Sunday 27th November 2022 – Advent Sunday

Service for use at home on the first Sunday of Advent – We thank the person who has prepared this service for us.

In Due Time

God’s due time,

not our immediate now,

God’s perfect timing,

not ours of impatience.

God’s timetable,

not our schedule,

God’s will,

not our self will.

God’s completion,

not our imperfect incompleteness.

God’s day of salvation,

not our day of self effort.

God’s final celebrations,

not our man-made festivities.

God’s delivery date,

not our probable date.

God’s due time,

not ours to disagree about.

God’s time is now due!

Frances Ballantyne

Hymn STF 178 – Long ago prophets knew

Prayer of approach

Lord Jesus Christ, at the beginning of Advent we welcome you.

We welcome you into our lives and our hearts as the child of Bethlehem, helpless in his mother’s arms;

we welcome you as the powerful preacher and loving healer, come to show the love of God in human form;

we welcome you as the willing sacrifice, dying and rising to life again to save all creation from the grasp of sin and death;

and we prepare ourselves to welcome you as you come again, to judge the living and the dead and to open the kingdom of heaven to all who believe.

Lord Jesus Christ, at one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, we worship you, adore you and welcome you now. Amen

Reading – Matt.24.36, 42-44

The Day and Hour Unknown

Jesus said, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Reflection

Advent – is waiting.

Mary waiting, feeling a child grow and kick, knowing her time is coming near.

Joseph waiting, watching with confused feelings and trying to understand.

The world waiting, sniggering behind its hands at another village scandal.

God waiting, for the right time for his promised salvation.

Advent – is coming.

Mary and Joseph coming, travelling a long way at a time not of their choosing.

The child coming, promised from long ago.

God’s kingdom coming, hidden and unseen but ready to explode into new life.

The world coming, edging unknowingly closer to its cataclysmic meeting with its creator.

Advent – is expecting.

Mary expecting that God’s power would change the world, and willing to play her part.

Elizabeth expecting another miracle.

The world expecting nothing except the certainty of death and taxes.

God expecting the fickleness of humanity yet knowing the end from the beginning, the end that includes another coming in glory, not in humility.

Advent – is hope.

Mary’s hope, the child who will save his people from all their sins.

Simeon’s hope, the light for the Gentiles.

The world hoping for a quick fix solution to its problems, with no responsibility or pain.

God hoping – hoping – hoping that the Word made flesh might be heard by those whose hearts he has prepared in every age and place.

Advent – is our God on our doorstep.

Emmanuel, God with us.

No angels singing Glory to God.

No shepherds, out of breath and smelling of wet fields.

No stately kings and camels.

No sleeping baby in the outhouse of a guesthouse in some far-off land and time, with exhausted parents and an uncertain future.

No carols and cards, food and festivity.

No – God with us.

God in other people.

God in our own hearts.

God coming here.

Soon –

Perhaps today.

AJP (2017)

Intercessions

Advent is a time of hope.

We pray for the world, that the light of the Advent hope may break into the dark places. We pray for all those affected by war, or who are suffering from the effects of climate change; for refugees and asylum-seekers; for those who are sick or suffering….

We pray for the church worldwide, and for our own church and circuit, that we may radiate the Advent hope on all we say and do. We pray for the church’s outreach, for its work with children and families, and with those at the margins of society….

We pray for ourselves, that the Advent hope may fill our lives. We pray that we may reflect the hope that is in us, and show our gratitude for all God’s goodness in love and generosity to all we meet.

We sum up our prayers in the words of the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts,

As we have forgiven our debtors.

And do not bring us to the time of trial,

But rescue us from the evil one.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,

Now and for ever, Amen.

Hymn STF 169 – Come thou long expected Jesus

In hope the universe waits:

God’s purpose shall be revealed.

Limited by mortality,

yet destined for liberation,

In hope the universe waits:

God’s purpose shall be revealed.

Groaning as if in childbirth,

sampling the fruits of God’s harvest,

In hope the universe waits:

God’s purpose shall be revealed.

Trusting in what is unseen,

believing the best is yet to come,

In hope the universe waits:

God’s purpose shall be revealed.

In the hiddenness of a byre,

where the Maker of All will be born,

In hope the universe waits:

God’s purpose shall be revealed.

Wild Goose Worship Group (1997)

Blessing

Let us go out to celebrate in love and laughter.

Let us go out as lights for the world, to shine in the darkness.

Let us go out, to act justly, walking humbly with our God.

Let us go out in the name of the one who loved and laughed,

The true light of the world,

Whose coming we await this Advent.

And may the blessing of God,

Father, Son and Spirit,

Be with us today and for ever. Amen