted and replanted will become stunted and weak, I commit myself to the Principle of Stability. As a follower of the Way of Community, I will avoid moving from church to church, group to group and ministry to ministry, but will learn to blossom where I am planted.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Stability.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us;
And, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
Let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
To whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
Be honor and glory, now and for ever.  Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may God himself, the God of peace, make you perfect and holy,
And keep you safe and blameless, in spirit, soul and body,
For the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Standard
Year III: Week 2 of Advent

Monday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries.  It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep.  It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:   
God, come to my assistance
All: 
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


EXAMINATION OF
 CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.  


Pause for Reflection…

All:  (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Pause for Reflection…

Reader:   
Lord, Have mercy.
All: 
Lord, have mercy.  
Reader:   
Christ, Have mercy.  
All: 
Christ, have mercy. 
Reader:   
Lord, Have mercy.
All: 
Lord, have mercy.  


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 8

The Glory of the Lord in Creation
To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

All:  
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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Revelation 8:1-13

The Seventh Seal and the Golden Censer

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne, and the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

The Seven Trumpets

Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them.

The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.

The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice as it flew directly overhead, “Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!”

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:   
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All: 
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:   
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All: 
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON 
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
    your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
   which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
    and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:  
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

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER 

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever,  Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end.  Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Standard
Year III: Week 2 of Advent

Monday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

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

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 24 (Domini est terra)

All: 

The King of Glory and His Kingdom
A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who live upon it.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.  

All:  
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 40

Faith Persevering in Trial
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust,
And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered.

Sacrifice and offering You did not desire;
My ears You have opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”

I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
Lord, You Yourself know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your loving kindness and Your truth
From the great assembly.

Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord;
Let Your loving kindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
For innumerable evils have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up;
They are more than the hairs of my head;
Therefore my heart fails me.

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me;
Lord, make haste to help me!
Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion
Who seek to destroy my life;
Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor
Who wish me evil.
Let them be confounded because of their shame,
Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let such as love Your salvation say continually,
“The Lord be magnified!”
But I am poor and needy;
Yet the Lord thinks upon me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.

All:

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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Almighty God, we thank you for the blessings of the weekend and the promise of this new week. Come and fill our hearts with confidence as we continue our journey this day…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer
  • For wisdom, faith, endurance and the power to overcome sin, self and Satan…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.
  • For provision for our needs, health to our bones and joy in our hearts…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.

 Family and Friends

  • Father of all, we ask for our families that they may be preserved from all harm, that every need shall be supplied and that your blessing may be upon them…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.
  • For those who don’t yet know you, that you would draw them by your love…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.
  • For those who struggle and suffer, that you would comfort them by your Spirit…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer. 

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for your Bride, the Church; that in this Advent season as we consider your arrival in Bethlehem, she may be found ready for your second coming at the end of the age…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.
  • For the members of our church, as they head to their places of work…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.
  • For our children and young people that they might be protected in their schools…
              –   Lord, hear our prayer.

 The World

  • Heavenly Father, we bring our nation to you. Have mercy upon her sins, grant wisdom to her leaders, give peace to our streets and favour to your people.
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.
  • For our Government, our Prime Minister and all in parliament…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.
    For Local Councils and all those who work and labour in our communities…
              –  Lord, hear our prayer.


THE LORD’S
 PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever,  Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 6:16-24

Fasting

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Community: The Principle of Transparency.

Remembering that scripture encourages us to “confess your sins to one another that you might be healed”, I embrace the Principle of Transparency. As a follower of the Way of Community, I will be open with my church community about my personal struggles and failures, avoiding wearing a mask that would make me appear better than I really am.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Transparency.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets,
To preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:
Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins,
That we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our
Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may God himself, the God of peace, make you perfect and holy,
And keep you safe and blameless in spirit, soul and body,
For the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year III: Week 2 of Advent

Sunday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries.  It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep.  It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:   
God, come to my assistance
All: 
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


EXAMINATION OF
 CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.  

Pause for Reflection…

All:  (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Pause for Reflection…

Reader:   
Lord, Have mercy.
All: 
Lord, have mercy.  
Reader:   
Christ, Have mercy.  
All: 
Christ, have mercy. 
Reader:   
Lord, Have mercy.
All: 
Lord, have mercy.  


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 4

The Safety of the Faithful

To the Chief Musician. With stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.
How long, O you sons of men,
Will you turn my glory to shame?
How long will you love worthlessness
And seek falsehood? Selah

Know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say,
“Who will show us any good?”

Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

All:  
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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Revelation 7:1-17

The 144,000 of Israel Sealed

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

12,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
12,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
12,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
12,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.

A Great Multitude from Every Nation

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.

Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:   
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All: 
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:   
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All: 
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON 
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
    your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
   which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
    and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:  
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

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER 

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever,  Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end.  Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year III: Week 2 of Advent

Sunday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

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

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 100 (Jubilate Deo)

All: 

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

All:  
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 34

The Happiness of Those Who Trust in God
A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
And delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
And delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He guards all his bones;
Not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked,
And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

All:

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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests:

  • Almighty God, we praise you for bringing us to another Lord’s Day! We pray that today might bring glory in your House, refreshment to our families and challenge to our souls. Give us faith to expect the impossible.
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For compassionate hearts as we minister and expansive hearts as we worship…
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For a fresh anointing of your Spirit and obedient hearts to live the life we profess…
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.

Family and Friends:

  • Father of all, fill our families with your goodness today. We call back wayward children, declare newness in our relationships and restoration over all that the locust has eaten.
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For those we are seeking to reach with your gospel…
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For those who are struggling with mental and physical illness…
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.

The Church:

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for our church, it’s leaders and ministries. May our numbers be multiplied, our faith be strengthened, our leaders be empowered and our love be unbounded. May our Sunday meetings be full, fruitful and touched by fire…
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For those who lead and serve in your House today, that they may do so with the anointing of your Spirit and supernatural ability.
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  •  For all who teach our children about faith – may they be inspired to speak your Word.
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For visitors and those on the fringes of faith – may they encounter you this morning…
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.

The World:

  • God of grace we place our world into your hands. Revive your people and awaken humanity to the call of Christ. As we gather to worship today let your church bear witness to the reality of the Kingdom and let nations bow down to your light.
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For the leaders of the nations of the world – open their hearts to your wisdom and light…
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.
  • For those who have no voice and cannot speak – let the downtrodden be lifted and the solitary brought into families…
              –  Lord, send your Word and set us free.


THE LORD’S
 PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.  Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 6:1-15 

Giving to the Needy

“Beware of practising your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

The Lord’s Prayer

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Community: The Principle of Forgiveness.

Aware that without constant diligence all humans are prone to conflict, I make it my solemn commitment to walk in forgiveness with my brothers and sisters. As a follower of the Way of Community, I would rather be wronged than break the bond of love and rather turn the other check than retaliate.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Forgiveness.

Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Almighty God,
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness,
And to put on the armour of light,
Now in the time of this mortal life,
In which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
That on the last day,
When he shall come again in his glorious majesty
To judge the living and the dead,
We may rise to the life immortal;
Through him who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and for ever. Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.  Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year III: Week 1 of Advent

Saturday: Compline

ABOUT COMPLINE

Compline (which comes from the Latin word for completion) follows a very ancient format that has been largely unchanged for many centuries.  It is simple enough to memorise and it’s familiar rhythm helps to wonderfully settle the mind before sleep.  It is a time of quietness and reflection and is best done as the very last thing you do before turning off the lights and going to sleep.


CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader:   
God, come to my assistance
All: 
Lord, make haste to help me.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


EXAMINATION OF
 CONSCIENCE

We are called to have a clear conscience towards God and towards men, in our hearts and in our minds, in our actions and inactions. To do so, it is vital that we examine our conscience daily and ask for God’s mercy as we fall short and to ask His strength to do better.  


Pause for Reflection…

All:  (When praying in community, use the words in parenthesis)

I confess to God almighty,
(and to you my brothers and sisters,)
that I have greatly sinned,
In my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
Through my fault, through my foolishness,
And through my fear.

Almighty God, have mercy upon me.
Forgive me all my sins,
and deliver me from all evil.
Confirm and strengthen me in all goodness,
and bring me to life everlasting.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.


Pause for Reflection…

Reader:   
Lord, Have mercy.
All: 
Lord, have mercy.  
Reader:   
Christ, Have mercy.  
All: 
Christ, have mercy. 
Reader:   
Lord, Have mercy.
All: 
Lord, have mercy.  


EVENING PSALM

Psalm 51

A Prayer of Repentance
To the Chief Musician.  A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your loving kindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

All:  
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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


NEW TESTAMENT READING

Revelation 6:1-17

The Seven Seals

Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer.

When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come!” And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.

When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures, saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius, and do not harm the oil and wine!”

When he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a quarter of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale. The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…


RESPONSORY

Reader:   
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
All: 
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Reader:   
You have redeemed us, Lord God of truth.
All: 
I commend my spirit.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.


SONG OF SIMEON 
(Nunc Dimitis)

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.

Luke 2:29-32

Lord, now let your servant depart in peace,
    your word has been fulfilled:
My own eyes have seen the salvation,
   which you have prepared in the sight of all people.
A light to reveal you to the nations,
    and the glory of your people, Israel.

All:  
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

All:
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we may keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, may rest in his peace.


PRAYER 

(You might like to spend a few moments thanking God for the day or bringing to him any outstanding issues.)


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Be present, O God,
And protect us through the silent hours of this night,
So that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
May rest upon your eternal changelessness.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your son our Lord,
Who is alive and reigns with you,
In the unity of the Spirit,
One God, now and forever,  Amen


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful end.  Amen


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Year III: Week 1 of Advent

Saturday: Morning Prayer

ABOUT TODAY

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

Reader:
Lord, Open my lips.
All: 
And my mouth will give you praise.

Reader:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  
All:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen


INVITATORY PSALM:  

Psalm 24 (Domini est terra)

All: 

The King of Glory and His Kingdom
A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who live upon it.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face.  Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.  

All:  
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


MORNING PSALM

Psalm 32

The Joy of Forgiveness
A Psalm of David. A Contemplation.

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.  Selah
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.  Selah

For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.  Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

All:  
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


WORSHIP

All:  
(A time of worship and thanksgiving, led or spontaneous.  Alternatively a devotional song may be played and listened to.)


PRAYER & INTERCESSION

Reader:
Let us pray for the day and its tasks, for the church and her life, and for the world and its needs.

(You may use these prayers as written or use them as ‘prayer pointers’ for your own spontaneous petitions.

Personal Requests

  • Mighty Lord, as we begin the weekend, we place our focus on you who said, “Come aside and rest awhile.” Renew our hearts and strengthen our bodies we pray. Reveal your Son in us, and conform us to your image.
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For an open heart to receive your grace and open ears to hear your word…
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For the ability to be an instrument of your peace and a channel of reconciliation…
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.

Family & Friends

  • Lord Jesus, you came at Advent to make of every nation a single people that you call not only your family but your friends. May we truly be found to be the friends of God today as we follow Him who was the friend of sinners.
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For those who live on the fringes of our community – give us grace to include them into our world.
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For agencies and individuals who work to build family amongst the dispossessed and friendship with those who struggle in loneliness…
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.

The Church

  • Lord Jesus, we pray for your Bride, the Church; that this week she may grow strong in faith and in the unity of the Holy Spirit. We ask that her numbers will daily increase and her love for you be ever more fervent.
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For those who bring your word to our streets, for Street Pastors, Street Evangelism Teams and all forms of outreach…
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For those who bring mercy to our cities, for the work of Food Bank, Homeless Night Shelters, the agencies of practical aid and the many other expressions of Christian charity…
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For the destitute and homeless, may their needs be met and a bright future secured…
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.

The World

  • Ever Living God, we bring the nations to you and ask for the restoration of great missionary activity, that the forces of darkness may be pushed back. As we are called to a prophetic vocation in Christ, may we proclaim your mighty deeds!
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For communities bound in fear and ungodly traditions that bring people into emotional and mental slavery…
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.
  • For the ongoing work of our partners in India.  May they go from strength to strength and know protection, favour and spiritual power.
              –  Lord, bring to completion the work you have begun.


THE LORD’S
 PRAYER

Reader: 
And so we pray…

All:   
Our Father in heaven,
Holy is Your Name.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
Forever and ever.   Amen.


GOSPEL READING

Matthew 5:43-48

Love Your Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Reader:      
The Word of the Lord.
All:  
Thanks be to God.


Pause for Reflection…

READING: THE WAY OF CHRIST (Optional)

Principle of discipleship drawn from the book, “The Way of Christ”

Reader:
The Way of Community: The Principle of Small Groups.

Mindful that the excitement of celebration must be balanced with the growth that can only happen in a smaller group, I commit myself to being part of a smaller midweek gatheringmy church’s small group network. As a follower of the Way of Community, I dedicate myself to the support and encouragement of this group of like-minded pilgrims.

All:
This is The Way of Community: The Principle of Small Groups.


Pause for Reflection…


THE APOSTLES CREED

Reader
And so we make our declaration of faith…

All:  
We believe in God the Father, Almighty,
Maker of heaven and earth:
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead, and buried:
He descended into the grave;
The third day he rose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
And sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
From there he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
We believe in the Holy Spirit;
The Holy Worldwide Church;
The Communion of Saints;
The Forgiveness of sins;
The Resurrection of the body,
And the Life everlasting.  Amen.


COLLECT

Reader:
(Either this or an alternative closing prayer may be said.)

Father, all-powerful God,
Your eternal Word took flesh on our earth,
When the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan.
Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice which announces his glory,
And open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.


BLESSING

Reader:
(When praying in community, this or a similar blessing may be used)

And may God the Son, coming among us in power,
Reveal in our midst the promise of his glory.  Amen.


Psalms taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.  Other Scripture taken from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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