Worship Notes for November….an early Advent?

Worship Notes for November

Dear Friends,

As you know we produce Worship Notes each month to help those leading worship prepare services well.  We publish these at least a month before they are due to be used and November’s are now available on the URC website here https://urc.org.uk/your-faith/prayer-and-worship/worship-notes/

There are two ideas I’d like to share with you about these.  Each year ministers and worship leaders struggle with Advent.  We want to focus on the Advent theme of Christ’s Second Coming whilst, at the same time, we’re preparing for Christmas.  Carols and seasonal music fills the airwaves, parties and preparations for Christmas abound and despite our best efforts we end up focused on Christ’s first not his second coming.  A friend told me that when she had pastoral charge she started Advent early in mid November to try and give it a good airing.  Looking at the November readings this year it seems the Lectionary compilers have given us this as a gift.  On 12th November we have Jesus’ parable about wise and foolish maidens, on 19th we have the parable of the bags of gold (often sadly rendered as talents which rather obscures the meaning) and on 26th for the festival of Christ the King we have the Last Judgement.  Those of you who lead worship might want to take advantage of these readings and quietly start Advent a little early!

A rather newer special Sunday is Safeguarding Sunday marked each year on the third Sunday in November.  I have prepared an additional set of notes for this Sunday using the normal Lectionary readings.  I offer tips for some practical aspects around such a service, and use ideas of silence from the Zephaniah reading (being silenced, needing to speak out, and abusers and their allies standing silent in the face of justice), the Psalmist’s conviction that secret sins will be made visible in the light of God’s countenance, and the idea that in the ill-named parable of the Talents the third slave is a Christ figure who speaks the truth to power and suffers for it.  Hope is found in the reading which follows, the parable of the sheep and goats, where the King returns to administer long delayed justice.

I know that those who plan worship often plan well ahead and thought that it would be useful to know these resources are available.  Of course October’s notes are available too and it won’t be too long before December’s Advent material is published with the Christmas material shortly afterwards.

With every good wish


The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Minister for Digital Worship

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