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  • Lectionary resources Advent 3 Year C
    emphasis should be on our relationship with God as a separate holy being The right kind of relationship with God should lead us into the right kind of relationships with other people 1 John 4 20 21 We need John s warnings to people who thought they could trust in themselves Luke 3 7 14 So justice was required with repentance John pointed to Jesus who fulfilled the promise John the Baptist in the tradition of the prophets Isaiah 35 1 7 Zephaniah 3 19 would have looked for signs they gave that God was acting to bring in his kingdom and he would have expected them when the Messaiah came Luke 3 15 17 Later when he sent messengers to ask Jesus if he was the one to come Jesus told them to go back and tell John what they had seen and heard indicating signs like those described by Isaiah Matthew 11 2 6 They have already begun to affect human life and they anticipate the new order of things that is promised at the end Revelation 21 1 5 So be of good courage Be thankful that the peace of God is with us within us and among us for he has come in Christ to reconcile us to himself and to each other It is something you can rely upon Trusting God allows us to focus on the positive things without fear It is then that we can rejoice that God is near It is in that faith and trust that Paul s final advice to the Philippians becomes a practical possibility Philippians 4 8 9 Order of Service Advent 3 Year C DB Home RCL Resources Index The Gathering of the People of God CALL TO WORSHIP Rejoice the Lord is near Philippians 4 4 5 Sing aloud O daughter Zion shout O Israel Rejoice and exult with all your heart Zephaniah 3 14 Rejoice in the Lord always again I will say Rejoice Philippians 4 4 LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLE Third Sunday A family group or individual comes to the table and one reads On this third Sunday in Advent we rejoice at the prospect of the coming of the Kingdom of God which John the Baptist foresaw and Jesus announced and which even now is breaking into the world Three coloured candles are lit including those lit last week and reading continues The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining 1 John 2 8 I have come as light into the world so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness John 12 46 HYMN Hail to the Lord s anointed AHB 203 TIS 275 PRAYER OF ADORATION Mighty and merciful God we meet to celebrate your greatness We join with the hosts of heaven to sing your praise and to offer you worship For you are worthy of adoration from every mouth and every tongue should praise you You created the earth by your

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  • Rejoice the Lord in near
    Abraham 9 Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire So threatened they sought a way out 10b What then should we do 11 Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none and whoever has food must do likewise 12 tax collectors Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you 14 Soldiers Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation and be satisfied with your wages So justice was required with repentance It is not sufficient to seek a personal inner peace with God Justice too was to be expected with the coming of the kingdom John knew the promises from the prophets who preceded him These extend to seeing new life and hope beyond the inner life of a person not only into the person s relationships with others and to the affairs of nations but even to have cause for rejoicing in the gifts of creation Isaiah 35 1 2a The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing Modern people often find promises about nature less convincing than those about human social and political life I would suggest that you should not be too quick to dismiss those ideas just as we should not try too hard to rationalize miracles After all if the Messiah was indeed the Lord of creation and if all things came into being through him if it is his world after all we should be not surprised if he is able to transform the whole created world however it might be done Indeed belief in the goodness of God and his sovereignty is I believe one of the cultural foundations of science and its fruits in productivity and if that belief is replaced by superstition as it is for many today with fatalistic fear of capricious gods and powers then science and its benefits will decline The main point is that nature and human affairs which remain part of nature are both being perfected by the coming of the kingdom although its final completion the full establishment of the reign of God may well take place beyond our time The end however which is the full establishment of the kingdom of God is not so much the end of something the world as we know it in the sense of its termination as it is the goal towards which it is being moved by God Isaiah 35 which speaks as we have seen of singing in the wilderness continues 4 7a Say to those who are of a fearful heart Be strong do not fear Here is your God He will come with vengeance with terrible recompense He will come and save you 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and

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  • Lectionary resources for Advent 4 Year C
    Yet there is much in the continuity of faithful witness to God Mary s song seems to be modelled on the song of Hannah the mother of the prophet Samuel 1 Samuel 2 1 There is a similar insight in the cause both women Hannah and Mary have for rejoicing in the regard that God has for the poor and lowly 1 Samuel 2 3 4 7 8 Luke 1 51 53 Mary s child will carry on the tradition of the prophets who cried out for justice Luke 6 20 21 Luke 7 22 Mary s song goes further than Hannah s when she declares that in her blessing the long held promises of God to his people are being brought to fulfilment Luke 1 54 55 Her blessing was more than a personal blessing it was for all the people whom she represented It is because the action of God goes far beyond her limited knowledge and her particular place and time that she is able to say Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed Mary is in many ways truly representative of humanity In her lowly estate from which she is lifted up she represents all of us in the human situation in general and thus points to the uplifting redeeming initiative of God Mary has been the focus of faith and hope for millions of poor women Through her God has given them what no one can take away a deep assurance that their humble status does not preclude them from enjoying the greatest of God s blessings One can hardly celebrate how God through her lifted up the lowly and then not value the least of God s children so the human response of praise continues in both word and deed The humble part Mary was called to play fits as all our lives fit into the great plan and purpose of God at last brought to a decisive point in the gift of Jesus Christ For this reason because we have a part in it we can all rejoice with her when Mary sings My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour Order of Service Advent 4 Year C DB Home RCL Resources Index Note This service leans more towards Advent than Christmas Eve although aspects of both are included There are separate services for Christmas Eve celebrations 1 early evening carols 2 late evening midnight Christmas Eucharist The Gathering of the People of God CALL TO WORSHIP And Mary said My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me and holy is his name Luke 1 46 49 HYMN Tell out my soul the greatness of the Lord TIS 161 AHB 109 LIGHTING THE ADVENT CANDLES Fourth Sunday A family group or individual comes to

