Be Ready: Christ is coming! (Advent 1, Year A)

Yearly Rhythm

christmas lightsSunday 1st December 2013

 Advent 1, Year A

This Sunday marks the beginning of a ‘new’ year in the 3 year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary – Year A. It is also the first Sunday of Advent.

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in His First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in His Second Advent…whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God (the culmination of all things in Christ). Scripture readings for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.  Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. [Source]

 

Weekly Rhythm

Engaging with the weekly Lectionary Readings

Comment and Questions and PDF download

 Readings, with thanks to www.gbod.org:

Isaiah 2:1-5  Out of the house of the Lord shall come wisdom and instruction, and all nations will convert their weapons of war into implements for sustaining life.

Psalm 122  A psalm rejoicing in Jerusalem, a foretaste of what Isaiah prophesies.

Romans 13:11-14  Salvation draws ever nearer, so live in the fullness of Christ, freed from the power of sinful desires.

Matthew 24:36-44 The coming of the Son of Man will be a surprise, so stay on the lookout!

 Comments:

Christ comes as surprise.  He comes to bring Shalom (peace).  So this is the end that we need to buy into now.  This is the end that inspires us, guides us and shapes us.  This is the perspective from which we engage in the now.  By doing this we are ready.  What are some of the things we need to “buy” into?  The following outline taken from Discovering Your Neighbourhood Needs by Dick Taylor offers some suggestions:

“His will is shalom (peace) for all.

 1) God wants everyone to have the basics:

* Enough food to eat and clothes to wear

* A decent place to live

* Education to develop gifts and talents

* Good affordable medical care

* Work that is enjoyable and provides adequate income

* Time and places for rest and recreation

* A chance to enjoy beauty in one’s surroundings

* Opportunity to participate in the political and economic decisions affecting one’s life

* Representation by fair, just governmental office-holders

 2) God wants people with special needs to have special help:

* Adequate income support for those who can’t work because of a disability

* Understanding counsel for those who are emotionally distressed

* Loving visitors for those who are sick or lonely

* Help and adequate legal counsel for those in prison or in trouble with the law

* Dignity, respect, friendship, and security for the elderly

* Adequate educational, social, and recreational outlets for the young

* Special care for those with special needs, such as the  retarded, orphans, people with drug or alcohol problems.

 3) God wants people to feel secure from threats to their life, health and dignity:

* Freedom from exploitation or oppression (for example, by loan sharks, unscrupulous real estate       speculators, political bosses, police brutality, consumer fraud)

* Personal safety, free from fear or crime or other harassment

* An opportunity to live in a safe, ecologically sound environment

4) God wants people to be free from discrimination or humility:

* Respect as a person created in God’s image

* Protection of equal rights before the law

* Freedom from discrimination because of age, sex, race or religion

5) God wants us to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens:

* Good feeling and cooperation among neighbours-blacks and whites, Jews and gentiles, young and old, men and women-to help build a neighbourhood in which no one is denied his or her rightful shalom.”

I would add a sixth point:

6) God wants us to know His love and live as His children for ever.

 

Questions for reflection:

How do you understand the call to be ready?

How does this call influence the way you live?

How might this call change the way you live?

Weekly Rhythm

                Praying the Lectionary Readings

(These resources may be used when preparing to lead or attend Sunday Worship)

Call to worship

(based on Psalm 122 NIV)

 Let us go to the house of the Lord.

Our feet are standing in his gates.

That is where we go

to praise the name of the Lord

In God we find our security.

In God we find our peace.

 

Opening Prayer

 In this season of expectation

we prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah,

into the bustle of our lives

and the hard to find moments of solitude.

We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah,

Into our homes and situations

along with friends and families

We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah,

Into our hearts, and those often hidden parts of our lives.

We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah,

For beneath the surface of Your story

is an inescapable fact:

You entered this world

as vulnerable as any one of us

in order to nail that vulnerability to the cross.

Our fears, our insecurities and our sins –

all that can separate us from God,

exchanged, by your Grace, for Love.

We cannot comprehend the reasoning,

only marvel that Salvation comes to us

through a baby born in a stable,

and reaches out to a world in need.

In this season of anticipation

We prepare to welcome Christ Jesus, Messiah.

To You, O Lord, we bring our lives:
Troubled, broken or at ease,
A sacrificial offering
For You to use.
Take away our selfishness
And teach us to love as You loved.
Take away our sense of pride
And show us the meaning of humility.
Take away our blindness
And show us the world through Your eyes.
Take away our greed
And teach us how to give as You gave.
Show us Your ways,
Teach us Your paths,
That we might walk with you more closely –
Our hand in Your hand,
Our feet in Your footsteps.
From the baby in a stable
To eternity, Amen                 [Source]

 

 Intercessions: 

(Based on the outline of Shalom (peace) as presented above.)

