Prelude Music to prepare for worship
Call to Worship - (Karen Ellis, Abingdon 2016)
"A light shines in the darkness. A prayer for peace is uttered in the silence. God’s people gather to wait with hope." We were reminded that as we enter into this time of worship it is time to leave behind any animosity within, which is incompatible with our approaching the God of love, and to quieten our minds and focus on worshipping him.
Advent Candle: Hope
Come let us worship the God who invites us to enter this space we call Advent – a space of mindfulness where the life of the spirit touches us at the point of deepest meaning and mystery...
This is a time of opportunity: opportunity to centre ourselves on one of the central events of our faith. The event where in the darkness of our world we are given the promise of being able to turn to the light. This is a time when we recall that God is always present and to wait upon that presence. To open ourselves to that presence, so that others will be aware of it within our lives.
Hymn TIS 265: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
"God of hope, we come before you full of expectation for what lies ahead." John continued to pray, speaking of the excitement of the celebration to come and the need to prepare ourselves to be open to God's grace: grace that will meet that longing for peace and reconciliation - between ourselves; between us and God and throughout the whole world. If we do this without holding back, anything is possible. Amen.
A Prayer of Confession
Merciful God, how many times have we wandered?...Loving God, help us turn our lives to you, that we may be ready when your Son is born, among us and within us. Amen.
Declaration of Forgiveness
Jesus proclaims, “Keep awake.” Brothers and sisters, awaken to a new day— a day when our lives are filled with the forgiveness and the mercy of our loving God. Thanks be to God!
The Peace. Peace be within you! And also with you
Holy One, take these gifts and turn them into merciful actions for your children everywhere. May these gifts be the spark that allows others to walk in your light, and to dwell in your love. Amen.
Hymn TIS 276: "There's a light upon the mountain”
The First Reading: Alan read to us from: Isaiah 2:1-5. Isaiah saw that the house of Jacob held the message that led to wholeness and justice in the world. For me, there are people who live the wisdom of God and to whom I look for example and inspiration.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 24:36-44. This warns the people that they will get no warning of the judgement. For those who live close to God, this is not any sort of threat and not so important for us who have thrown ourselves upon God's mercy.
For the Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Preaching of the Word A View from Above - Isaiah 2:1-5
John reminded us of all the extra pressure that people experience at Christmas time.
John told us of the increase in depression and suicide rates at Christmas time and a medical practitioner friend of mine told me that 3 o'clock Christmas Day sees the highest number of psychiatric hospital admissions of the whole year.
It's the most joyous time of the year, for Christians and many others but it doesn't require much imagination to see why it all turns bad for some. How can we guard the preciousness of Christmas while providing a special time for family and friends?
"This time of year we find ourselves trying to keep as much of the noise out as possible. The text from Isaiah calls to us once again and asks us to grapple with the purpose and meaning for being in worship on Advent’s first Sunday. Is it not the place to which we come each week to hear a word from above, a place to quiet the noise inside us to hear that “still, small voice”? I believe so...
When we accept the Advent's invitation to wait and wonder, to be awake and expectant, we find ourselves in good company. This week Jesus tells his disciples he will return at an unexpected time. He will arrive like a burglar breaking into a house. The disciples are left to wait and wonder."
Hymn TIS 526: “Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us”
Dear Lord, our Heavenly Father, thank you for answered prayer and that you hear our cry for help and comfort. Help us to wait for you. Our world is troubled by war and terror and natural disasters. Grant us peace, please. We silently bring before you the prayers of our hearts: the things that we don't want to talk about. (Pause).Grant us peace dear Lord; show us your way. Help us to reach out to others and show them your love. Delma then prayed for the concerns of the congregation and following that, we joined in the Lord's Prayer.
Hymn TIS 274: “The people that in darkness walked”
Brothers and sisters, our Advent journey has begun! Go from this place worshipping the one who brings forth light and love, joy and hope. Go in peace in the name of God creator, redeemer and giver of life. Amen.
Hymn TIS 778: “Shalom to you”