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Advent Sunday Worship Service 2020

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Advent Songs of Praise, 29 November 2020

Introduction and welcome

Poem: Advent, by John Betjeman
The Advent wind begins to stir
with sea-like sounds in our Scotch fir.
It’s dark at breakfast, dark at tea,
and in between we only see
clouds hurrying across the sky,
and rain-wet roads the wind blows dry,
and branches bending to the gale
against great skies all silver pale
The world seems travelling into space,
and travelling at a faster pace
than in the leisured summer weather
when we and it sit out together.
For now we feel the world spin round
on some momentous journey bound –
journey to what? To whom? To where?
The Advent bells call out ‘Prepare,
your world is journeying to the birth
of God made Man for us on earth.’

Lighting of candle
Lord Jesus, Light of light,
You have come among us.
Help us who live by Your light
to shine as lights in your world.
Glory to God in the highest.

Hymn: Longing for Light

O Morning Star, radiance of the Father’s love,
You are the brightness that disperses the shadows of our hearts:
Come, cleanse and renew us in your glory.

O Emmanuel, God with us,
hope of the world, and Saviour of all:
Come and live in us, now and forever.

Collect for Advent Sunday:
Almighty God,
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 forever.

1st reading: Isaiah 64, 1-9

Hymn: On Jordan’s Bank

Poem: To a World so Torn and Tortured (Andrew Pratt)
To a world so torn and tortured
came the voice of one who knew
what it cost to lift oppression,
challenge the accepted view.

John convicted crowds before him,
charged hypocrisy with God;
opened up the way for Jesus,
who would follow where he trod.

Then imprisoned, John was silenced;
yet a voice more vibrant still
challenged in and out of season
all who heard to do God’s will.

Living, Christ would lift oppression;
dying, he would seem to fail;
crying out in desolation,
yet God’s love would still prevail.

God, our hope and our desire,
we wait for Your coming
as a woman longs for the birth,
the exile for her home,
the lover for the touch of his beloved,
and the humble poor for justice.

(Janet Morley)

1st reflection

Hymn: Hail to the Lord’s Anointed

In our hope for the long-awaited liberation;
in our dream of empowering the poor;
in the exultation of anger and the cry of freedom,
joyfully we sing out:
Yes, God: let it be.

When our destiny is caught up in God’s hand
and the mystery of purpose overshadows our planning;
when we shrink from knowing ourselves part of the problem,
fearfully we whisper:
Yes, God: let it be.

In the struggle we sought to avoid,
in the ridicule we feared to encounter,
in the pain we hoped we would never have to bear,
reluctantly we cry out:
Yes, God: let it be.

To the unknown future where dreams dance and disappear,
where tyranny rages, struts and falls in disgrace;
to the risk which is the price of our freedom,
defiantly we shout out:
Yes, God: let it be.

2nd reading: Mark 13, 24-end

Merciful God, forgive that we fall asleep
when You call us to watch and pray.
We fail to see the signs of Your coming.
Christ our Saviour, forgive that we are not watchful;
we do not choose hope or plant the seeds of hopefulness.
We fail to see the signs of Your coming.
Forgiving Spirit, forgive that in the rush of the Christmas season
we forget to stop and listen for the sound of angel voices;
we forget to stop and look for a star to guide us to Christ.
We fail to see the signs of God’s presence.
God over all, Christ within us, Spirit around us,
hear our prayer and send Your messenger
of peace to us and to Your sleeping world.
(Kate McIlhagga)

Hymn: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

2nd reflection

Intercessions (in response to ‘Maranatha’, please respond ‘Come, Lord Jesus’)

As I pass the spot, I see the flowers. Dead now, they remind me of the living waiting for the first Christmas, remembering the last Christmas. I recall the familiar stable scene: halting shepherds; voiceless angels; the not-so-wise with their gifts. That very first Christmas in Your imperfect world.
Christmas Christ, as prepare once more to welcome you, we recall the events of the year, knowing that only Your vulnerable presence can make the difference to those bearing memories of its passing.

Hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

In our watching and our waiting
Come, Lord Jesus
In our hopes and in our fears
Come, Lord Jesus
In our homes and in our world
Come, Lord Jesus
Come, Lord Jesus. Bless us and surprise us as we look forward to Your birthday.

God of all hope and joy,
open our hearts in welcome,
that Your Son Jesus Christ at his coming
may find in us a dwelling prepared for Himself;
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and forever.

Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon us,
scatter the darkness from before our path,
and make us ready to meet Him when He comes in glory;
and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among us and remain with us always.

Hymn: Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending