Sunday readings and prayers

ADVENT SUNDAY

“Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.”

 

1) O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
  Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
  shall come to thee, O Israel.

2) O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave..

3) O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
And drive away the shades of night
And pierce the clouds and bring us light!

4) O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery. 

5) O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud, and majesty, and awe
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Icon of the Gruppo Emmanuele, Padua

 

 

The collect for Advent Sunday

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 

 

Advent Sunday marks the beginning of the new Church year and over the next four weeks we will be reflecting on the Light of the World  coming to illuminate our darkness, bringing hope, peace, joy and love. After the events of the last year, the message of Advent hope may ring hollow for some but that is our challenge as Christians, to reignite and share the hope that comes from knowing that Christ, Emmanuel is “God with us” and  that his healing presence is in each one of us and in the wider community.

 

This Sunday we light the first Advent candle, the candle of Hope.

We light this candle for all God’s people,

struggling to be bearers of hope in a troubled world.

God, as we wait for your promise,

Give light, give hope.

 

 

 

 

First Reading:  Jeremiah 33 v 14 – 16

The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ 

 

 

The Old Testament reading and the Psalm invite us to trust in God who promises that justice and righteousness will come in the form of our saviour – the Christ who is both fully human and fully divine.

 

 

 

    Psalm 25:1-9

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you;
let me not be humiliated, nor let my enemies triumph over me.

Let none who look to you be put to shame;  let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.

Show me your ways, O Lord,  and teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth and teach me,  for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long.

Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting.

Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions; remember me according to your love
and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.

Gracious and upright is the Lord; therefore he teaches sinners in his way.

He guides the humble in doing right  and teaches his way to the lowly.

All the paths of the Lord are love and faithfulness  to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

 

Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 3 v 9 – 13

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

Gospel Reading Luke 21 v 25 – 36 

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’

Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’ 

 

Advent is a time of hopeful expectation when we look forward to the coming of Jesus at Christmas. Yet Jesus is already with us and this is some of the ambiguity of Advent. There is a sense of ‘already and not yet.’ Our conviction that Jesus is with us now in the present time gives Christians reassurance for the future. When Jesus left his disciples physically, his presence did not in any way diminish: his risen presence pervades the whole world.

 

Heavenly Father,  as we come before you today on this First Sunday of Advent we ask you to prepare us for your coming. We thank you for the hope you have given us,  for the assurance  of your constant presence  and  for the confidence that you are always  there  when we call upon you.

 

At the beginning of a new year, we pray for your church today, gathering all around the world in tiny churches and great cathedrals, to praise you and to hear your holy word. We ask you to inspire our sense of expectation, to renew our vision and to give us encouragement as we seek to come closer to you during these four weeks of preparation for your coming

 

Lord,  look in your mercy on your Church as it strives to reach out to a troubled world, hungry for a clear spiritual message.  May it witness prayerfully to your loving purposes and  respond with compassion and understanding to the needs of others.  The next few weeks will be a busy time for both clergy and congregations as they seek to welcome people to carol services and festive events. While the pressures of secular Christmas mount, we ask you,  Lord, to help us to keep the opportunities of Advent before us that we may grow in the Faith, and serve others with joy as we build your Kingdom here on earth.   

 

We pray for those who are unwell or in distress that they may feel the loving presence of the Holy Spirit. We pray for...............................and for all known to ourselves who are living with anxiety, ill health or loneliness. …………. We pray that they may  know your compassionate presence and find in it a source of renewed strength.

We pray  for those who have departed this life and are now in the fullness of God's presence, thinking especially of ……. We ask you to be with the bereaved that they may find  new strength as they seek to  come to terms with the great gap in their lives.  We continue to pray for ........ and her family and ask you, Lord, to give them peace.

 


 

O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; that, when he shall appear, he may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

 


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