Morning Service for Advent Sunday 2022

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Advent is all about waiting. But there is more than one sort of waiting - there is the kind of waiting when you know something's going to happen and you know when it's going to happen. Like Christmas, we all know when it is so we know how long we have to wait. 

Morning Service for Advent Sunday 2022

HYMN Creator of the stars of night NEH 1/AMR45- Conditor Alme

1. Creator of the stars of night,

Thy people’s everlasting light,

Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,

And hear Thy servants when they call.

2. Thou, grieving that the ancient curse

Should doom to death a universe,

Hast found the medicine, full of grace,

To save and heal a ruined race.

3. Thou cam’st, the bridegroom of the bride,

As drew the world to evening-tide;

Proceeding from a virgin shrine,

The spotless victim all divine.

4. At whose dread name, majestic now,

All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;

And things celestial Thee shall own,

And things terrestrial, Lord alone.

5. O Thou whose coming is with dread

To judge and doom the quick and dead,

Preserve us, while we dwell below,

From every insult of the foe.

6. To God the Father, God the Son,

And God the Spirit, Three in One,

Laud, honour, might, and glory be

From age to age eternally.

PRAYER OF PREPARATION
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,
all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen


PRAYERS OF PENITENCE 

We recall our Lord’s command to love and in a moment of silence we confess 

the many ways we fail to keep his command:

Most merciful God, 

Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess that we have sinned
in thought, word and deed.
We have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be;
that we may do justly, love mercy,
and walk humbly with you, our God.  Amen

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.


THE COLLECT

Almighty God,

give us grace to cast away the works of darkness

and to put on the armour of light,

now in the time of this mortal life,

in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;

that on the last day,

when he shall come again in his glorious majesty

   to judge the living and the dead,

we may rise to the life immortal;

through him who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen.

FIRST READING – Isaiah 2.1-5

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 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. 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. 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.

O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!

HYMN Come, thou long-expected Jesus – NEH 3/AMR 54 Cross of Jesus

1 Come, thou long-expected Jesus,

Born to set thy people free,

From our fears and sins release us,

Let us find our rest in thee.

2 Israel’s strength and consolation,

Hope of all the earth thou art,

Dear desire of every nation,

Joy of every longing heart.

3 Born thy people to deliver,

Born a child and yet a king,

Born to reign in us for ever,

Now thy gracious kingdom bring.

4 By Thine own eternal Spirit,

Rule in all our hearts alone;

By thine all-sufficient merit

Raise us to thy glorious throne.

GOSPEL – Matthew 24.36-44

“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

SERMON

Advent is all about waiting. But there is more than one sort of waiting – there is the kind of waiting when you know something’s going to happen and you know when it’s going to happen. Like Christmas, we all know when it is so we know how long we have to wait. 

And there are things that you wait for that you don’t know quite when they going to happen just that they will. Like catching the ball, you know that someone’s going to throw it to you, but you don’t know quite when so you have to stay ready, just in case – fielding in cricket is exactly like that. And we all know that life is like a game of cricket. 

The problem with this kind of waiting is that you can’t just sit there with your hands at the ready for hour after hour, day after day, waiting in case somebody hits the ball to you. 

You have to acquire an attitude of readiness, a state of mind, even perhaps a philosophy of life of readiness. 

For the Christian this philosophy has something to do with the future being within the hands of God. It means that however dark, however bleak, however unpleasant the present is we know that we can trust God for the future, or rather, trust the future to God. It’s not that all is neatly planned out, neatly prepared with no possibility for change, it’s rather that God is still creating, still making things new, still redeeming, still being our salvation. This is what we can understand by the doctrine of Christ’s coming again – the great theme of this Advent season. God hasn’t finished his work – he hasn’t given up, and nor must we.

Within the context of a world that is designed for change, and is for ever changing, within a relationship with God who is calling people to change, we can be confident, we can “stand-up and raise our heads, because our redemption is drawing near” – because it is always drawing near, because the future is a redemption that is God’s will for us. 

This belief and understanding will only be of use to us, however, if we remember not to be weighed down with the worries of this life. Darkness is all about us and despair lies like a trap ready to spring shut upon us, that is why we must be ‘alert at all times.’

Advent is a time when we celebrate light coming into our darkness. The people who can use Advent best are those who both comprehend the darkness and do not despair  – because they welcome the light, born anew each day in a daily advent of renewed life and hope. 

