The God who speaks comfort to us call us here,

The God who addresses us with tenderness needs us here,

The God who guides us with gentleness cares for us here,

We come to prepare a way for the Lord, Amen.

 

Today’s Advent Candle is Love and this is also Bible Sunday.

 

Jesus said “I am the light of the world, the one who follows me will

not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

 

Hymn “Hark the glad sound”

 

Prayer of Adoration and Confession

Heavenly Father,

We come to you this morning, to praise and adore you,

You keep the helpless safe and alive, because it is not your design for

them to perish and die,

How great is your wisdom, that you can lead us and guide us.

Close a door and open another,

Give us trials as well as blessings.

And shepherd us all in our lives until we are safe and finally home.

How deep is your love, no matter how grave our problems,

How terrible our mistakes.

How shameful our secrets, and how often we stumble and fall,

We can pray for forgiveness,

We confess that sometimes we are lazy,

We lie back and let things slide,

We neglect what we should care for and we are greedy and buy what we do not need,

We grab what we have enough of, and sometimes we are self righteous and call others

insensitive and uncaring.

And deny that we are guilty of some faults.

We confess that sometimes we forget we are too busy to see you as we wander in the dark.

Forgive us Father, for our sins and shortcomings,

May you peace and loving presence occupy our hears right now in this season of Advent.

In Jesus name we say together the prayer that you taught us.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name,

Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,

Lead us not into temptation , but deliver us from evil,

For thine if the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever, Amen.

 

Old Testament Reading

Isaiah ch 40 v. 1 – 8,

 

New Testament Reading

Mark ch 1 v 1 – 8

 

Hymn is “Comfort, Comfort, now my people”

 

 

 

Address

 

Advent is a season, four weeks before Christmas. It begins on the Sunday nearest to 30th November, so today is the

second Sunday, in Advent.

Advent is the period of preparation and waiting for the celebrating of the birth of Jesus, and the name Advent comes from the

latin word Adventus which meanings COMING. The season also celebrates Christ’s anticipated coming, in the fullness of time,

to reign triumphantly over life in heaven and earth, as well as the coming of Christ as the infant Saviour whose birth we celebrate

at Christmas. The season of Advent came into being towards the middle of the 16th Century.

What a magnificent passage from Mark’s Gospel today. Take the opening phrase ” The beginning of the Good News about Jesus,

the Messiah, the Son of God. Right away we are reminded of the Book of Genesis which starts “In the beginning”

Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the Gospel and the good news starts with John the Baptist. The readers of the Gospel would

know that John was beheaded by Herod for his preaching. He called for a way to be prepared and there was no cheap road.

The Christian community knew that the way of the Lord was the Via Dolorosa, a way of the cross. It is the way that Jesus took

carrying the cross that he was to be crucified on.

Many of the Christians who read this Gospel would also be executed for their message and mission.

John is the first to proclaim God’s Kingdom.

He announces It, not in the temple, but in the desert, where the faith of so many before, had been tested and a place where

people,like Moses had encountered God.

The Jewish people had built a temple but they were called back to the desert, across which so many had come, into the promised

land. The average person can only survive a couple of days in the wilderness without water as the desert is a frightening, lonely

and dangerous place. John calls other people out into the desert and asks them to be baptised as a sign of change of attitude.

So John call us all to change the outline of our personal lives and perhaps, more importantly, of our church and communities.

Advent is not just for 4 weeks of the year but John’s call is an all year round thing, the Messiah who comes to us at Christmas does

not go away, even although all our Christmas gifts, trees etc. are packed away, he will always be there.

Preparing for Advent means facing the questions about whether our religion is skin deep or to what extent we are devoted to

ourselves and others. Whether we are living good or bad lives, how much we care for the poor, the weak. the sick or the stranger.

In the midst of our Church, we know that just as we all prepare for Christmas , in a very different way from normal, we must be

ready to welcome Jesus into our lives and not only at this special time but ALWAYS.

 

Prayer for our Offering

God of a Goodness and Grace,

Receive the gifts we offer you,

And grant that our whole life

Be given to you with Glory and Praise,

Through Jesus Christ, Amen.

 

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession

Heavenly Father,

We thank you for everything that speaks to us of your love and understanding,

We thank you for our health and well being

We thank you for the love we share with our families and with friends,

For the joy of work and the pleasure when we relax.

For sharing with others our happy times and our sad times, We give thanks.

Lord, you granted us so much, we begin to take it all for granted,

W e are glad to say thank you for the blessings of this day.

We pray for all those who have been affected by the coronavirus,

For those who work so hard to keep everyone safe,

Our grateful thanks go to all those who help with the food banks and

we pray for those who are unemployed, where families are struggling,

We ask you Lord, to comfort the bereaved, be there with your presence.

We pray for the those who face prejudice because of their race, colour

or tongue.

We pray for our Queen and her family, for our government and all who

hold office.

Lord, use our prayers, our hands and our hearts to bring comfort, strength

and faith to all people.

These prayers we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen.

 

Hymn “Tell out my soul”.

 

Benediction

May the God of peace and love,

provide us with every good thing we need in order to do his will,

and may he, through Jesus Christ, do in us what pleases him,

and may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all this day and

forever more Amen.