Advent Sunday 2011

A Celebration of the Holy Communion

Prepare the way, O Zion: your Christ is drawing near!
Let every hill and valley a level way appear.
Greet One who comes in glory, foretold in sacred story.
O blest is Christ that came in God's most holy name.

HYMN: Hark the glad sound! The Saviour comes

God of all wisdom,
our hearts yearn for the warmth of your love,
and our minds search for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour,
and strengthen us to grow in love;
that at the dawn of his coming
we may rejoice in his presence
and welcome the light of his truth.
We pray in the name of Christ.

Psalm 85: 1-2, 8-13

Once you were gracious to your land, O God;
you restored the fortunes of Jacob;
you forgave the offence of your people,
and pardoned all their sin.

Let me hear what you will say, O God,
for you will speak peace to your people,
to the faithful who turn their hearts to you.
Surely salvation is near those who fear you,
and your glory will dwell in our land.

Mercy and faithfulness will meet,
justice and peace will embrace.
Faithfulness will spring up from the earth,
and righteousness look down from heaven.

You, O God, will give what is good
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness will go before you,
and the paths of your feet will be peace.

HYMN: Praise to the God who clears the way

Readings: Isaiah 40: 1-11, Mark 1: 1-8


HYMN: Wild and lone the prophet's voice

God is coming.
We welcome God with open hearts.
God is here amongst us.
Praise be to God-with-us.

God, your story is well-known to us, perhaps too familiar.
As once again we hear the story of your coming to your people of ancient times,
and as once again we hear the story of the birth of Jesus,
help us to hear the stories as if for the first time,
to recapture some of the wonder and excitement that captivated
those first disciples and the many generations after
that followed the faith and spread the word.

We tell the story of your covenant with your people,
of the many times they lost their way and went astray.
We tell how you sought your people, did not abandon them,
but through your prophets brought them back to you,
re-establishing the ancient covenant which bound them to you.

We tell the story of Jesus, in whom we see the living Christ,
and through whom we glimpse your love and compassion
towards all your creation.

And now we tell the story of that last, fateful night
when Jesus shared supper with his friends.
During the meal he took bread and broke it,
giving it to his friends with the words,
"Take this and eat it.
This is my body, given for you.
When you do this, remember me."

Later he took the cup, gave thanks,
and gave it to them, saying,
"Drink this, all of you.
This cup is God's new covenant.
When you do this, remember me."

And so, as disciples of Jesus in this our day,
we also share together in this sacred meal,
united in our common faith
and yearning for your coming amongst us.

We celebrate the living Christ who was, who is and who is to come. As we break this bread, send your Holy Spirit upon us
and upon these your gifts,
so that what we do here may be so embedded in our spirit
that we may go out from here emboldened and enthused
with the light of Christ within us that will shine forth
and illuminate our path and the path of those we meet on the way.

The bread of life, and the cup of blessing,
food for our souls as we walk with God.
Come: all is now ready.

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The Sharing of Bread and Wine
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We thank you, gracious God,
for this meal which we have shared together.
Be to us always the One who comes,
and guard us from such familiarity with our faith
that we fail to recognise you when you come anew.

HYMN: O ancient love, progressing through the ages

So may that ancient, gentle and mighty Love
rest within us, among us and beyond us -
and may God's blessing remain with us
evermore -