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Worship Sheet for Sunday 29 November – Advent Sunday – God is with us

Advent Sunday – Christmas is coming. Paul reminds us that we have been given so many blessings in Christ Jesus and that even when things are tough, days are dark in every sense, there is hope.
Call: He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. As we come to worship may we know the hope of the Lord Jesus – God with us always.
Candle We light our first advent candle - Jesus is the light of the world. A light no darkness can ever put out. We sing: Advent candles tell their story as we watch and pray, longing for the Day of Glory, ’Come, Lord, soon,’ we say. Pain and sorrow, tears and sadness, changed for gladness on that Day.

Mini Service
Read or Print the Mini service by clicking on this link  
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Listen to the 1st Prayer

Pray: Lord, many today live in darkness, fear and hopelessness – long before covid. Gracious God, help us to tread the difficult path between siding with those whose world is dark, letting them know that we care, love and support them AND holding on to the hope for today, tomorrow and forever that you offer us in Jesus your Son. As the light of the world came into our dark world to share our suffering and transformed it by his love and self-giving so may we offer real hope now and for eternity to those around us. May we be beacons of hope in these times of gloom. Arise shine for your light is come. Take us with our faults and failings, our own darkness drear and so fill us with the light of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit that we may be effective agents of the living Lord – signs of hope for our community and world . Hear us as we pray together saying: Our Father…

Read or print the Passage for the week by clicking this link:
1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Blessings in Christ (some refs to Mark 13).
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Read or Print the Sermon by clicking this link            
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Thought: Advent in the minds of most church folk concerns the coming of Son of God as a baby in Bethlehem – a time of preparation for the Saviour’s birth. But there is also a future element too – to his coming in glory at the end of time. We need to be prepared for that too. We are apt to put off thoughts of heaven, perhaps because there is some lurking fear that all will not be well. Paul reminds us of the many blessings that are ours in Jesus, blessings that are not earned but given freely by his grace; blessings that can’t be taken from us through force of circumstance, blessings that stretch beyond our earthly lives and prevail into eternity. Doubts are OK, we need to be honest about them, but we shouldn’t let them grip us – for our hope isn’t based on how good we are or how strong is our faith but rather on the goodness and grace of God. By all means prepare for Christmas – practically for longed for contact with family and friends – in person if that is allowed this year – in a spiritual way too to celebrate the birth of our Saviour (again with the restrictions) but also for the future, our VERY long term future – holding firm to the promises of God that in Jesus we have a sure and certain hope of eternal life. Perfect love casts out fear. We still live with many uncertainties in a world that can be dark as well as daunting – but there is hope. Past put behind us, for the future take us – to live for Christ alone.

Praise: CH4 468 Son of God, eternal Saviour 3 vs
Read or Print Hymn CH4 468 by clicking this link
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Listen to the 2nd Prayer

Pray: Heavenly Father, even coming to worship we find ourselves focusing on darkness and troubles. In our prayers this morning, without ignoring the plight of so many in this country and even more so across the world help us to focus on the positives that your Son brings – he is still God with us, Immanuel – not waving a magic wand to remove our difficulties but drawing alongside us, helping us to bear burdens, sharing his love, giving us hope, shedding his light so that we can see the way to go. Open our hearts to take in his blessings, building our capacity for sharing his love with others, that we may be conduits of grace and love, passing on the good news for today and for all eternity – effecting positive change in people’s lives and in communities near and far. Yes, we pray for all in distress, sorrow and need but we pray positively for the hope promised by Jesus, the light of the world, to be seen, experienced and shared in a world that so desperately needs it. There is hope. God is with us. In our prayer walk we remember those who live or work in Museum St and Chapel Place.
Lord hear our prayers spoken and unspoken and answer them for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen Blessing May the Lord bless you. Amen.