Act of Worship at Home for Sunday 28 November
Invitation to worship for the first Sunday in Advent
All over the world, people are waiting and hoping for God’s coming. They are waiting and hoping for a world where children do not die through hunger or a lack of clean water; for a world where everyone can earn a fair living; for a world where there is justice and respect for all; for a world free of deadly and indiscriminate disease. In our watching and waiting, we ask: “Come Lord Jesus, come; in our hopes and fears, come Lord Jesus, come; in our homes and in the world, come Lord Jesus, come”.
Let us pray
Holy God, this is the earth’s quiet season, the season of waiting. We thank you for the shelter of your love as we wait. This is the season of darkness when we seek stars to guide us. Thank you for the light of your promise. This is the season of solitude when we listen for our heart’s own rhythm. We thank you for the signs of your presence. Holy God, bless this season of Advent; come amongst us in all we do; help us to prepare for your coming. Forgive us Holy God, for the times we have got bogged down in the minutia of our daily lives. We are busy, rushing around to get jobs done, ticking off the things we need to do for ourselves and others to get through our daily lives, preparing for Christmas especially this year where it seems we want to make up for the lost time of last year. Forgive our rush and self-centredness. Forgive us when we take our eyes off the wonder of the Christ child who came to save us. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may spend this time of Advent waiting in wonder, watchful and quiet, ready to hear your word and follow your way. For we ask this in the name of your dear son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
I have chosen to read an extract from Jeremiah, chapter 33, verses 14-16: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfil the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which itwill be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Saviour.”
And some verses from Psalm 25, beginning at verse 4:
Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Saviour,
and my hope is in you all day long…
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.
I don’t know about you but I love travelling. When I was in my early twenties, I undertook a trip of a life time to Australia and New Zealand, thinking that this would cure me of the travel bug that I had caught in my teens with a very lucky chance to visit Zambia. But I was wrong! I realised how small I am and how big the world is and I wanted to explore as much as I could. As I get older, I can see that there will come a day when I am happy to be at home and just remember the travels that I have experienced. Also, the Covid 19 pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate our priorities in life. Do those of us who like to travel really need to be undertaking so much travel by air? There is so much to see in this country and certainly in this beautiful county of Devon. Rod and I recently spent some time on Dartmoor, soaking in the autumn colours – just magnificent! This theme of travelling has made me think about our Advent journey this year. As we prepare to make our expedition, let us acknowledge that God has equipped us with all that we need. Let us remember that we are not travelling without a map or sat nav; God will lead us along the path of truth and will show us landmarks on our way to remind us of God’s awe and mercy. God has planned only the best for us. Let us remember that we are not journeying alone for we have the best travelling companion – for the worst and best of times. We have ways marked out for us with signs of God’s love and we can be sure that God will never let us down. Like the prophets, we can travel in hope to a guaranteed destination, knowing that God will nourish and nurture us along the way. Isn’t that the best thing ever to remind ourselves of on this first Sunday in Advent?
Our hymn is number 178 in Singing the Faith: ‘Long ago prophets knew Christ would come”
Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew.
Come to make all things new;
Bear his People’s burden,
Freely love and pardon.
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
Sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
When he comes,
When he comes,
Who will make him welcome?
God in time, God in man,
This is God’s timeless plan:
He will come, as a man,
Born himself of woman,
God divinely human. [Refrain]
Mary, hail! Though afraid,
She believed, she obeyed.
In her womb God is laid;
Till the time expected
Nurtured and protected. [Refrain]
Journey ends! Where afar
Bethlem shines, like a star,
Stable door stands ajar.
Unborn Son of Mary,
Saviour, do not tarry!
Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
We will make him welcome.
And now our prayers of intercession:
Lord you come to give good news to the poor. We hold before you the poor people of the world, for all who struggle in poverty and homelessness and for those who work to help people to break out from that poverty. Lord you come to bring freedom to the prisoner. We hold before you all who will spend this time of Advent in prison. We pray for those for whom prison is better than the places they are used to and for those who are desperate for freedom from unjust incarceration. Lord you come to proclaim release for the oppressed. We hold before you all those who stoop under the burden of oppression, those who cannot speak or live freely through fear of betrayal, prejudice and discrimination. Lord you come to bring love, a healing touch and the joy of restoration. We hold before you all those known to us who are in special need of your loving, healing touch. In a moment of quiet we bring to God our own prayers for others and ourselves… Lord you come to meet us on our journey through life. We bring these prayers to you trusting that you are listening to us and that we can believe in the power of prayer as we pray in the name of our son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Finally, a blessing:
May God bless us on our journey, may we see the guiding light, may we find the stable and may peace dwell in our hearts this day and for evermore. Amen