First Sunday of Advent
The season of Advent begins today. During the next 27 days we will look forward in hope. We will watch for the end times, when Christ will come in glory, Christ whose birthday we will celebrate very soon.
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
God of majesty and power, amid the clamour of our violence Your Word of truth resounds; upon a world made dark by sin the Sun of Justice casts His dawning rays.
Keep Your household watchful and aware of the hour in which we live. Hasten the advent of that day when the sounds of war will be for ever stilled, the darkness of evil scattered, and all Your children gathered into one.
We ask this through Him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near: Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
“Come, Now is the Time to Worship” – Hillsong
A Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 2:1-5 (NLT)
[Isaiah gives a prophecy of a time of peace when all people will worship the one God.]
This is a vision that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:
In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
People from many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”
For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.
The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.
Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 122 (NLT)
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” And now here we are, standing inside your gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached. All the tribes of Israel—the Lord’s people—make their pilgrimage here. They come to give thanks to the name of the Lord, as the law requires of Israel. Here stand the thrones where judgment is given, the thrones of the dynasty of David.
Pray for peace in Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.
O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces. For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “May you have peace.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
A Reading from the Letters: Romans 13:11-14 (NLT)
[Paul advises the Romans to live decent lives.]
This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
A Reading from the Gospels: Luke 23:35-43 (NLT)
[We’re told to stay alert, because we don’t know when the Master is coming.]
“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.
“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.
“Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus” – Fernando Ortega
God of Mercy and Grace: You alone hold our chaotic world together through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Hasten His return to us in glory; and, as we wait expectantly, listen to the cries of Your people around the world:
+ That Christians around the world who are undergoing unimaginable persecution may be delivered from evil…. Lord, hear us.
+ That world-wide human trafficking and the resulting debasement of people made in Your image may be eliminated…. Lord, hear us.
+ That the people of Aleppo and Syria, and throughout the Middle East, may have peace…. Lord, hear us.
+ That the poor and unprotected people of the world may receive justice, both now and in the age to come…. Lord, hear us.
+ That Christians everywhere may be prepared to meet Christ when He comes…. Lord, hear us.
+ That people who are anxious at this time of year may find peace in the indefatigable love of the Prince of Peace…. Lord, hear us.
+ That those who are sick in mind or body may be healed…. Lord, hear us.
+ That our friends and family members who have died in Christ may fully experience Your promised eternal rest… may be theirs. Lord, hear us.
Loving God, You want what is best for Your people, hear our prayers and help us in our needs through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“The King is Coming” – Newsboys
I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation — the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ — for this will bring much glory and praise to God. – Philippians 1:9-11
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen