Sharing Our Faith Together

Worship for Advent Sunday, 28 November 2021

by Phil Royle 28 November 2021

Welcome to our worship for Advent Sunday. This written service reflects the service being held in our church today.

Advent Liturgy 
First Sunday in Advent:   All God's People Waiting in Hope

Bible Verse:  "The Lord God will wipe away tears from all  faces, and it will be said on that day, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

Today, Advent Sunday we light the first candle on our Advent ring to celebrate how all God's people around the world are watching and waiting for the promises of God to come true. 

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.
(Mark Earey)

Hymn: Thou didst leave Thy throne

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Come Lord God, change us and we shall be changed, 
Increase our awareness of your presence and strengthen our love for you.
Fill our hearts with holiness and awaken us to be ready to welcome you into our lives.
Change us and we shall be changed. Amen

Lord`s Prayer

Reading: Luke 21  25-36

Hymn: O, come, o come Emmanuel

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The time of advent is when we spend time considering our faith and where we are on our journey. A couple of weeks ago, I spent four days at the Classic Motor Show at the NEC in Birmingham and I would like to share some thoughts with you on that – unusual but bear with me.

The Parable of the Petrolheads
For many of us who are fascinated by the motor vehicle, the month of November means one thing – the NEC Classic Motor Show. This is the country`s largest indoor motor show and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from the UK and beyond. The event is regarded by many as the “end of season” after which cars are taken off the road and tucked up for the winter in case they get wet, cold or a bit of salt on them.

I am always intrigued by the car clubs, the vehicles and the owners who turn up at this event. There are stands where all the cars are roped off and their owners huddle in the centre in case any of them are contaminated by the great unwashed. Other cars are in pristine condition, being thirty years old but having only a couple of hundred “dry miles” on the clock. These cars may look good, but underneath will be largely undriveable due to lack of use. Some owners will ferry their cars on a trailer and when they arrive will clean and polish to the Nth degree, using a (new!) toothbrush to clean the threads on the tyre valves and spinning the wheels so that each tyre valve is at “ten o`clock”. The owners will point out that all the slots on the screws are facing the same way etc. and that everything is just as it was when the car left the factory. Other owners will welcome visitors and offer to let them sit in the cars, peer under the bonnet and not worry if there are sticky fingerprints or scuffs as a result as they enjoy sharing their enthusiasm.

If Christianity were a car-show, which category would you fit into? A holy huddle which is exclusive, someone who only has faith when the sun shines, a “perfectionist” who is concerned that everything is perfectly correct and makes no allowances for different views or one who externally looks the part but whose way of life does not back it up? Or are you a welcoming, enthusiastic Christian, prepared to take risks in order to share with others the Good News which has become a part of his/her life? I leave us to ponder.

Creator God, we pray that you will fill the Church with your grace and goodness that we may grow in faith and hospitality reaching out in our mission of love and revealing your light and glory. Make us active in service and praise.

We pray for the world and its nations that dealings between nations should be loving and righteous, that resources should not be hoarded or wasted, but used to the benefit of all. We pray for those who seek solutions to impending climate change and ask that those who will be most adversely impacted will be supported in their need. 

We pray that we should have compassion for the poor and those who suffer oppression and injustice.

Fill our homes with joy and lovemaking us sensitive and gentle in our actions and alert to the needs of others.

We pray for those who are ill in mind, body or spirit praying for them and those who care for them.

We pray for ourselves that we should seek to be your people and your body within this time and place. Amen

Hymn:  Lo, He comes with clouds descending.

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Be people of hope.
Let hope live in your heart and share the hope of Christ with all you meet.
Share hope by noticing someone else’s humanity.
Share hope by listening to someone’s story.
Share hope by praying for our world.
In this Advent season, we need to see, feel, and share hope.
As you go out into the wonder of God’s creations, share hope with those you meet. Amen.