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Sunday Service During Advent

The Greeting

God in Christ has revealed his glory.
Come let us worship.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
the Lord’s name is greatly to be praised.
Give him praise, you servants of the Lord.
O praise the name of the Lord!

Prayers of Penitence

When the Lord comes, he will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness, and will disclose the purposes of the heart.
Therefore in the light of Christ let us confess our sins.
Father eternal, giver of light and grace,
we have sinned against you and against our neighbour,
in what we have thought,
in what we have said and done,
through ignorance, through weakness,
through our own deliberate fault.
We have wounded your love,
and marred your image in us.
We are sorry and ashamed,
and repent of all our sins.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
who died for us, forgive us all that is past;
and lead us out from darkness
to walk as children of light.


The almighty and merciful Lord
grant us pardon and forgiveness of all our sins,
time for amendment of life,
and the grace and strength of the Holy Spirit.


Restore us, Lord God of hosts.
Turn the light of your face to us and save us.
Will you not give us life again,
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your mercy, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest.
Blessed be God,
Blessed be God for ever.


Old Testament: Isaiah 64:1-9
O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
   so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
   and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
   so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
   you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
   no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
   who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right,
   those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
   because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean,
   and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
   and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name,
   or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
   and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
   we are the clay, and you are our potter;
   we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
   and do not remember iniquity for ever.
   Now consider, we are all your people.

The Gospel: Mark 13:24-end
Jesus said ‘But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
   and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
   and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

Other Readings for Advent Sunday: Psalm 80:1-8 & 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

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.


So, this Sunday, we begin the season of Advent with its eschatological focus.
We long for the coming of Christ's Kingdom in power and we prepare with a penitential response, trying to see this season as distinct and not merely a countdown to Christmas measured through an Advent calendar.

This year we approach Advent in lockdown, restrained in an enforced place of retreat, perhaps bewildered by our recent past, by our present reality and by the unknown shape of the journey ahead of us.

We come into this year's Advent season disorientated, disappointed, even distressed, and yet for some there is hope, there is a sense of opportunity and for many of us, we live with a mixture of all those emotions.

We know that this has been a season marked by watching. We've watched the movement of the R number. We’ve watched places, places, where there has been much suffering and many encounters with Covid and places where that has been less pronounced.

We've watched for people, those we know and those we love.
It's been a season which we've watched those who bring commentary, interpretation, speculation of all that is going on around us.

It's been a season, where we've watched good news and bad news. As we watch and read and speculate, recognise those elements of the unknown, the uninterpretable, the unexpected.
In this week's Gospel reading Jesus speaks of his return. He emphasises whatever we think we can see, we can't guess, we can't anticipate, we don't know when.

I remember the first time, as a teenager, when my parents and brother and sister went on holiday and I stayed at home doing my holiday job, and trying to go to the edge of the town where we lived and to wait for them as they returned from the ferry and came back home.
Never quite sure whether I was going to see them, where they'd come back by another route, whether I had miss them. There was that period of watching and waiting for their car to return in the stream of cars on the road.

Jesus’ instruction to us is clear. There is a sense of emphasis in what He says: ‘Be alert, be on watch.’ And twice repeated, ‘Keep awake!’

My background is in hospitality management and part of my training was that I have worked in pretty well every department of hotels, including being a night porter. And part of the role of your night porter is to be both watchful and awake. In the biggest hotels you literally patrol the whole hotel and there is a system that makes sure that you check in floor by floor, so that those in management know that you have been awake and have done your job of watching and checking that the hotel is safe. It's not just left to trust, you have to show that you're awake and show that you're being watchful.

And in our reading, in our anticipation of Advent, we are invited too to be spiritual, spiritually watchful, to make sure that we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Knowing that the master, who we will recognise, will return, we just don't know whe,n but we're asked to be ready.

So, we pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, who's Advent all shall see. Let your coming be with triumph, but not to our shame. That your coming be with glory, but not to our surprise. That your coming be with justice, but not to our judgment.
Make our love burn bright for you, our walk, endure and our faith increase, that with you we may rejoice on that day and so enter into your eternal Kingdom. Amen

From The Venerable Andy Wooding Jones

Affirmation of Faith

Let us declare our faith in God.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.

Prayers of Intercession

Watchful at all times,
let us pray for strength to stand with confidence
before our Maker and Redeemer.
That God may bring in his kingdom with justice and mercy,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, have mercy.

That God may establish among the nations
his sceptre of righteousness,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, have mercy.

That we may seek Christ in the Scriptures
and recognize him in the breaking of the bread,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, have mercy.

That God may bind up the broken hearted,
restore the sick
and raise up all who have fallen,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, have mercy.

That the light of God’s coming may dawn
on all who live in darkness and the shadow of death,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, have mercy.

That, with all the saints in light,
we may shine forth as lights for the world,
let us pray to the Lord:
Lord, have mercy.

We commend ourselves and all for whom we pray
to the mercy and protection of our heavenly Father:

Silence is kept.

Almighty God,
as your blessed Son Jesus Christ
first came to seek and to save the lost;
so may he come again to find in us
the completion of his redeeming work;
for he is now alive
and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

The Lord’s Prayer

As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
Our Father, which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil:
for thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.


May God the Father,
who loved the world so much that he sent his only Son,
give you grace to prepare for life eternal.

May God the Son,
who comes to us as redeemer and judge,
reveal to you the path from darkness to light.

May God the Holy Spirit,
by whose working the Virgin Mary conceived the Christ,
help you bear the fruits of holiness.

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