Advent Sunday – 27th November

Before we start today’s service, there is a messages we would like you to read and pray about:-There is to be a meeting on December 13th withe Parish Representatives and the Archdeacon to seek our way forward. Please continue to pray for a new leader for our parishes

Thank you.

*****************************************

Lighting of the Advent Wreath

First Candle – The Candle of Hope -The Patriarchs, Abraham, the Old Testament Ancestors of Jesus

Light and peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord

All: Thanks be to God

Today is the First Sunday of Advent, in which we recall the hope we have in Christ.

God told Abraham that through him all the nations of the world would be blessed, because he trusted and put his hope in God. The Old Testament spoke of the coming of Christ, of how a Saviour would be born, a king in the line of King David. He would rule the world wisely and bless all the nations. We too believe in God’s promise to send Jesus again to this world to establish his kingdom upon the earth.

(A person lights the First Candle here)

Hope is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at the light of this candle we celebrate the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: All: God of Abraham and Sarah and all the Patriarchs of old, you are our Father too. Your love is revealed to us in Jesus Christ, Son of God, and Son of David. Help us in preparing to celebrate his birth, to make our hearts ready and to place our hope in you. Help us today and every day to worship you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing your hope with others. We ask it in the name of the one who was born in Bethlehem. Amen. 

Hymn –   Come Thou Long expected Jesus

  • Come, thou long expected Jesus
    Born to set thy people free
    From our fears and sins release us
    Let us find our rest in thee
     
  • Israel’s strength and consolation
    Hope of all the earth thou art
    Dear desire of every nation
    Joy of every longing heart
     
  • Born thy people to deliver
    Born a child and yet a king
    Born to reign in us forever
    Now thy gracious kingdom bring
     
  • By thine own eternal spirit
    Rule in all our hearts alone
    By thine own sufficient merit
    Raise us to thy glorious throne
                       (by Charles Wesley – 1744) 

Preparation

The night has passed, and the day lies open before us; let us pray with one heart and mind.

Grace mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

All: And also with you.

This is the day that the Lord has made.

All:  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We have come together in the name of Christ to offer our praise and thanksgiving  to hear and receive God’s holy word, to pray for the needs of the world, and to seek the forgiveness of our sins, that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we may give ourselves to the service of God.

All: We say Sorry

Jesus says, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.’

So let us turn away from our sins and turn to Christ, confessing our sins in penitence and faith.

All: Lord God, we have sinned against you;

We have done evil in your sight.

We are sorry and repent.

Have mercy on us according to your love.

Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.

Renew a right spirit within us and restore to us the joy of your salvation;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

May the Father of all mercies cleanse us from our sins, and restore us in His image to the praise and glory of His name through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

All: Amen.

Blessed is the Lord,

All: For He has heard the voice of our prayer;

Therefore shall our hearts dance for joy

All: And in our song will we praise our God. 

Blessed are you, Lord our God, creator and redeemer of all;

to you be glory and praise for ever.

From the waters of chaos you drew forth the world, and in your great love fashioned us in your image. Now, through the deep waters of death, you have brought your people to new birth by raising your Son to life in triumph.

May Christ your light ever dawn in our hearts as we offer you our sacrifice of thanks and praise.

Blessed be God, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

All: Blessed be God for ever. 

Hymn – From heaven you came helpless babe (The Servant King)

Collect for the First Sunday of Advent –

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. 

All: Amen

Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.

All: And Christ shall give you light.

You have died and your life is hid with Christ in God.

All: Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead.

Set your minds on things that are above,

not on things that are on the earth.

All: And Christ shall give you light.

When Christ our life appears

you will appear with him in glory.

All: Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. 

Hymn – For I’m Building a People of Power

Sung twice

Please go to this Web address:-

http://www.christianwebresources.co.uk/hymns/hymn/92/

Our First Reading is taken from Romans Chap: 13

11 You must do this, because you know that the time has come for you to wake up from your sleep. For the moment when we will be saved is closer now than it was when we first believed.

12 The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light.

13 Let us conduct ourselves properly, as people who live in the light of day – no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy.

14 But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires. 

This is the Word of the Lord

All: Thanks be to God

Here the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to – Matthew Chap: 24

36 “No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come – neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows.

37 The coming of the Son of Man will be like what happened in the time of Noah.

38 In the days before the flood people ate and drank, men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the boat;

39 yet they did not realize what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes.

40 At that time two men will be working in a field: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind.

41 Two women will be at a mill grinding meal: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind.

42 Watch out, then, because you do not know what day your Lord will come.

43 If the owner of a house knew the time when the thief would come, you can be sure that he would stay awake and not let the thief break into his house.

44 So then, you also must always be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him. 

This is the Word of the Lord

All: Thanks be to God

Benedicitus

Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel,

All: who has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,

All: born of the house of his servant David. 

Through his holy prophets God promised of old  

All: to save us from our enemies, from the hands of all that hate us, 

To show mercy to our ancestors,

All: and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:

All: to set us free from the hands of our enemies,

Free to worship him without fear,

All: holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. 

And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,

All: for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,

To give his people knowledge of salvation

All: by the forgiveness of all their sins. 

In the tender compassion of our God

All: the dawn from on high shall break upon us,

To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,

All: and to guide our feet into the way of peace.                    (Luke 1.68-79)

All: Glory to the Father and to the Son

and to the Holy Spirit;

as it was in the beginning is now

and shall be for ever.

Amen. 

Sermon for the First Sunday of Advent –

Today is Advent Sunday.

our weeks today, we shall be celebrating the birth of Christ on Christmas morning, although I reflected when I did my food shop the other day and saw all the Christmas decorations in the shops, and the adverts on television that for so many, the time of preparation for Christmas is only in terms of food and gifts and other material possessions.

St Paul tells us in our passage from the letter to the Romans, that we should put away the things of darkness and put on the Armour of light. “The hour is coming”, Paul writes to the church in Rome, “our salvation is nearer than when you first believed”.

Almost two thousand years after Paul was writing his letters, it is difficult for us to completely understand the fervour with which some lived their lives as new believers. Many people truly believed that the end of the world and judgement day would occur sometime during their own lifetimes, possibly as close as tomorrow, so for those early believers, living as though each day was your last and trying to do your best to live for good, was perhaps an easier mindset than it is for us, worshipping in a stone building, built hundreds of years ago, following the state religion of our land.

Those early followers of The Way (as the early Christians were known) were perhaps a few thousand in number, a small sect, of a religion which was not only despised by the ruling Roman Empire, but which treated the Romans and their way of life as not only alien, but completely wrong. The Christians were an easy target for the Various Roman political leaders and under the sheer terror and brutality that some of them lived under, one can more easily understand why people longed for the day when literally the whole earth collapsed in a day of judgement and those who were righteous and believed in God would be saved over their occupiers and opponents.

I very much think that as the years, decades and more centuries have passed; we have lost the sense of anticipation of the end of the world. Living as though life will almost be infinite and putting off things for another day has become a common way of life. I saw a quote the other day though, on my Facebook feed which made me think:

By Eleanor Roosevelt, the quote said

“Today is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be again”. 

This quote really made me think.  It is so easy to drift from one week to the next; suddenly realising that the seasons are changing and that another month has passed by.

By living for today each day, by trying to live in the light and to bring a little of Christ’s light to the world, in our own small way, we can perhaps make our own difference to the people around us.

Advent is the time of preparation; to pray and to perhaps fast and to spend time contemplating the amazing birth of our Lord as a tiny baby, in Bethlehem, more than two thousand years ago.

Although we view the weeks of Lent, as a special time of fasting, praying and perhaps putting aside extra money for charity, in these days, the season of Advent, seems to be one mad month or so of spending money and running ourselves ragged.

Now, I have to admit, I’m not any better than anyone else. Thinking about presents for loved ones, 80 or so Christmas cards to write and all the other things which I feel the “need” to cram into those days of December, it can be all too easy to lose sight of the real purpose of advent and the meaning of Christmas.  We were talking over the dinner table earlier this week, that this year, we have the experience of the longest possible Advent we can experience, with four full weeks to try and put time aside, to think about expectation, not just about the expectation of the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day, but also to really think about the coming of Christ’s Kingdom at the end of the world.

Pre- Covid, it was always my habit to go on retreat during Advent and to try and find at least a couple of days to really focus on the message of Jesus and to sustain and develop my own relationship with God. Sadly that has not been possible over the next few years, but I hope to change that in 2023, and to put aside time just to focus on God, and not the chaos that often seems to inhabit the world in which I live.

Advent, like Lent is a time of preparation, but whereas in Lent, we have to prepare ourselves, firstly to follow Jesus through Holy Week, from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem to his trial, the cross and death, in Advent, we should be focusing on the twin expectations of the birth of Jesus and the end of the earth.

