Weekly Worship for 29.11.2020

Circuit Worship Sheet: Advent Week 1 29th November 2020 prepared by Rev’d Kim Shorley

Call to worship

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Rom.15:13 NRSVA)

Singing the Faith 173

1 Into the darkness of this world,

into the shadows of the night;

into this loveless place you came,

lightened our burdens, eased our pain,

and made these hearts your home.

Into the darkness once again —

O come, Lord Jesus, come.

  Come with your love

  to make us whole,

  come with your light to lead us on,

  driving the darkness far from our     

  souls:

  O come, Lord Jesus, come.

 

2 Into the longing of our souls,

into these heavy hearts of stone,

shine on us now your piercing light,

order our lives and souls aright,

by grace and love unknown,

until in you our hearts unite —

O come, Lord Jesus, come.

  Come with your love

 

3 O Holy Child, Emmanuel,

hope of the ages, God with us,

visit again this broken place,

till all the earth declares your praise

and your great mercies own.

Now let your love be born in us,

O come, Lord Jesus, come.

  Come in your glory,

  take your place,

  Jesus, the Name above all names,

  we long to see you face to face,

  O come, Lord Jesus, come.

Maggi Dawn (b. 1959) Words and Music: © 1993, Thankyou Music.  Administered by worshiptogether.com Songs, excluding UK & Europe, administered by Kingswaysongs, a division of David C Cook <tym@kingsway.co.uk> Used by permission.

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus, we await your coming.

We wait filled with hope, knowing your light will shine in the darkness.

We wait anticipating your peace, believing that one day it will fill our world.

We wait with joy, bubbling up in expectation of your birth.

We wait embracing your love, may we reach out to share it with our neighbours.

Lord we wait, Come soon and fill us with your life.

 

Isaiah 64: 1-9

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down, 

   so that the mountains would quake at your presence—

as when fire kindles brushwood

   and the fire causes water to boil—

to make your name known to your adversaries,

   so that the nations might tremble at your presence!

When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,

   you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

From ages past no one has heard,

   no ear has perceived,

no eye has seen any God besides you,

   who works for those who wait for him.

You meet those who gladly do right,

   those who remember you in your ways.

But you were angry, and we sinned;

   because you hid yourself we transgressed.

We have all become like one who is unclean,

   and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.

We all fade like a leaf,

   and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

There is no one who calls on your name,

   or attempts to take hold of you;

for you have hidden your face from us,

   and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;

   we are the clay, and you are our potter;

   we are all the work of your hand.

Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,

   and do not remember iniquity for ever.

   Now consider, we are all your people.

Prayer of Confession

Holy God, You are the Potter and we are the clay.  But we are aware that today, and yesterday, and the day before that, we have lived as though it’s only about us.  We have lived as though we were the potter, and not the clay.

Hear now our thoughts, our regrets, our confessions for the times when we have acted selfishly, as though only what we want, matters.  

Silent prayers of confession 

With this confession, we remember: You are the Potter, we are the clay.

O Creative One, sometimes when we charge ahead without thinking about how our words and actions will impact others, things turn out wrong or ugly.  We think of broken relationships with family members, with friends, even within the church.

Hear our thoughts and our regrets for the times today and yesterday when things have turned out wrong or kind of ugly.

Silent prayers of confession 

With this confession, we remember: You are the Potter, we are the clay.

O Redeeming One, forgive us when we act with disregard for all that you have created.  Forgive us for over-consuming, for looking for the next new thing and throwing away what is still perfectly good.  Forgive us for the ways we pollute and exploit your good earth.  Forgive us for oil spills and land mines and many other things we do that destroy and maim your creation.

Hear our thoughts and our regrets for the ways that we have taken your creation for granted.

Silent prayers of confession 

With this confession, we remember: You are the Potter, we are the clay.

O Sustaining One, why did we think that we could be in charge and it would turn out right?

We come longing for a change in our heart, for healing, for new opportunities to get the order of things right.

With this confession, we remember that the right order is that…You are the Potter, we are the clay.

Assurance of Pardon

God is the Potter, we are the Clay.  When we are cracked and broken, God helps to bring us back together.  Sometimes we don’t feel the same afterwards, but God uses every piece, and offers us the newness of life to begin again. Amen.

