Home Service for Sunday 19th December 2021 The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Home Service 19/12/21 – Last one before Christmas!

Call to Worship

The God who speaks comfort to us calls us here.
The God who addresses us with tenderness meets us here.
The God who guides us with gentleness cares for us here.
We come to prepare a way for the Lord.
We come to ready ourselves for the transformation of our lives.
For the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it.

A prayer for reconciliation

We pray for peace in our world.
The world around us trumpets violence and destruction.
Nations know war all too well.
Your invitation to carry an olive branch seems ludicrous as the call to arms is sounded.
Help us to seek your reconciliation.

A Prayer for harmony

We pray for peace with the earth.
The earth groans under the weight of its human inhabitants.
Our trail is too often measured by its destruction.
The love you share for all of your creation atrophies in our hands.
Help us to seek your harmony.

Please read Luke 2:22-35

Reflection

Advent is about anticipating the birth of Christ. It’s about longing and desiring what is yet to come. And so we wait, expectantly. Together. Because all is not right.
Something is missing.
It seems our world suffers from acute cynicism: nothing is ever as good as it seems. You will be let down. You will be betrayed. That institution? That church? That politician? That authority figure? They’ll all let you down.
Whatever you do, don’t get your hopes up. You will be burnt, just give it time!
Advent confronts this cynicism with the insistence that God has not abandoned the world, hope is real and something is coming.
Advent charges into the temple of cynicism with a whip of hope, overturning the tables of despair, driving out the priests of that jaded cult, announcing there’s a new day and it’s not like the one that came before it.
Old man Simeon stands in the temple, holding the Christ child, rejoicing that now he can die because what he’d been waiting for actually arrived.
And so each November or December we enter into a season of waiting, expecting, longing. We ask God to enter into the deepest places of cynicism, bitterness and hardness where we have stopped believing that tomorrow can be better than today. We open up. We soften up. We turn our hearts in the direction of that day when the baby cries His first cry and we, surrounded by shepherds and angels and everybody in between, celebrate.

A prayer for serenity

We pray for peace in our relationships.
As families and friends gather for the holiday season, our collective stress level often reaches a tragic peak.
The very people we claim to love can at the same time be the source of our pain.
Help us to seek your serenity.

A prayer for tranquillity

We pray for peace within ourselves.
Caught in the frenetic holiday rush, a still small voice beckons from within.
Our frantic pace belies the aimlessness that holds us hostage.
Created for relationship, our isolation eats at the fabric of our being.
Help us to seek your tranquillity.

Closing Prayer

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Go with us now into the world.
We can begin again!
Everything is about to change.
So make everything new. Make us new
Reveal your glory in our lives and in the rhythms of our lives, so that nothing will get in the way of your coming. Amen.

Suggested Music: Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRAFQCOkjgE E’en so, Lord Jesus www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdWN5DQ77Wk Into The Darkness of This World www.youtube.com/watch?v=qXKOxub5obc Gloria www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5mdybeyLVc

Fantastic film clip: Nativity! One Night, One Moment www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JNueXuWzag

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