Sunday 29th November 2020 is the first Sunday of Advent: Rev Mike leads us into the Christmas season with this special communion service.
The first Sunday of Advent, marks the beginning of our journey towards Christmas. Although, given all the talk there’s been about COVID-19 and Christmas these past few weeks, you might be forgiven for thinking that it has already arrived. However, Advent as a time of waiting, is an important part of the Christmas event. That said, there are few of us who really enjoy waiting. I think part of the reason is that we have bought into the idea of instant gratification: We want what we want when we want it! Yet, despite all the Christmas hype, the season calls us to a different kind of waiting…not a crazed rush toward an end, but an eager looking forward.
So, this Advent Season we’re going to take the time to actively wait in preparation for the Christ-event. Our focus for these next four Sundays is going to be on the gifts of Advent, as we await the greatest gift of all…the gift of Jesus. The Apostle Paul expressed this perfectly when, in 2 Corinthians 9: 15, he says, ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.’
We are live: In Church, In Person. On Demand: On your phone, your tablet, and your computer.
Throughout these uncertain times, we continue to operate in accordance with Scottish Government requirements and guidelines. In order to accommodate as many members and friends as possible, we are holding two services, at 10:00am and at 11:00am. Attending numbers have to be restricted, and it is essential to book in advance (see our section below titled Sundays re-started).
We are also presenting this weeks sermon and a home worship order of service, here for you to use if you are not able to make it to Wilson Memorial Church in person, or if you just want to listen to Rev Mike again.
This weeks order of worship that you can use:
- Light a candle – to remember that Christ is the light of the world, and overcomes every darkness.
- Opening prayer -“Heavenly Father, as we enter the season of Advent we know that the heavens are trembling with anticipation as we wait for Jesus; the nights are long and the days are short, as we wait for Jesus; our salvation is drawing near, as we wait for Jesus. Therefore, as we wait for Jesus, may we continue to wait in hope as we worship.
Creator God, You made the heavens and the earth, and You set the planets in their courses and You lit the sun with fire. In Jesus Christ, You brought hope into a world full of fear and despair. You sent Your Spirit to enliven our hope and guide us on our way. We are waiting now in anxious times for the world to be made new. We wait for new life, and we wait with deep hope. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.“
- Scripture reading – Luke 1:39-46
- Video Sermon – Advent Gifts – This weeks video sermon was presented live at Wilson Memorial Church on Sunday 29th November 2020.
- Praise – Read or sing “Holy is his name magnificant” – here is a you-tube video with music, that you can sing along to.
- Celebration of the Lords Supper –
Of the many gifts that Jesus has left us to enjoy and to share while we await His coming, is the gift of the this bread and wine. As we prepare to receive these gifts, let us pray:
Redeeming God, we confess that waiting is difficult for us. We want to want to be comfortable in this festive season, but the pandemic keeps us anxious and unhappy. We complain about our own troubles and close our eyes to the suffering of others. Forgive us for ignoring truths we do not want to see. Forgive us for seeking our own comfort at the cost of others. Give us eyes to see the great need all around us, within our community and in the world. Give us eyes to see the deep need within our own lives. Turn our hearts to You again and again, and especially now as we receive anew the gifts of life and love. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
As we receive these gifts of bread and wine, we ask: Who is invited to the Lord’s Table? All are invited; the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the greatest and the least; sinner and saint together in communion. Come, find your place here, where there are no strangers or outcasts, only sisters and brothers in the sight of God.
Why do we give thanks at this table? We give thanks because Jesus showed us the way. We give thanks because Jesus is the Way. Jesus is the gift from God for the world. He is called Immanuel – God With Us. He came to save us from our sin, by living a life of thankfulness and giving His life as a sacrifice for many. We give thanks that He is our Saviour and Lord.
Why do we eat and drink at this table? We eat because on the night before Jesus died, He ate with His friends. He gave them bread and said, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” At that same meal He took a cup of wine and said, “Drink this cup. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin.”
What do we remember at this table? We remember Jesus’ birth and His presence as God with us. We remember Jesus’ life and love. We remember Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. We remember the resurrection and the promise of life. We remember that we are waiting in hope to see Jesus again.
God of grace, we thank You for this bread and wine, and for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. God of hope, fill us with Your Spirit today that we might have the wisdom to understand the mystery of this Table, and the depth and height and breadth and length of Your love for us. Through this meal, strengthen us to be followers of Jesus, a community of peace in a broken world. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
The Bread and Wine Is Shared.
Jesus, You truly are Immanuel, “God with us”. In this season of hope, may the meal that we have shared together nourish us so that we can be Your Body in the world, and may Your Kingdom come and You Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. With the angels in heaven we join in singing Your praises, ‘Glory to God in the Highest. Alleluia!’ Amen.
- Closing praise – Read or sing “Fill your hearts with joy and gladness” – here is a you-tube video with music, that you can sing along to.
- Benediction – “Be people of joy. Let joy live in your hearts and share the joy of Christ with all you meet. Share joy by seeing the good in each other. Share joy by remembering good times and hoping for good times to come. Share joy by praying for our world. In this Advent season, we need to see feel, and share joy. As you go out into the wonder of God’s creation, share joy, peace, and hope with those you meet…and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with us all now and always. Amen“
- Extinguish the candle
You can learn more about communion from our dedicated Communion page
What else is happening at Wilson Memorial this week?
We have created a program of on-line events that you can join in from the comfort of your favourite armchair. Details of these events can be found on our “What’s on – Lockdown special” web page. Go and check it out, NOW!
In addition to video sermons, we also now have podcast sermons available to download and listen to on your mobile device wherever you are. We also have a “dial a sermon” service available, where you can listen to sermons by telephone. To phone a service, simply call us on 0131 297 6174, you will hear an automated greeting, and then after a short pause the latest sermon will play.
Sundays re-started– As permitted by the Scottish Government, we are now open for Sunday worship services. Unfortunately, we do have to introduce some restrictions in order that we can manage the required social distancing rules, and keep everyone as safe as possible. This means we have had to significantly reduce our seating capacity, and introduce a booking system to ensure we do not exceed the allowed number of worshipers in our church building. In order that as many people as possible can join us, we will be holding two Sunday worship services: At 10:00am and 11:00am. Details of the booking process can be found in the August Issue 5 Newsletter. Social distancing measures and hygiene precautions are in place.
Our Basics Bank, Food Bank, continues to operate as normal every Tuesday providing a critical service to individuals and families suffering hardship in our local community. Follow the link to find out how we are preparing for Christmas at the Basics Bank.
Read more about the United Free Church of Scotland
The October/November 2020 edition of STEDFAST, our denominations magazine, is now available from Wilson Memorial Church.
We have hard copy coffee-table editions and soft copy tablet/PC editions available.