Both of our readings are reminding us, that we do not know God’s timings, we cannot even try to imagine, when God may choose to end the world as we know it, just as happened for Noah and his fellow inhabitants at the time of the flood.  But as I mentioned when I was here just two weeks ago, we do not know when and how our lives may change – both for the better and sadly for the worse. Every day little occurrences happen which change who we are and how we live our lives, but most of the time these little incidents are so small that we do not notice the small deviations that they make on our lives.

Our family has had a joyous big change this year – when in August we welcomed a new puppy into our home. Having the puppy, makes me stop every once in a while, get up from my desk, in my home office and to play with puppy and let him outside, I am walking more frequently as the dog needs (even if he doesn’t want) to go for a walk. He has made such an impact; I can hardly remember life without him now! He really helps me to focus on each passing hour or so – even if it is because we are toilet training!

So, how is it that we can find time to focus on the coming of the Christ at Christmas without getting caught up in the chaos and rushing round that preparing for Christmas always seems to cause, even without us meaning too?

So here I am going to offer a few suggestions that you might want to pick up during Advent, to help you prepare your soul and heart for Christmas as well as the food and gift preparations.

Find a book to read in preparation as you might do in Lent. There are various resources out there, but if you don’t want to start buying a new book at this stage, then one of the options you might want to think about is reading the whole of the Gospel of Luke – if you read a chapter a day, from December 1st to Christmas Eve, you will read the whole of Luke’s Gospel and allow yourself to focus on the whole life of Jesus in the run up to Christmas.

Or if you like Music, find time to listen to and perhaps sing along with not just Christmas carols – but also Advent hymns or anything you helps focus on Jesus for a little while.  Taize chants do this for me, I have a CD of them, that I can just listen to over and over.

Perhaps buy some candles and have your own advent wreath, and light a candle each Sunday.  We use little tea light candles which are usually available in the supermarket and light the appropriate number of candles at the meal table each evening, reminding us of the coming of the light of Christ.

Perhaps you have the figures for a nativity setting and want to spend time over Advent setting up and praying over the Nativity.

Perhaps you want to spend time here at the Christmas tree festival which is being held over the next 3 weekends up to Christmas.  Take the time to walk around the trees and to just spend time focusing on the beauty and creativity – rather than rushing from place to place.

Or maybe you might want to do a sort of “reverse Advent calendar”, where you spend time putting aside or buying food for a Food Bank, or sorting out older clothes and possession you no longer need to go to a charity shop, for someone else to appreciate in the New Year.

Whatever you do, try and spend that bit of time in preparing your heart and soul to celebrate the Birth of Christ at Christmas – and I am going to try to do the same too.

Another thought just before I finish, today is not only Advent Sunday, but the start of the New Year in the life of the Church, so may I take the opportunity to wish you a wonderful New Church Year, and to hope and pray that your own prayers and wishes might be answered.

Amen..

Hymn – Hark! The Glad Sound! The Saviour Comes

  • Hark, the glad sound! the Saviour comes,

the Saviour promised long;

let every heart prepare a throne,

and every voice a song. 

2) He comes, the prisoners to release

in Satan’s bondage held;

 the chains of sin before Him break,

the iron fetters yield. 

  • He comes to free the captive mind

where evil thoughts control;

and for the darkness of the blind,

gives light dial makes them whole. 

  • He comes die broken heart to bind,

die wounded soul to cure;

and with the treasures of His grace

to enrich die humble poor. 

  • Our glad hosannas, Prince of peace.

Your welcome shall proclaim;

and heaven’s eternal arches ring

with Your beloved name.             (by Fhihp Doddniljc (1702-51) 

Time of Silence ….. 

We Say Together:

The Creed.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe 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, died, and was buried;

he descended to the dead.

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic Church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting. 

All: Amen.

Prayers and Intercessions

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God,

we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.

We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness

where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,

given us by the risen Lord.

We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed,

in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit. 

All: Generous God,

hear our prayer,

and make us one in heart and mind

to serve you with joy for ever.

Amen.

We gather our thoughts and prayers in the words our Saviour gave us 

All: Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy 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 thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

Hymn – Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown

Closing Blessings

God of hope
be with us in our Advent journey
to the stable and beyond,
be with us in our meeting
and in our travelling together,
be with us in our worship
and our praying together,
be with us in our Advent journey
to the stable and beyond,
our God of hope.. 

All: Amen.

Hymn – From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable

The Grace 

All: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

And the love of God,

And the fellowship of the Holy Spirit,

Be with us all evermore.

Amen

Go in joy and peace to love and serve the Lord

All: In the name of Christ Amen.

© 702211

 

Leave a comment