PREPARING FOR SERVICES OF WORSHIP EACH SUNDAY

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CALL TO WORSHIP

Prayer of Approach - Hymns - Prayer of Adoration and Praise - Readings from Old Testament - Epistle - Gospel - A Word with the Young - Prayer of Confession - Sermon - Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession - Offertory Prayer - Benediction


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ADVENT 1C

Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Thessalonians 3: 9-13; Luke 21: 25-36


Additional resources for Advent 1C: Advent Wreath with three purple candles and one pink candle, one larger white candle; ALL TOGETHER OK, Openbook Publishers, Adelaide, South Australia, 1996; MARTIN THE COBBLER, Peggy Blakeley, A&C Black, London, 1982; ALL TOGETHER WHATEVER, Openbook Publishers, Adelaide, South Australia, 2001.

CALL TO WORSHIP

Are we ready – God is coming – are we ready?
Advent calls us to make ourselves ready for the birth of Jesus – Emmanuel – God-with-us.
We wait - with the hope that our hearts are ready.
We wait - with anticipation.
We wait - blessed by God’s mercy and love.

TIS 273 Verses 1 and 4: “Lo! He comes with clouds descending”
TIS 275/AHB 203: “Hail to the Lord’s anointed”
TIS 688: “Come to be our hope, O Jesus”
TIS 283: “Long ago, prophets knew Christ would come, born a Jew”

LIGHTING OF THE ADVENT CANDLE (2)

Today is the first Sunday in Advent - the time when we prepare once again for the coming of Jesus. We light a candle to remind us that Jesus brings light into the dark places of the world. Through the prophets, God promised a future shaped by justice and righteousness. Jeremiah gave the people of Israel hope that such a future would be revealed through the ‘righteous Branch’ which would spring from the house of David. We share this hope as we wait for the fulfillment of God’s promise in the birth of Jesus, promised Saviour, Light of the world. We light the candle of hope. The first candle is lit.

TIS 286: “Light one candle for hope” Verse 1
ALL TOGETHER OK 313: Christ be our light” - Verses 1 and 5.

PRAYER OF PRAISE AND ADORATION

Awesome God, creator of all that is, we praise and adore you. Your greatness and glory is far beyond our imagination. Yet you chose to show us the human face of your love by entering this world as we do – as a baby – dwelling among us, full of grace and truth. As we wait once more for this wondrous event - teach us your ways - O God and guide us in your paths. Amen

PRAYER OF CONFESSION (2) Based on Psalm 25:1-4

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
I put my trust in you, O God, do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let those be ashamed who neglect your faithfulness, and who act with evil intent.
Teach me your ways, O God and guide me in your paths.
We bring to mind these things for which we are ashamed - for willfully acting with less than good intentions - for abusing the faithfulness of God by our failure to live faith-full lives.
Forgive us, O God - cleanse our hearts and minds of all that prevents us from loving you and loving our neighbour.
May our lives be marked by faith active in love as we watch and wait for your breaking into our world once more.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen…

SERMON - LUKE 21: 25-36

Four weeks to Christmas is that good news or bad news?

Today, the first Sunday in Advent is the time when we can begin with a complete sense of expectation to look forward to Christmas – even although there is much to be done that isn’t even started. Cards to be bought and posted, food to cook, parties to plan, presents to be bought secretly- Advent is a time when our days are shaped by this sense of looking forward in the knowledge that something good is going to happen.

But that first Christmas – did the shepherds wonder if it was good news or bad news being choired to them by the heavenly host? The message was pretty clear to the angels singing their hearts out. From their point of view they were singing good news, which would bring great joy to all the people. And from our vantage point in history we know that it is good news – “Joy to the World” we will be singing at Christmas and meaning it – ‘The Lord is come let earth receive her King’

So we come on this first Sunday in Advent – hoping for a preview of the Christmas joy – and what do we have? Someone described our gospel as a white hot searing blast enough to singe ones eyebrows ! So, what is the point of such a blast from the lips of Jesus?....

God is intervening into our human world. God is coming, either to grasp us, to redeem us, to judge us. God is coming. Pray, says Jesus that you will be able either to escape or to stand before the Son of Man when he comes…..

Today’s Gospel poses the question – are we ready?

BENEDICTION:

Go into this week
upheld by the promises of God,
blessed by the holiness of Jesus,
made strong by the power of the Holy Spirit.

TIS 779: “May the feet of God walk with you”







CHRISTMAS 1 C

1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26; Psalm 148; Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 2:41-52.


CALL TO WORSHIP Either read Psalm 148 responsively or use the following based on Psalm 148

Praise the Lord of the whole universe - the heavens, the angels, the sun, moon and shining stars.
the earth and everything within it - every animal and bird, every fish and creature of the seas;
every mountain and hill, every tree and plant, every ocean, river and stream, praise the Lord
Praise the Lord every ruler and government, all people of every age and every colour.
Praise the One whose glory the angels sang:”Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace, goodwill among all people.”

TIS 303: “Hark! the herald angels sing”

PRAYER OF PRAISE AND ADORATION

On this day we pause to sing glory with the angels. We sing of peace on all the earth, Blessed by the greatness of God’s love for us. We sing glory to the new born King….

SERMON

A recent newspaper reported how the major department stores were involved in getting ready for their post-Christmas sales. The report said that Boxing Day was spent "de-Christmasing". One person interviewed was pleased that although it had taken 7 days to deck the stores with decorations, it had only taken one day to haul them down again."

Is that all Christmas means?

Lots of preparation, followed by an inordinate haste to dismantle all that is likely to remind us of Christmas.

This apparent need to dismantle Christmas seems to happen sooner and sooner each year. I can remember when our children were small how we would be able to see the animated Christmas oriented windows for some time after Christmas as well as before . I know that I certainly feel a great sense of uneasiness over this haste to replace the pre-Christmas peace and goodwill signs with ones proclaiming post Christmas clearance and bargain sales. Don't get me wrong - I love sales as much - probably with my Scottish blood - more - than the next person. But it is this total dismembering of Christmas that I find so disturbing. …..

The message of the angel to the shepherds spells out the theological implications of this birth in a lowly stable. “Today”, they were told, “your Saviour was born, Christ the Lord". The Messiah prophesied for so long - was finally among them. The recognition that this is indeed the messiah is emphasised through Jesus' presentation in the Temple where the aged pair, Anna and Simeon, representing pious Jewish tradition, recognise that this is the promised Messiah. Writing from the other side of the crucifixion, Luke portrays these two as both representing the past and as open to the future, in contrast to the actual response from the Jewish religious leaders…..

So, what does that all mean for us? I believe that they are transition verses for us as surely as they were for the early church. They are restating that the events of Christmas Day are true - and that even if all the outward trappings of Christmas are falling down around our ears, this in-breaking of God into our human history in the child born at Bethlehem has made possible the inward spiritual gift of grace from which we draw life and strength to move into the future….

We are the church - the Body of Christ set right here. The reading from Colossians clearly gives us the responsibility of being the transition for people between the outward joy of Christmas and the inward experience of grace.

Listen to some of the verses from Colossians again... “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you., so you must also forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." ….

And so, clothed and empowered with the Holy Spirit, let’s move with confidence, anticipation and hope into the as yet unknown landscape of a new year.

BENEDICTION:

The love of God clothe you and bless you,
The peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
The Holy Spirit weave new purpose in your lives.

TIS 675: “Lord, the light of your love is shining” (Shine, Jesus shine)



Click here to play COMING HOME - A short video recorded of Moira telling her story of faith and her journey through a divine encounter into full time ministry.



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