We are, as people of faith, encouraged to accept many notions of the wonders to come, either in heaven, or at a terrifying end time to be awaited, if not expected.  We are sometimes less keen to see the importance of the time that is, the challenge and the wonder of the everyday.  We look for God in extraordinary experiences, in the so-called miraculous and we are tempted to devalue the present.  

We fail to see Christ in the world, in the wonder of the woman I knew who, though debilitated and rendered almost helpless through a wasting disease, could still thank God for his help and his strength;  in the dignity of a bereaved husband whose wife’s funeral I took who could thank God for the years he and his wife had together, though they should have had many more.  The person of no overt faith who is prepared to sacrifice all to treat the diseased and poor overseas.  Why do we not see Jesus present in all of these people.  

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

This is the coming that should fill our thoughts, and our prayers.  This is where the second coming begins, it may not end there, there may be spectacular things to come, but, for the moment, like heaven itself, it begins here in the hearts of ordinary people, in the close and sometimes frightening reality of today.

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH
Let us declare our faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures;
he was buried; he was raised to life on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures;
afterwards he appeared to his followers,
and to all the apostles: this we have received,
and this we believe. Amen.
1 Corinthians 15.3-7

HYMN O come, O come, Emmanuel NEH 11/AMR 49 – Veni Emmanuel

1. O COME, O come, Emmanuel!

Redeem thy captive Israel,

That into exile drear is gone

Far from the face of God’s dear Son.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel.

2. O come, thou Wisdom from on high!

Who madest all in earth and sky,

Creating man from dust and clay:

To us reveal salvation’s way.

3. O come, O come, Adonai,

Who in thy glorious majesty

From Sinai’s mountain, clothed with awe,

Gavest thy folk the ancient law.

4. O come, thou Root of Jesse! draw

The quarry from the lion’s claw;

From those dread caverns of the grave,

From nether hell, thy people save.

5. O come, thou Lord of David’s Key!

The royal door fling wide and free;

Safeguard for us the heavenward road,

And bar the way to death’s abode.

6. O come, O come, thou Dayspring bright!

Pour on our souls thy healing light;

Dispel the long night’s lingering gloom,

And pierce the shadows of the tomb.

7. O come, Desire of nations! show

Thy kingly reign on earth below;

Thou Corner-stone, uniting all,

Restore the ruin of our fall.

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION – Kristin Tridimas 

O Lord, help us to hold ourselves ready and to live our lives righteously with faith, love and forgiveness.

Thank you for the benefice of Compton, Hursley and Otterbourne and for William and all who minister in our churches.  As Advent begins and we enter the pre-Christmas period, we pray that our churches will be warm and inviting spaces where we can worship the coming of Christ and welcome in the wider community with events like the Tree Festival and Christingle services.  Help us to shine a light and spread joy.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer. 

We pray for peace in the world, for the end of war and conflict.  We think especially of Ukraine at this moment but we also remember those caught up in conflict in other parts of the world.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer. 

Let us not forget those in need, both in our own communities and in the wider community; the elderly, the sick and those struggling with the cost of living.  Give a thought at Christmas for the homeless on our streets and the organisations that help them:  the Beacon and the Trinity Centre in Winchester and other organisations elsewhere.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer. 

We pray for all those who are suffering illness, pain, depression, anxiety, bereavement and other hidden ailments.  We think especially of the families in Ukraine who will be facing a winter without power and we think also of the families in this country who cannot afford to heat their homes.  We pray today for Roger Loman and Jeannie Briton and we remember the recently departed:  John Gillings, Muriel Wilmshurst and Philip House.  As we think of anyone known to us personally, let us offer a prayer of hope and love.

Lord, in your mercy – Hear our prayer. 

In this season of Advent we look forward to a time of prayer, worship, thanksgiving and celebration.  As we go into the coming week, give us peace and love in our hearts, the strength to combat any setbacks, and help us to find the joy in all things.  May we go forward in expectation and hope.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Amen

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours
now and for ever. Amen.

BLESSING
The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face to shine upon and be gracious unto you.

The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

The Lord God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

the holy and undivided Trinity, guard you, save you,

and bring you to that heavenly city,

where he lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen

HYMN  Lo he comes with clouds descending NEH 9/AMR 51 – Helmsley

1 LO! he comes with clouds descending,

Once for favoured sinners slain;

Thousand thousand saints attending

Swell the triumph of his train:

Alleluya!

God appears, on earth to reign.

2 Every eye shall now behold him

Robed in dreadful majesty;

Those who set at nought and sold him,

Pierced and nailed him to the tree,

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

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:

O come quickly!

Alleluya! Come, Lord, come!

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