Advent: A Time to Prepare – Diocese of Camden

I was glad when they said to me: “Let us go to God’s house.”



Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this:

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

There is no other commandment greater than these.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son

who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


God, who is both power and love,

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

sung by Sue Turner


Stir up your power, Lord and come

that with you as our protector,

we may be rescued from our sins;

and with you as our deliverer,

we may be set free;

for you who live and reign with the Father

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen


Isaiah 2: 1-5 read by Andrew Ratnam

The Future House of God

The word that Isaiah son of Amoz 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.

Sermon - Isaiah 2: 1-5 - YouTube

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!

Romans 13: 11-14 read by Robyn Brotherston

An Urgent Appeal

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is already the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone; the day is near. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us walk decently as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in illicit sex and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

What Does Romans 13:11 Mean?


Matthew 24: 36-44 read by Rev Ann Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 24 beginning at verse 36

Glory to Christ our Saviour

The Necessity for Watchfulness

“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 the 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 hour you do not expect.

Matthew 24:36-44 "An Uncertain Certainty" - Pastor Matthew Johnson - YouTube


Getting Ready for September 2020 – Hectic Teacher Ideas and Resources

It struck me in reading over this gospel passage a few times that one of the advent themes is forgetfulness. I don’t mean that kind of forgetfulness when you go upstairs or into another room and you cannot remember what you there for. Nor do I mean forgetfulness in the sense you cannot remember where your keys are or in my case where I left my glasses. No, the forgetfulness I am referring to is much more serious than that. It is that forgetfulness that is mentioned in the days of Noah. It is that forgetfulness that comes from being so immersed in the normal routines of life that we forget God. Although the people in the days before the flood were usually considered evildoers, this is not what Matthew is stressing. He characterises them as caught up in the everyday affairs of life- eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage. There is nothing wrong with these activities except that they are all consuming. They keep them from knowing something deeper, something of vital importance for their well- being. They are ill- prepared and so the flood carries them away. There is a warning or element of danger in it about forgetfulness. We need to be prepared for the Son of Man’s coming and not be caught unaware.

We are given two images that speak of this everyday life and danger. We are told 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. Preparation for the coming of Jesus does not mean stopping everyday life. Both men, the one taken into the kingdom and the one left behind are out in the field. Both women the one taken into the kingdom and the one left behind, are grinding at the mill. It is not that one is out in the field and the other praying, or that one is grinding and the other is in the temple. The encouragement of the text is not to quit the tasks of everyday life and engage in religious activity. So where is the difference between these two men and women. If both are doing the same thing, why is one taken and one left behind? It is not explicitly stated but the context suggests that inner vigilance and awareness make a difference. Looking at them, both men and women are the same. Therefore, the difference must be interior. It must be on the level of awareness. Being attentive, and not forgetful, seems to be the lesson to draw from the days of Noah and the day of the coming of the Son of Man. Then in the next line, Matthew makes this clear, when he says keep awake, for you do not know the day when your Lord is coming.

Stay Awake for His Coming | The Glory of His Grace

The event called the coming of the Son of man is now properly called the day of the Lord. Although we do not know when it will come, its importance for the well- being of people is strongly stressed. The negative images of being swept away in a flood and left behind in a field or at the mill are complemented by the image of having your house broken into. Not to be ready for that day is to suffer severe consequences. We don’t like to hear that. In fact, we don’t want to believe that but we cannot ignore those warnings in scripture because we don’t like them. We need to be attentive.

There is a story entitled what is the world like? God and a man are walking down the road. The man asks God: “What is the world like?” God replies: “I cannot talk when I am thirsty. If you could get me a drink of cool water, we could discuss what the world is like. There is a village nearby. Go and get me a drink.” The man goes into the village and knocks at the door of the first house. A beautiful young woman opens the door. His jaw drops but he manages to say: “I need a glass of cool water.” Of course, she says smiling, but it is midday, would you care to stay for some food? “I am hungry, he says, looking over his shoulder. “And your offer of food is a great kindness.” He goes in and closes the door behind him. Thirty years go by, the man who wanted to know what the world was like and the woman who offered him food have married and raised five children. He is a respected salesman and she is an honoured member of the community. One day a terrible storm comes in off the ocean and threatens their life. The salesman cries out: “Help me Lord.” A voice from the midst of the storm says “Where is my cup of cold water?”

Mr Forgetful Mug

What is the world like? It is a world of distraction and forgetfulness. It is easy to get lost in the world. The demands of everyday life are merciless. There is always more to do and not enough time to do it. At times this constant activity might be boring; at other times it might be exciting. Whether exciting or boring, there is a lack of attention to God.

