Armadale UCA

29th November2020

Waken Up - God Is Coming`

Advent 1

Welcome and Grace

Advent liturgy and opening prayer

This first Sunday in Advent we light a candle for hope.
Prayer:
God of new beginnings,
as we light this first Advent candle,
keep us alert to signs of hope in our world.
And make us ready for the coming Christ Child,
who is the one true hope for us, for all nations and for all creation.
We pray in His Name. Amen
God of this waiting time,
God who is coming, coming soon,
and in a way we could never have imagined or expected,
we worship You as One who defies expectations,
who astounds and confounds the limitations of human thought,
who promises hope in the darkest of places
through the most unlikely of people.
Into this world of panic and pandemic,
into this world of injustice and inequity,
into this world of great and growing need
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Into our hearts, into our homes, into our lives
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Come, Lord Jesus, come.
This Advent Sunday – longing for hope -
forgive the fear which cripples us.
Lord have mercy – Lord have mercy.
Forgive the darkness which invades our thinking
and colours our thoughts.
Christ have mercy – Christ have mercy.
Forgive the shortsightedness, the lack of vision,
which prevents us from reading the signs of the times.
Lord have mercy – Lord have mercy.
`Lord, don’t continue to be angry with us!
Don’t remember our sins forever!
Please, look at us! We are all your people.`
Isaiah 64: 9
In Your great mercy we hear Christ`s words of grace to each of us `Your sins are forgiven` Thanks be to God. Amen.

TIS 266 `Wake! Awake for night is flying`
Cantus Corner https://youtu.be/3IRu-RZTjYQ
Dominican Sisters of Mary https://youtu.be/uQVu44Md_0A

1.Wake, awake, for night is flying;
the watchmen on the heights are crying:
Awake, Jerusalem, at last!
Midnight hears the welcome voices
and at the thrilling cry rejoices;
come forth, ye virgins, night is past;
the Bridegroom comes, awake;
your lamps with gladness take:
Alleluia!

And for his marriage feast prepare,
for ye must go and meet him there.
2. Zion hears the watchmen singing,
and all her heart with joy is springing;
she wakes, she rises from her gloom;
for her Lord comes down all-glorious,
the strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her Star is risen; her Light is come.
Ah come, thou blessed One,
God's own beloved Son:
Alleluia!

We follow till the halls we see
where thou hast bid us sup with thee.
3. Now let all the heavens adore thee,
and saints and angels sing before thee,
with harp and cymbal's clearest tone;
of one pearl each shining portal,
where we are with the choir immortal
of angels round thy dazzling throne;
nor eye hath seen, nor ear
hath yet attained to hear
what there is ours;
but we rejoice and sing to thee
our hymn of joy eternally.

Philipp Nicolai
Trans. Catherine Winkwoth

Prayer

Readings
Isaiah 64: 1-9; Ps. 80: 1-7, 17-19; Mark 13: 24-37

Isaiah 64: 1-9 (ERV)

1 If you would tear open the skies
    and come down to earth, then everything would change.
    Mountains would melt before you.
The mountains would burst into flames like burning bushes.
    The mountains would boil like water on the fire.
Then your enemies would learn about you.
    And all nations would shake with fear when they see you.
But you have done awesome things that we did not expect.
    You came down, and mountains shook in fear before you.
No one has ever heard of such a God.
    No one has ever heard such a story.
No one has ever seen any God except you,
    who does such great things for those who trust him.
You welcome people who enjoy doing good
and who remember you
    by living the way you want them to.
But we sinned against you,
    and you became angry with us.
    But you always saved us!
We are all dirty with sin.
    Even our good works are not pure.
    They are like bloodstained rags.
We are all like dead leaves.
    Our sins have carried us away like wind.
We don’t call to you for help.
We aren’t excited about following you,
    so you have turned away from us.
We are helpless before you,
    because we are full of sin.
But, Lord, you are our father.
    
We are like clay, and you are the potter.
    Your hands made us all.
Lord, don’t continue to be angry with us!
    Don’t remember our sins forever!
Please, look at us!
    We are all your people.

Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19 (ERV)
To the director: To the tune “Lilies of the Agreement.”

One of Asaph’s songs of praise.

1Shepherd of Israel, listen to us.
    You lead your people[a] like sheep.
You sit on your throne above the Cherub angels.
    Let us see you.
Shepherd of Israel, show your greatness to the tribes of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
    Come and save your people.
God, accept us again.
    Smile down on us and save us!
Lord God All-Powerful, when will you listen to our prayers?
    How long will you be angry with us?
Instead of bread and water,
    you gave your people tears.
You made us the target of everyone’s hatred.
    Our enemies make fun of us.
God All-Powerful, accept us again.
    Smile down on us and save us!
17Reach out and help your chosen one.
    Reach out to the people you raised up.
18 Then we will never leave you.
    Let us live, and we will worship you.
19 Lord God All-Powerful, accept us again.
    Smile down on us and save us!

Mark 13: 24-37 (ERV)
When Jesus, the Son of Man, Comes Again

24 “During the days following that time of trouble,
The sun will become dark,
    and the moon will not give light.
25 The stars will fall from the sky,
    and everything in the sky will be changed.’

26 “Then people will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 He will send his angels all around the earth. They will gather his chosen people from every part of the earth.

