Welcome to the gathering of St. Mark’s Church (Sunday worship under one roof) Sunday, November 28th, 2021.
14 “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
15 “‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
16 In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’
In Jeremiah, God tells the people that He will make good on his promises, and that a branch will grow out of something that everyone thought was dead – the stump of an old tree.
It’s a metaphor – the nations around Judea didn’t see them as powerful or important like they had been once upon a time…
The great nation of Israel wasn’t really great any more, it was small and it was in the hands of the powerful Roman Empire.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to build an Advent tree – each week we are going to add some things to it as we think about different parts of getting closer to Christmas.
This week, we are thinking about anticipation.
Reading from Jeremiah talks about anticipating something new growing out of something old – a new branch growing out of the stump. This reading often gets included in Advent readings because we believe that it was pointing towards Jesus.
I’ve already added a couple of big branches to this stump. Can I invite 3 children to come and add a few more branches?
Think about the things you anticipate:
What do you hope God will bring new life to?
What do you hope to do or new things you want to learn?
What faith things do you look forward to God nurturing and growing in you?
What do you look forward to God disrupting?
[Source: Intergen Australia]
What do you hope God will bring new life to for our church?
Write a word or a phrase that represents your hope on the back of the leaf. At the conclusion of the service come and add the leaf to the branches.
So we light the candle of Hope.
Song: ‘By the Father of Lights (We Believe)’
Welcome and Notices:
– COVID-19 Protection Framework aka Traffic Light System: On Wednesday, the Parish Council received advisory documentation 6 in all from the Council of Assembly office. On Thursday night, we have worked through the documents. The decisions we make and its implications are not straight forward. The work required will be substantial. Please pray for the Parish Council for wisdom and guidance. We will make relevant decisions and make plans to meet the requirements for the duty of care for our church family, visitors, and community groups that share our complex.
The Parish Council will endeavor to be able to inform the church of our decisions and what this means during this coming week.
Song: Aaronic Blessing
Praying the Psalm:
Today we are praying together the beginning section from Psalm 84. In this prayer God’s home is envisioned, the temple that represents God’s home. It is envisioned as a place of belonging, a place of intimacy and care, where our deepest yearnings of humanity are fulfilled. To be near to those we love, to be close to those who love us, to be loved and to love, to be known truly known and to know in love, to be in communion.
In this prayer, those who seek this home of God, is imagined as pilgrims – pilgrims whose longing is for God to dwell with us and for us to dwell with God. They shall be a blessing of home. The desert lands their feet touches will bring forth springs, spring that draws all who thirst for a home.
What are your deepest longings? What does our neighbours, our community, our society, our nation, our world long for? Is it not for our world to be home for all? Do you long for our world to be home for all? Do you know anyone who thirsts for home? Let us come near to God in prayer, in whose home even the sparrow finds a nest for her young.
Please respond with the words in bold.
Psalm 84:1-7 (NIV) adapted for worship
how lovely is your dwelling place!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young —
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
blessed is the one who trusts in you.
Prayer for Others:
Song: ‘Come Lord Source of Every Blessing’
Luke 18: 35-43 (NRSV)
35 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” 38 Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” 43 Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.
Presentation of the Gift to Petersgate:
Loving God, we give you thanks for the work of Petersgate in our community. The work of Petersgate, coming alongside those who long for wellbeing, is to be celebrated and to be supported. Thank you that we are able to continue to be companions to Petersgate in this mission for God’s love. Bless the trustees, the counsellors, the volunteers and especially those who walks through the doors.
Song: ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace’
The Grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
the love of God
and the communion of the Holy Spirit,
be with us all
now and for ever. Amen.