URC Daily Devotion Sunday Worship 27 November

Order of Service

Below you will find the Order of Service, prayers, hymns and sermon for today’s service.   You can either simply read this or you can

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Sunday Worship from the United Reformed Church
for Sunday 27 November 2022


Today’s service is led by The Revd Jan Adamson
The First Sunday of Advent


This service has been prepared by the Rev’d Jan Adamson, Interim Moderator for Bathgate URC, and Synod Clerk for Scotland.  She lives in West Lothian with husband, John. Unfortunately Jan is recovering from a nasty bug which has left it difficult for her to speak without coughing so she asked me, Andy Braunston, to record her material for her which I’m pleased to be able to do. So, for those listening at home, Jan hasn’t changed her voice dramatically!  This Sunday we welcome the beginning of the Christian year and Advent. It is a time to think about the return of Jesus, it is a time to be looking out for the signs of the kingdom of God breaking through into our world. It is when we should be staying alert in order to ensure that we are ready to stand before him. The liturgical colour changes today, to that of purple – the colour for penitence, as we should use this time to reflect upon our weak humanity, confess our sins and seek forgiveness.  Let us worship God.
Call To Worship
A new year dawns, a saviour comes. 
A time to prepare, a time to get ready.
A time to reflect, a time to repent.
A time to begin again, a time to start afresh. 
A time to worship and adore.
Hymn    O come, O come, Emmanuel
18th century, based on the ancient Advent Antiphons translated John Mason Neale (1818-1866)  Sung by Michael Eldridge of Acapeldridge  acapeldridge.com
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.
O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave:

 Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
and drive away the shades of night,
and pierce the clouds and bring us light!

Prayers of Adoration, Confession and Assurance of Forgiveness

Lord God, you tell us that you are coming among us, and we are excited.
You come to be our King. You come to be our Saviour.
You come to be our Shepherd. You come to be our friend.
And we know, Lord Jesus, that you come for everyone in our family, 
our church, our community, our land and our world.
Help us to make you known by word and deed 
so that people will be ready for your coming.
And when you come, Dear Jesus,
come and make your home in our hearts, that we shall be healed.
We live in a chaotic world, Lord, 
for though you have shown us the way of life, 
we have not walked in it.
We have gone our own separate ways, done our own things.
We thought we could live without you.
We have pretended not to need you.
We have tried our independence.
Now loving God, forgive what is past; renew what is, 
and lead us into the future of your Son, 
for he only is Lord, and there is no other. 
He is the truth that sets us free. 
God of our lives help us to walk in his ways.
To all who turn to him he says: “Your sins are forgiven!”
He also says: “Follow Me!” Thanks be to God.  Amen
Candle Lighting


For this service, I have taken the theme of hope and we light today, our first advent candle to represent the hope – in our Old Testament reading we hear of patriarchs who were Christ’s ancestors.  Isaiah hopes that, after judgement, the nations will live together peacefully in the, light of God’s law of love.  In our Gospel reading from St Matthew, we hear that even if the light of the day seems slow to come, it is necessary not to return to sleep, but to always be prepared.  And so we light the first candle and pray…
Eternal God, 
hope of the hopeless
give us hope in you,
hope for a better world
hope for your return amongst us,
hope that we can make a difference in the gloom. Amen.
Isaiah 2: 1 – 5
The word that Isaiah son of Amos saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Psalm 122    I Rejoiced When I Heard Them Say
© 1993, Bernadette Farrell. (b 1957)  OCP Publications 
Sung by the Frank Brownstead Choir / Orchard Enterprises
I rejoiced when I heard them say:
‘Let us go to the house of God.’
And now our feet are standing
in your gates, O Jerusalem!

Like a temple of unity
is the city, Jerusalem.
It is there all tribes will gather,
all the tribes of the house of God.

Shalom, shalom, the peace of God be here.
Shalom, shalom, God’s justice be ever near.
 It is faithful to Israel’s law,
there to praise the name of God.
All the judgement seats of David
were set down in Jerusalem.
Shalom, shalom, 
the peace of God be here.
Shalom, shalom, 
God’s justice be ever near.
For the peace of all nations, pray:
for God’s peace within your homes.
May God’s lasting peace
surround us;
may it dwell in Jerusalem.
For the love of my friends and kin
I will bless you with signs of peace.
For the love of God’s own people
I will labour and pray for you.

St Matthew 24: 36 – 44
But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark,  and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