28 “The fig tree teaches us a lesson: When its branches become green and soft, and new leaves begin to grow, then you know that summer is very near. 29 In the same way, when you see all these things happening, you will know that the time is very near, already present. 30 I assure you that all these things will happen while some of the people of this time are still living. 31 The whole world, earth and sky, will be destroyed, but my words will last forever.
32 “No one knows when that day or time will be. The Son and the angels in heaven don’t know when that day or time will be. Only the Father knows. 33 Be careful! Always be ready. You don’t know when that time will be.
34 “It’s like a man who goes on a trip and leaves his house in the care of his servants. He gives each one a special job to do. He tells the servant guarding the door to always be ready. And this is what I am telling you now. 35 You must always be ready. You don’t know when the owner of the house will come back. He might come in the afternoon, or at midnight, or in the early morning, or when the sun rises. 36 If you are always ready, he will not find you sleeping, even if he comes back earlier than expected. 37 I tell you this, and I say it to everyone: ‘Be ready!’”

TIS 271 `The Advent of our God`
https://youtu.be/jwWCPrUd9OY

1The advent of our God,
with eager prayers we greet,
and singing hasten on his road
his coming reign to meet.

2 The everlasting Son
was born to make us free;
and he a servant's form put on
to gain our liberty.

3 Let Zion now arise
to greet her infant king,
and gladly take with thankful heart
the peace he comes to bring.

4 As judge, on clouds of light,
he soon will come again,
his scattered people to unite,
with them in heaven to reign.

5 Then evil flee away,
before the rising dawn!
Let our old nature day by day
God's image still put on.

6 Praise to the incarnate Son
who comes to set us free,
with Father, Spirit, ever one
to all eternity.

Charles Coffin
Trans. John Chandler

Reflection and Q and A

Reflection – Advent 1 Waken up! God is coming

If the Queen were coming to visit…
What would you do? How would you prepare? Would you prepare?
I suspect, even if we are staunch Republicans, we`d still make some sort of effort to clean ourselves up, tidy the house, get rid of rubbish about the place, make ourselves presentable.
And if we didn`t know the exact date but had been informed that it was going to happen in the not-too-distant future – I suspect we`d try to be in some sort of state of readiness at least…
Advent is the season in the Christian church when we start to get ready for a right royal visit. We begin to prepare for the coming of King Jesus; not as a mighty ruler, clothed in velvet and cloth of gold, but as a vulnerable child born to humble people in a time of great turmoil and turbulence.
Into and to such a world Christ has always come.
Into darkness. Into fear. Into all the shame and guilt and terror of the darkest parts of us – that`s where Jesus comes.
And when he comes, He will – as he did so long ago – turn the world and people`s lives – upside down.
As the end of 2020 approaches, our tumultuous world - misguided, arrogant – perhaps less so after COVID-19? - remains out of touch with reality, in deep denial about the seriousness of what we face – and desperately needs something or someone to turn things around.
`If you would tear open the skies and come down to earth, then everything would change`. Isaiah 64: 1
In this passage of Isaiah, we hear the longing of people who know their need, who know they`re not right with God, who cry out for God to break in again to save them, to help them, restore and renew them. They are truly sorry and ashamed of how they`ve behaved. Aware of their wrongdoing, they plead for mercy and appeal to the true nature of God which is gracious and forgiving.
Not a bad disposition to have before God – aware, honest, contrite.
Advent is the time for coming to terms with the reality of our lives, the reality of the world – and making the changes required to live into the reign of the Kingdom of God with hope, full of hope.
Is that us?
Are we aware of what`s really going on in our lives and relationships; what`s going on in the world around us?
Are we honest with God about who we are, how we are?
Are we sorry for our sins?
Waken up! God is coming…
And this coming King, this coming Child, He is the true hope for the world, for us all
Set against the backdrop of unrest in Jerusalem, as the time for Passover draws near, Jesus` words in the Gospel reading are an exhortation, an encouragement, and a warning for His disciples.
These are His final words to them on the Mount of Olives
before His arrest, trial, and execution.
He speaks to them of the difficult time ahead.
He emphasises the everlasting nature of His words.
He reminds them of the need to be prepared.
The words of Jesus reverberate today, down through the ages, across all cultures, languages and times.
Do you hear His words for His disciples today?
The world faces a very tricky time ahead.
Tensions among nations. COVID normal.
We need to be ready – for all eventualities.
You can`t lose by being prepared.
And as we prepare we realise the hope that this Child promises,
that He is our hope.
As the Advent song from the Iona Community reminds us about the candle we light on the first Sunday in Advent:
The first is for God`s promise to put the wrong things right
and bring to earth`s darkness the hope of love and light.
Waken up! God is coming.
Be His ready disciple. Be the hope for a changed world.

Prayer and the Lord`s Prayer

TIS 273`Lo! He comes with clouds descending`
https://youtu.be/z2j3rGfoLCA

1.Lo, he comes with clouds descending,
once for favoured sinners slain;
thousand thousand saints attending
swell the triumph of his train:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
God appears on earth to reign.

2. Every eye shall now behold him
robed in dreadful majesty;
those who set at naught and sold him,
pierced and nailed him to the tree,
deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
shall the true Messiah see.

3. Those dear tokens of his passion
still his dazzling body bears,
cause of endless exultation
to his ransomed worshippers:
with what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture,
gaze we on those glorious scars!

4. Yea, Amen, let all adore thee,
high on thine eternal throne;
Saviour, take the power and glory,
claim the kingdom for thine own:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Thou shalt reign and thou alone.

Charles Wesley

Blessing
May the blessing of God, Father, Son and Spirit,
fill you with all hope in believing
and may God`s blessing release you to be and to bring hope to those around you today and every day.
Amen