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  • My spirit rejoices in God my saviour
    and simply accepted God s chosen role for her Her blessing was entirely God s initiative and in that way it is more clearly an act of grace Yet there is much in the continuity of faithful witness to God throughout the history of Mary s people so it is not surprising that Mary s song seems to be modelled on another example the song of Hannah the mother of the prophet Samuel which begins 1 Samuel 2 1 My heart exults in the LORD my strength is exalted in my God While Mary begins My soul magnifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour There is a similar insight in the cause both women Hannah and Mary have for rejoicing in the regard that God has for the poor and lowly and the consequent reversal of privilege from the powerful to the weak so Hannah sings 1 Samuel 2 3 Talk no more so very proudly let not arrogance come from your mouth for the LORD is a God of knowledge and by him actions are weighed And 1 Samuel 2 7 8 The LORD makes poor and makes rich he brings low he also exalts 8 He raises up the poor from the dust he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honour For the pillars of the earth are the Lord s and on them he has set the world While Mary says Luke 1 51 53 He has shown strength with his arm he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and 53 he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty Here we have an indication that Mary s child will carry on the tradition of the prophets who cried out for justice and Mary herself is a spokeswoman in the same prophetic tradition We learn again something about the nature of God from the way Mary responded to the blessing she received from God She rejoiced in goodness of God who lifted up the lowly Jesus was more than a prophet but he was a prophet too along with John the Baptist in speaking out for justice in the world So later we find Mary s son saying Luke 6 20 21 Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God 21 Blessed are you who are hungry now for you will be filled And Jesus pointed the disciples of John to the fact that when the poor had the good news proclaimed to them that was a sign that the Messiah had come Luke 7 22 And he answered them Go and tell John what you have seen and heard the blind receive their sight the lame walk the lepers are cleansed the deaf hear the dead are raised the poor have good news brought to

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  • The mystery of being included
    LORD has risen upon you 2 For darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the peoples but the LORD will arise upon you and his glory will appear over you 3 Nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn 6 A multitude of camels shall cover you the young camels of Midian and Ephah all those from Sheba shall come They shall bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD Of course gold and frankincense remind us of the gifts of the wise men and the early Christians would have known this passage and would have seen the point in reference to light that had come into the world in Jesus being a light to all nations It was part of a vision seen throughout this part of the book of Isaiah For example Isaiah 56 3 Do not let the foreigner joined to the LORD say The LORD will surely separate me from his people Isaiah 56 6 7 And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD to minister to him to love the name of the LORD and to be his servants all who keep the sabbath and do not profane it and hold fast my covenant 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples Where have we heard those words before for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples It was when Jesus drove the money changers and sellers of goods out of the temple Mark 11 17 cf John 2 13 17 And his concern there was one of inclusiveness and well as holiness for people were being excluded by having to pay in special money more of that too another time Jesus shared the vision of the prophets Isaiah 66 18 For I know their works and their thoughts and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues and they shall come and shall see my glory Jesus might also have referred to Solomon s prayer at the dedication of the first temple 2 Chronicles 6 32 39 Likewise when foreigners who are not of your people Israel come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm when they come and pray toward this house 33 may you hear from heaven your dwelling place and do whatever the foreigners ask of you in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you as do your people Israel and that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built It was part of their original understanding of their covenant with God that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through the children of Abraham Genesis 18 18 as it was in the promise of Jacob s dream Genesis 28 14 And it was there also in an older part of the prophetic tradition of Isaiah which is closely linked with the coming of the Messiah Isaiah 2 2 5 In days to come the mountain of the Lord s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains and shall be raised above the hills all the nations shall stream to it 3 Many peoples shall come and say Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD to the house of the God of Jacob that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths For out of Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem 4 He shall judge between the nations and shall arbitrate for many peoples they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks nation shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war any more 5 O house of Jacob come let us walk in the light of the LORD And in Jeremiah before the captivity Jeremiah 16 19 21 O LORD my strength and my stronghold my refuge in the day of trouble to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say Our ancestors have inherited nothing but lies worthless things in which there is no profit 20 Can mortals make for themselves gods Such are no gods 21 Therefore I am surely going to teach them this time I am going to teach them my power and my might and they shall know that my name is the LORD As Zechariah had it Zechariah 8 20 23 Thus says the LORD of hosts Peoples shall yet come the inhabitants of many cities 21 the inhabitants of one city shall go to another saying Come let us go to entreat the favour of the LORD and to seek the LORD of hosts I myself am going 22 Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favour of the LORD 23 Thus says the LORD of hosts In those days ten men from nations of every language shall take hold of a Jew grasping his garment and saying Let us go with you for we have heard that God is with you It was Jesus who said Salvation comes from the Jews Coming to God is the way to come together It is not achieved by everyone being tolerated to do their own thing although we must sometimes tolerate what we believe may be wrong while we pray for God s way to be revealed to all Let me emphasise here a few words from Jeremiah making perhaps the most important point of qualification which separates the Biblical understand of inclusiveness from present secular ideologies Can mortals