What is the world like? The answer is it is a place of forgetfulness: it is a place where we fall asleep. We do not stay attentive to the spiritual dimension of life; eating, drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, working in the field, grinding at the mill take all our time and more importantly all our mind. When this happens, we find ourselves lacking passion, purpose and pleasure. As one perplexed person said: “How can I be so busy and yet feel so empty.”

This dominance of activity is particularly true in the Christmas season. We must be on our guard that such activity does not make us forgetful. There can be a tendency to treat the spiritual especially in this busy season as a luxury. If our bodies are hurting, we will pay attention to them and work hard to recover our physical health. If our financial security or status is under attack, we will struggle and fight for our money and position, but we will allow our spirit to languish and even waste away. This tendency to neglect spirit is what Matthew is getting at in the people of Noah’s time. They valued everything but the spirit that sustains them.

Are You Awake? - Single by Jack Burns | Spotify

How are we then to keep spiritually awake in the midst of everyday activity? One way is to introduce some spiritual exercises into your everyday activities. A Jewish doctor says a Hebrew prayer of purification every time he washes his hands. This helps him remember God who cleanses and heals. When we wash our hands, is there a prayer we can use? A man pauses before a Christmas tree in his building where he works. He brings to mind the connection between heaven and earth, and ponders the wonder that creation is grounded in God. We could pause at our Christmas tree and offer a prayer of thanks to God for Jesus who came down that first Christmas and is Emmanuel, God with us. As we wander through the town and see the Christmas lights, we can quietly thank God for Jesus, the true light that saves everyone. When I receive a Christmas card, I look at the picture and use it as a tool for prayer and I also pray for the person that sent it. We can do all manner of things. We can follow an advent course or advent book, we can sit quietly and reflect, we can bring in some spiritual exercises. What matters is not what you do, but that you keep spiritually awake.

ON WATCHFULNESS - Uchenna C. Okpalaunegbu Reflection

It is important to note that we can demonstrate holy watchfulness for Jesus’ coming by being faithful to God in our everyday routines.  Is being an honest office manager, a careful school bus driver, an ethical attorney, a thoughtful housewife or househusband really a sign that we are aware that Jesus is coming back?  Yes, it is, because we are living our lives to honour him.

Coming to our Lord’s Table is part of that watchfulness.  We remember what was, to anticipate what will yet be.  So, take, eat, drink, remember and believe.  And keep watch for that one whose sacrifice we celebrate and into his presence the bread and the wine usher us.  Nourished by this spiritual meal, we go out to serve in love and grace.  And as we do and when people peer into our lives in the days of Noah—our Monday afternoons and our Friday mornings—we want them to be able to say there is something different about us that we have a love and peace that is not of this world. So, this advent give thanks for the beautiful opportunity it affords us to reflect, to wake up and be mindful. Amen


Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


Let us pray to the God to the God of all time and space,

in whose love we exist

and by whose love we are saved.

As we prepare ourselves

for the time when Christ comes again in glory,

awake in us a grace and honesty

to see what needs transforming

in our lives as individuals

and as members of the Church of God.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

How the Church as a Holy Nation is called to Disciple the Nations - Mattera  Ministries International

Be with all the leaders of the nations

in their onerous and difficult task of governing.

Awake in them a desire and determination

to emulate your ways of justice and righteousness,

and may they be filled with the longing

to help the vulnerable, poor and needy.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

Be with all the families on earth,

awake in them the significance and priority of love,

and help them to care considerately for one another.

Where there is disharmony, bring peace.

Where there is fear, bring calm.

Where there are misunderstandings, bring reconciliation and healing.

Where there is darkness, bring hope.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

God Takes Our Suffering Very Personal | Renewal Christian Center

Be with all who are suffering at this time,

from illness, bereavement or injury.

Draw near and enfold them in your love,

and grant them your wisdom, strength and light

to persevere and to receive your healing touch.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

Be with all who find this time of year hard,

for it is a poignant reminder of their emptiness and aloneness.

Remind that that you are Emmanuel, God with us

and that you are ever present help and refuge.

O come Lord Jesus

let us walk in your light.

Come Lord Jesus – Fellowship Church of Spokane

Come Lord, your wounded world is yearning
for you to come again.
Come Lord, your weary world is crying out
for you to lift us up
out of our despair, our hunger,
our thirst for something better,
our need for the food that will last.
Come Lord, come again,
we need to begin again

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us

to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power

and the glory are yours,

now and forever. Amen.


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The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His son Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen


St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


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