 

Songs of Fellowship 311

Jesus, you are changing me,

By Your Spirit You’re making me like You.

Jesus, You’re transforming me,

That Your loveliness may be seen in all I do.

You are the potter and I am the clay,

Help me to be willing to let You have Your way.

Jesus, You are changing me,

As I let You reign supreme within my heart. 

Marilyn Baker. Copyright © 1981 Word’s Spirit of Praise Music/Adm. by CopyCare.

 

Mark 13: 24-37 

The Coming of the Son of Man

‘But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

 

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

 

The Necessity for Watchfulness

‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

 

Reflection: ‘Are we there yet’ 

 

As a child I have asked this, sometimes only seconds after having heard “no not yet”, and as a parent I have answered that question many times (and through gritted teeth) “soon, real soon, we’re only a few minutes away” (despite sometimes still being miles away).   

 

Advent provokes us with a paradox, the ‘already/not yet’ of discipleship.  Whilst we await a season that celebrates his birth, we, as followers of ‘the way’, already know that through his life, death and resurrection Jesus has established the means through which we are drawn into a relationship with God, but not yet do we live in full communion with God and all the heavenly hosts.  

 

Our Gospel reading from Mark continues the theme that the Matthew readings have asked us to consider these past few weeks: beware, keep alert, keep awake otherwise we may miss Jesus in our midst.  However, our readiness to which we are called is not to be shaped by fear, but rather in hope.  A hope of the kingdom lifestyle that God offers to us through, and in Christ.

 

Yet, as we note from our Isaiah reading, God’s prophets have had a long history of watching, waiting, even wailing for God to ‘tear open the heavens and come down.’  Indeed, one of the key features of Jewish apocalyptic literature is a strong belief in the connection that exists between earth and heaven.

 

So perhaps this year we might wish to reflect on the possibility that it is God who is asking of us as communities and as individuals ‘are we there yet?’ 

 

And whilst culturally (and maybe spiritually) we may look around and declare that we are still miles away, God actively searches the horizon for our arrival, and waits with hope…

 

. . . waits with hope for this to be the day when we will notice that as people created in the Divine image, God made all, loves all and calls all.  For each of us is born with unique gifts and qualities as well as deficiencies and lack of qualities. God sees our goodness, and waits for us to notice them too.

  

 . . . waits with hope for this to be the day when we will notice the myriad ways in which God is with us, always. We can know the Creator, Father and Mother to us all in the beauty and amazing capacities of creation, both earth and human.  We can know the Redeeming Son when we give and receive the gift of sacrificial love.  We can know the Sustaining Spirit when we cannot explain or understand transformation, in ourselves and in others. 

 

. . . waits with hope for this to be the day when we will notice that the emptiness in our hearts can only be filled by the promise of God's own Self, rather than the empty promises of shopping satisfaction that Black Friday offers, especially with all the bills that might follow.  

 

. . . waits with hope for this to be the day when we will turn from our old ways to the paths of righteousness.  God waits for us to admit what we have done, and failed to do, so we might be forgiven and granted new life.

 

. . . waits with hope for this to be the day when we will be God’s Agents of hope in our communities both in prayer-filled and practical hope-filled assistance to others in their struggles.  

 

As the past two weeks Gospel readings reminded us, already is the kingdom of God evident, but not yet is that realm fully established. 

 

To live the ‘already/not yet’ between times is to then trust and hope in what God has begun, and is continuing to do.  

 

This hope isn’t just optimism or wishful thinking about what might be. It’s not just ‘hoping for the best’ or being positive when we could be miserable. Hope is a vision of how things will be when all things come to fulfilment. Hope is rooted in faith in God and in a deep trust in God’s power to transform things. For Christians, hope is also a commitment to a way of life lived in the light of God’s purposes in Christ.

 

So this year as we begin our journey through Advent let us allow not only the message of hope, but also of peace, joy and love to become part of our daily discipleship journey (and I do hope that you have received your copy of the circuit’s Advent daily devotional booklet and that you will find it helpful) as together we live out our Advent faith where we daily wait with hope and with the expectation to see God at work in our lives, in our communities, and in our world.  

Amen

 

For Further Conversation

* What do you enjoy about waiting? What do you find difficult?

* Where do you see the ‘Already/Not yet’ features of Advent?