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  • Children's Christmas Eve service
    them in the inn The puppets bring us the message The Nativity and the Angels HYMN Angels we have heard on high Angels we have heard on high sweetly singing o er the plains and the mountains in reply echoing their joyful song Glor or or or or or or or or ria In excelsis Deo Glor or or or or or or or or ria In excelsis Deo The Inn KNOCK KNOCK HYMN 242 Away in a manger Shepherds KNOCK KNOCK We mustn t wake the baby SHH SHH HYMN 236 Silent night Then just like that THEY WERE GONE Fantastic alright HYMN 221 The first nowell Verses 1 2 and 6 The Three Kings Manger scene SONG The Three Kings We three kings of orient are bearing gifts we traverse afar field and fountain moor and mountain following yonder star Oh Oh Star of wonder star of light star of royal beauty bright westward leading still proceeding guide us to your perfect light KING 1 Born a king on Bethlehem s plain gold I bring to crown him again King forever ceasing never over us all to reign KING 2 Frankincense to offer have I incense owns a deity nigh prayer and praising all men raising worship him God most high KING 3 Myrrh is mine it s bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom sorrowing sighing bleeding dying sealed in a stone cold tomb Calypso Carol See him lying on a bed of straw a donkey stable with an open door Mary cradling the babe she bore The Prince of Glory is his name O now carry me to Bethlehem to see the Lord appear to men Just as foreign was the stable then The Prince of Glory when he came Star of silver sweep across

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  • Liturgy for Christmas Eve Midnight Eucharist
    holy prophets from of old that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors and has remembered his holy covenant the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham to grant us that we being rescued from the hands of our enemies might serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days And you child will be called the prophet of the Most High for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins By the tender mercy of our God the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the way of peace HYMN The Lord s Messiah comes tune St Olave AHB 154 The Lord s Messiah comes God s kingdom to announce He calls us to repent and all our sins renounce His conquest over sin now gives us peace within He breaks into our world the light of God to show all darkness to dispel all evil overthrow Let justice now be done new life on earth begun Lord of the end to come your praise we will repeat the world you came to save you will perfect complete There no need to fear Rejoice the Lord in near David Beswick 1997 THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW COVENANT Luke 1 26 38 The announcement of the coming birth of Jesus HYMN SA 61 verses 3 and 4 Mary hail Luke 2 1 7 The birth of Jesus HYMN 236 Silent night Luke 2 8 20 The angels and the

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  • Lectionary resources for Christmas Day Year C
    of Advent we have come to Christmas Day The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined Isaiah 9 2 Four coloured candles are lit first and then the white candle and reading continues The true light which enlightens everyone was coming into the world John 1 9 And the Word became flesh and lived among us and we have seen his glory the glory as of a father s only son full of grace and truth John 1 14 Sermon summary click here for complete sermon The Word Became Flesh Let us try to see the big picture Why is the Christmas story significant What we believe is about questions like What was the purpose of God in creation Why are we here The role of Christ in God s plan for the world The secret purpose or mystery of God s will was to bring everything into a unity with himself Ephes 1 9 10 Our destiny is to be in a relationship with God The work of Christ for the Kingdom of God There were problems in the way of God s plan for us In Christ God rescued us that is why he is called saviour releasing us from a power that could keep us from fulfilling our destiny to be with God Col 1 13 20 Who was he who could do these things For Paul He is the image of the invisible God the firstborn of all creation for John All things came into being through him and the Word became flesh John 1 1 14 What difference does it make if anyone is in Christ there is a new creation 2 Corinthians 5 16 18 the offer of eternal life John 3 16 Glory to God on the highest Luke 2 14 Order of service Christmas Day Year C DB Home RCL Resources Index The Gathering of the People of God CALL TO WORSHIP I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is the Messiah the Lord Luke 2 10 11 Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace among those whom he favours Luke 2 14 HYMN Christians awake salute the happy morn AHB 231 TIS 306 LIGHTING THE ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS CANDLES See liturgy above PRAYER OF ADORATION CONFESSION Loving God we confess that we have sinned against you in thought word and deed we have not loved you with all our heart or served you with all our strength we have been blind to the vision of a renewed world we have been indifferent to the suffering of others and unwilling to forgive one another In your mercy Lord pardon and restore us that we may recover the mystery of love you have given to us in Jesus Christ so that remembering

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