Call to worship
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
Who has come to his people and set them free.
To show mercy to our forebears,
And to remember God’s holy covenant.
We are free to worship God without fear,
Holy and righteous before God all the days of our life.
(Adapted from Luke 1 -Song of Zechariah)
SIS 587 “Make way, make way for Christ the King” Graham Kendrick. Make way for him who changed everything forever, which could only happen because people welcomed him into their lives
Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving A prayer thanking God for sending Jesus into the world, revealing his nature and will to us. He showed God's truth, and by the Holy Spirit, we are strengthened for life's journey. You are God and we praise you. Amen
Prayer of Confession Holy and awesome God, you have done all that is necessary for salvation. You lift us up, you enable us, and in Christ, you allow us to be victors over temptation. Forgive us if we seem ungrateful. We admit that we are unworthy of your goodness to us. Forgive us and make us new, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Words of Assurance Christ is God's pledge of salvation. Let us celebrate the freedom won for us. Thank be to God. Amen
Thanks be to God.
Advent Candlelighting- Jan & Joan lit the second Advent candle, the Candle of Hope symbolizing the hope Jesus brings to the world.
Christmas bowl - Zimbabwe –Jan reminded us that we are supporting the farmers in southern province who need support in providing food for the population.
HymnTIS 533 “I come with joy to meet my Lord” The love that made us, made us one. Bound together, we will go our different ways to live and speak his praise.
Communion 1 Corinthians 11: 23 "For I received from the Lord what I also handed onto you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."
I always find this service almost overwhelming in the impact it makes upon me. The sense of oneness with God and with my fellow worshippers is so deep.
Bible Readings Delivered by Warwick. Malachi 3:1-4 These words must have brought great hope to those Jews who had been faithful to God but who despaired at the lack of faithfulness among other Jews and among the Priesthood, .
Luke 1: 68-79. Luke 3:1-6 The announcement of the birth of John the Baptist and Zechariah's song of praise. Then the beginning of John's ministry, announcing the coming of Jesus. Then the world changed.
Sermon- Preparing the way for Jesus’ coming- how are we getting ready? Jan introduced her message with a reminder of the sorts of preparations that are made for visits by VIPs. She went on to tell of the preparations that were made for the coming of Jesus. In Malachi we hear of how the rebuilding of the second Temple had not fulfilled the expectations of everyone and much was still amiss among the people and the priests, in terms of their worship of God and obedience to the law.
In the middle of this, God promises a messenger. This messenger was to prepare the way of the Lord. "For he is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap" both of which had the function of cleansing and purifying. We are all probably aware of John's special birth and his different lifestyle and strong ministry, which was foretold in the Song of Zachariah, part of which says "...to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke1: 77&79.
"There are always such great hopes and dreams for each new life that begins, that we can pray for each one of us to fulfill the role and purpose God has in mind for us...". John's baptism was a call to repentance and forgiveness, a sign of what Jesus would accomplish through his "teaching, his example and ultimately by his death and resurrection."
"John the Baptist proclaimed a message of repentance and forgiveness", this now being available to us through God's great love, and laying upon us the responsibility to proclaim that message to others, through actions and words.
Christmas is a time we can show this love in many ways. How can we share the gifts of hope, peace, love and joy?
Hymn TIS 636 “God has spoken to his people, hallelujah” Every reason to praise him. He has reached out to us, offering us a life of wholeness.
Offering Of God's great blessings to us we offer back a little to aid in his work in the community.
Musical interlude before prayer when we reflect on our private concerns.
Prayers of Intercession – Grahame asked us, at this time, to reflect upon the transformational impact of the birth of Jesus and prayed that the good news of joy will be known to all facing injustice. He prayed that all will know peace and asked for God's hand on TEAR partners in Asia and Africa. He prayed for all fleeing persecution and violence and pleaded for just government policies. He then turned to the concerns of the congregation and asked for God's blessing on Jan and the church leadership and on Max as he leaves us to join a new church.
Hymn TIS 272 “Come thou long expected Jesus
Blessing The blessing of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you, always.
Blessing song TIS 778 ‘Shalom to you now’