* What do you most hope for?

 

And so we pray: Advent God, come: come to all who wait for justice, come and judge the nations, come and reconcile our conflicts. 

Advent God, come: come, like a master returning to his house, find us ready in the darkness, mindful of the cost, but watchful for the dawn of salvation in our midst. 

Advent God, come: come, with justice and with mercy, bringing peace and forgiveness, strengthen our faith and hope in you, come, Lord come.  Amen

 

Singing the Faith 180

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,

and ransom captive Israel,

that mourns in lonely exile here

until the Son of God appear:

  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Immanuel

  shall come to you, O Israel.

 

2 O come, O come, O Lord of might

who to your tribes, on Sinai's height,

in ancient times did give the law

in cloud, and majesty, and awe:

  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  

 

3 O come, O Rod of Jesse, free

your own from Satan's tyranny;

from depths of hell your people save,

and give them victory o'er the grave:

  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  

 

4 O come, O Key of David, come,

and open wide our heavenly home;

make safe the way that leads on high,

and close the path to misery:

  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  

 

5 O come, O Day-spring, come and cheer

our spirits by your advent here;

disperse the gloomy clouds of night,

and death's dark shadows put to flight:

  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  

Latin, 18th century, based on the ancient Advent Antiphons translated by John Mason Neale (1811–1866)

 

Prayers of Intercession

We pray, loving God, for hope in our hearts.  We name before You now ourselves, and those individuals known to us who are anxious, ill, alone, afraid or hurting… 

 

We pray, listening God, for hope in our communities. In the midst of political strife, social upheaval, economic stress and neighbourhood arguments may all decision-makers know the art of compassionate conversation.  We pray for calmness and wisdom in our world leaders – may they know the delight of diversity when opinions differ. 

 

We pray, living God, for hope in our world.  In the midst of war, angry words, broken homes, we pray for all who live in fear. May the leaders and governments of our world nurture peace and let hope be found, 

 

Gracious God, you are our comforter and our hope.  Hear your people's prayers as they come before you as we share in the prayer that Jesus taught.

Traditional Form       Modern Form

   Our Father, who art in heaven, Our Father in heaven,

   hallowed be thy name; hallowed be your Name,

   thy kingdom come;   your kingdom come;

   thy will be done; your will be done;

   on earth as it is in heaven. on earth as in heaven.

   Give us this day our daily bread. Give us this day our daily bread.

   And forgive us our trespasses,   Forgive us our sins

   as we forgive those who trespass against us. as we forgive those who sin against us.

   And lead us not into temptation; Save us from the time of trial

   but deliver us from evil. and deliver us from evil.

   For thine is the kingdom, the power For the kingdom, the power

   and the glory, for ever and ever and the glory are yours, now and for ever.

   Amen .

 

Singing the Faith 185

1 Sing we the King who is coming to reign;

glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain!

Life and salvation his empire shall bring,

joy to the nations when Jesus is King:

    Come let us sing: praise to our King,

  Jesus our King, Jesus our King:

  this is our song, who to Jesus belong:

  glory to Jesus, to Jesus our King.

 

2 All shall be well in his kingdom of peace;

freedom shall flourish and wisdom increase;

justice and truth from his sceptre shall spring;

wrong shall be ended when Jesus is King:

  Come let us sing: praise to our King,

 

3 Souls shall be saved from the burden of sin;

doubt shall not darken his witness within;

hell has no terrors, and death has no sting;

love is victorious when Jesus is King:

  Come let us sing: praise to our King,

 

4 Kingdom of Christ, for your coming we pray;

hasten, O Father, the dawn of the day

when this new song your creation shall sing;

Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King:

  Come let us sing: praise to our King,

Charles Silvester Horne (1865–1914)

 

Blessing

The day of the Lord is surely coming

Be faithful in worship,

Unwavering in hope,

Fervent in the work of God’s kingdom

And all the more as you see the Day drawing near. 

Amen.  

 

Please be assured that members of the church are still here if you need anything at all during this time.  

Circuit staff can be contacted by calling 01933 312778 for Rev’d Lesley Dinham / 01933 622137 for Rev’d Kim Shorley.  

 

Words for the hymns are re-produced from Singing the Faith Music Edition. CCLI reproduced under licence No. 1759067.


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