“The Homeless Jesus”  by Timothy Scmalz
photo credit: Jan Adamson
This picture is a life-sized figure cast in bronze of a person sleeping on a park bench. The figure has a blanket covering the head, but the feet are uncovered. The feet however, are pierced suggesting that the figure is Christ, hence it being known as the “Homeless Jesus!”
The artist intends to illustrate the saying from Matthew’s gospel: ‘In so far as you did this to one of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me.’ 
The church for which this sculpture was made, refused to accept it. It was later blessed by Pope Francis and since then copies have been cast for countries all over the world. For Scotland, Glasgow Churches Together received planning permission from Glasgow City Council to place this one behind St Georges Tron – right in the heart of the busiest pedestrian areas of central Glasgow. Private subscriptions raised the £30K for its installation.
As at February 2022 Homeless Network Scotland records show 13,192 households containing 7,510 children were in temporary accommodation plus 26,001 registered homelessness cases. And they are the ones who have registered, which begs the question, just how many actual numbers are there sleeping on the streets?
HOPE!          Maybe for an end to homelessness?
The words we heard from Isaiah speak of insecurity. The people of Judah had been living under the very real threat of invasion. They feared they were losing control over more and more of their land and so it is into this midst of fear and anxiety that Isaiah offers a vision of Hope. Two thousand years on one could easily be led into thinking that this was a new concept for 2022, as  I write, the Ukrainian President has just issued an appeal for his people to leave part of the war-torn area now under Russian attack. For them, where is HOPE? Where will they go? Where can they go?
HOPE!   Maybe for and end of war?  Hope for Peace?
Christians have looked forward to the return of Jesus and I don’t know about you, but I would love Jesus to come again in my life time, just as those who have gone before me expected him to come in their lifetimes. What is important is that it’s not so much when, but that he could. Jesus, emphasising in his teaching, “You must be ready, because the Son of Man WILL come at an hour when you do not expect him!”
We have much to remind us lately of the perishability of the world, which for many has influenced well-being, values and priorities. 
HOPE!        It’s at an all-time high!  
The way we conduct ourselves as the people of God, whether in good times or bad, is very important. The world can often feel like a threatening place, and there may be times when we are at the mercy of events outwith our control. But the scriptures encourage us to look beyond immediate circumstances towards an inspired vision of how things could be, and then to live as people who are on a journey towards God’s alternative reality.
As we approach December many homeless charities will be getting ready to open shelters for the Christmas season. May those seeking shelter this Advent season, find the seeds of HOPE! 
HOPE for a new beginning.
HOPE for engagement on a new journey towards NEW HOPE!
Hymn    All My Hope On God is Founded
Robert Bridges (1844-1930) (alt.)  based on Joachim Neander (1650-1680)
All my hope on God is founded,
all my trust he will renew;
safe through change 
and chance he guides me,
only good and only true.
God unknown, 
he alone
calls my heart to be his own.
Human pride and earthly glory,
sword and crown betray His trust;
though with care and toil 
we build them,
tower and temple fall to dust.
But God’s power, hour by hour,
is my temple and my tower.
God’s great goodness 
aye endureth,
deep his wisdom passing thought:
splendour, light, 
and life attend him,
beauty springeth out of naught.
Evermore, from his store
new-born worlds rise and adore.
Still from earth to God in heaven sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising for the gift of Christ his Son.
Hear Christ call one and all: those who follow shall not fall.


The work of our churches continues to inspire through the Gospel, continues to care, and continues to walk alongside many in differing, challenging circumstances. Your giving enables this work help reach those who need it most. Thank you, whether it be via direct debit, card readers or envelopes into the offertory plate, your contribution is so very valued and appreciated.
We pray:  Bountiful God, we give thanks for all that we have been blessed with.  Our skills and talents, our friendships, families, communities to name a few.  May these monetary gifts given in response go someway  towards your work and presence being made known to others.       Amen
Prayers of Intercession
Creator God, we give you our thanks for your creativity, your generosity in sending us your Son and for continued support through your gift of the Holy Spirit. 
We come before you to seek your healing. We think today of those living with HIV and AIDS and thank you for the treatment successes, and that people with HIV can live long and fulfilled lives.
We pray for all the sick, the lost, the lonely, the grieving. We pray for the homeless, and for those who bring hope through shelters and hostels. May they find Hope and be filled with your peace.
Holy God, you call all nations to you and we pray for all nations, that we may live together in peace together. We pray for diplomats and those who seek to resolve conflict without war.
Loving God, heal our brokenness, so that we may put aside our anger and genuinely seek peace. Where we are at odds with those around us, give us grace to seek reconciliation.
Help us we pray to open ourselves to your presence, encouraging us to work for peace and justice for which we HOPE for each day.
Fill us with your Spirit so that we can be among those who create a community of wholeness and Shalom.
In the name of Jesus for whom we wait in patience.  Amen
Hymn    In Christ Alone
Stuart Townend & Keith Getty Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music 
Sung by the group Celtic Worship.
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest 
drought and storm.
What heights of love, 
what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled,
when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! – 
who took on flesh,
fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones He came to save:
till on that cross as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied –
for every sin on Him was laid;
here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
light of the world by darkness slain:
then bursting forth in glorious day
up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
for I am His 
and He is mine –
bought with the precious 
blood of Christ.
 No guilt in life, no fear in death,
this is the power of Christ in me;
from life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no human plan,
can ever pluck me from His hand:
till He returns or calls me home,
here in the power 
of Christ I’ll stand.

In the waiting, may we hold onto 
the enduring of love, the persisting of hope,
 the remembering of joy, 
the offering of gratitude, the receiving of grace, 
and the blessing of peace.
Blessing: © Jan Richardson from Circle of Grace:  A Book of Blessings for the Seasons  Prayers extracted and amended from Rootsontheweb and URC Prayer Handbook 2022 
Opening and Closing music: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming (1609), Michael Praetorius, performed by The Eden Consort. Used with their kind permission. 
Thanks to Graham Handscomb, John Young, John Wilcox, Kathleen Haynes, Marion Thomas and Diana Cullum-Hall for recording the spoken parts of the service. 
Copyright: Where words are copyright reproduced under the terms of Barrhead URC’s CCLI licence number 1064776,
Some material reprinted, and streamed, with permission under ONE LICENSE A-734713 All rights reserved. 
PRS Limited Online Music Licence LE-0019762
This material is only for use in local churches not for posting to websites or any other use.  Local churches must have copyright licences to allow the printing and projection of words for hymns.

Where words are copyright reproduced under the terms of Barrhead URC’s CCLI licence number 1064776,
Some material reprinted, and streamed, with permission under ONE LICENSE A-734713 All rights reserved.
PRS Limited Online Music Licence LE-0019762


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