Lord today we pray for Shalom (peace) for all.  As we pray we seek to align ourselves with Your will for this world:  Lord You want everyone to have the basics.  And so we pray that all may have:

* Enough food to eat and clothes to wear

* A decent place to live

* Education to develop gifts and talents

* Good affordable medical care

* Work that is enjoyable and provides adequate income

* Time and places for rest and recreation

* A chance to enjoy beauty in one’s surroundings

* Opportunity to participate in the political and economic decisions affecting one’s life

* Representation by fair, just governmental office-holders

 Lord You want people with special needs to have special help.  And so we pray that there may be:

* Adequate income support for those who can’t work because of a disability

* Understanding counsel for those who are emotionally distressed

* Loving visitors for those who are sick or lonely

* Help and adequate legal counsel for those in prison or in trouble with the law

* Dignity, respect, friendship, and security for the elderly

* Adequate educational, social, and recreational outlets for the young

* Special care for those with special needs, such as the  retarded, orphans, people with drug or alcohol problems.

Lord, You want people to feel secure from threats to their life, health and dignity: and so we pray that there may be:

* Freedom from exploitation or oppression (for example, by loan sharks, unscrupulous real estate speculators, political bosses, police brutality, consumer fraud)

* Personal safety, free from fear or crime or other harassment

* An opportunity to live in a safe, ecologically sound environment

Lord, You want people to be free from discrimination or humility. And so we pray for:

* Respect for persons as created in God’s image

* Protection of equal rights before the law

* Freedom from discrimination because of age, sex, race or religion

Lord, You want us to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens. And so we pray for:

* Good feeling and cooperation among neighbours-blacks and whites, Jews and gentiles, young and old, men and women-to help build a neighbourhood in which no one is denied his or her rightful shalom.”

Lord, You want us to know Your love and live as Your children for ever.  And so we pray:

* That all may love, worship and serve You as the coming King of shalom.

* That all may be ready for You coming as we seek this Kingdom.

In Jesus Name,  Amen

 Sending out:

Christ is coming!

Be ready!

Christ is coming!

Seek His peace!

  

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary 25 November – 1 December

PDF Download

 Readings for the week (1 December, Advent 1, Year A)

(With thanks to www.gbod.org)

Isaiah 2:1-5  – Out of the house of the Lord shall come wisdom and instruction, and all nations will convert their weapons of war into implements for sustaining life.

Psalm 122 A psalm rejoicing in Jerusalem, a foretaste of what Isaiah prophesies.

Romans 13:11-14  – Salvation draws ever nearer, so live in the fullness of Christ, freed from the power of sinful desires.

Matthew 24:36-44The coming of the Son of Man will be a surprise, so stay on the lookout!

 Monday:

Adoration Focus: My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure. (Psalm 71:15)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: O Holy Spirit, knowing the deep things of God: move in the depths of my being.

The Word: See readings above and comments, questions in the Weekly Rhythm of the post.

Seeking the Kingdom

Shared Focus: This week we pray for the “hungry” in our world.  Our intercessions are based on a prayer by Christine Odell.  Today we pray for those who hunger for the necessities of life: food, homes, warm clothing…

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds (Psalm 68:4)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Fire of the Spirit burn all that is not holy…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for those who hunger for healing.  We pray for the depressed, the injured, the dying, the diseased…

Personal Prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Wednesday: 

Adoration Focus: -You rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. (Psalm 67:4)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Fire of the Spirit, generate within us fire…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for those who hunger for peace.  We pray for countries, for homes where there is stress and aggression, for those who cannot sleep at night.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

 Thursday:

Adoration Focus: All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name. (Psalm 66:4)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Fire of the Spirit Inflame us with love…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.] Today we pray for those who hunger for love, for rejected children, for the elderly who have lost companions, for those who consider themselves unlovable.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Saviour. (Psalm 65:5)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Wind of the Spirit, breathe in us thy gentleness…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for those who hunger for a fair chance in life.  For the child deprived of opportunity, for those caught in a situation from which they see no escape.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Because you are my help, I will sing in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 63:7)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: Wind of the Spirit!  Blow in thy strength…

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for those who hunger for God.  For those who feel lost, who pray without hope; who have no sense of Godly comfort, those who are tired and without purpose.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. (Psalm 62:11,12a)

Confession: In our confessions this week we use lines from a prayer by George Appleton.

Today: O Holy Spirit, author of holiness: sanctify my spirit.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: [See Monday.]  Today we pray for all those who hunger deep in their souls, that they may be fed with the Bread of Life.

Personal prayers:

Dedication:

Jesus Christ, Living Bread, feed us now so that we may touch the hunger of this world with your nourishment.

 

 

 

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