Reflection – 06 December 2020


Here’s Martin Frost’s reflection for Sunday 06 December.

The online worship session will start at 11.00. Martin will be leading worship this week .

As it’s the first Sunday in the month we will be celebrating Holy Communion. If you wish to join us you are most welcome. You will need to provide your own bread and wine.

If you want to join via Zoom in just email me – newarkcongregational@virginmedia.com – for log in details. We’d love to see you.

Mark Taylor

London Road Congregational Church Reflection 6/12

‘The Cry of Hope’

Call to Worship

People of God: Return!
God calls you for his own.
From the mountains announce the good news!
God comes in justice and peace,
to all who follow his ways.
You are God’s children
Lord make us one in the peace of Christ
today and for ever. Amen.

Prayer and Lord’s Prayer

Hymn: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come, thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in thee

Israel’s strength and consolation
Hope of all the earth thou art
Dear desire of every nation
Joy of every longing heart

Born thy people to deliver
Born a child and yet a king
Born to reign in us forever
Now thy gracious kingdom bring

By thine own eternal spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone
By thine own sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne

By thine own sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne

Readings

Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.


2 Peter 3:8-15a
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him.

Mark 1:1-8


The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Reflection

The theme of Advent is that of expectation rather than repentance. The second Sunday in advent encourages us to focus on hope. A hope for now and a hope for the future.  In the passage from Isaiah, there is the expectation and hope for one who will come and save the people from their captivity. John’s context is also a desert. We are called to speak hope into a barren world of terrorism, injustice, prejudice and fear. We are called to ‘cry out’ to challenge a world where God wants change. Even we can find ourselves in a desert place in our spiritual lives and even at those time we are encouraged to look forward to beyond the dryness to a place where Jesus meets us in our need. God tells us to ‘comfort’ his people in their place of hopelessness. To speak of God’s love that enters our world and history and stands in our place.

Communion

We come to the Lord’s supper together
as children of our one God.
Jesus makes the guest list, not us.
Our family, chosen by God,
is gathered from west and east,
and includes everyone,
even the lowest and the least.
Jesus, when he was resurrected from the dead,
revealed himself to his disciples
in the breaking of bread around a table.
May we see the face of God today as we come to the Lord’s Supper.

On the night he was handed over,
the night before he was crucified,
Jesus gathered with his friends for a meal.
He took the bread, and after blessing it,
he broke it, saying,
“This is my body, which is broken for you.
As often as you eat it, remember me.”         

Please pray with me:
Jesus, as we take this bread,
let it be a sign of all you did for us,
and who you are for us.
Thank you for this bread of life.         

After sharing the bread,
Jesus took a cup of wine, and gave it to them to drink, saying,
“This is my blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many.”

Let’s pray:
Jesus, as we drink this cup,
let it be a sign for us of all you did for us,
and who you are for us.
Thank you that you bring us peace that passes understanding.

Prayer:

Jesus, through your death and resurrection you reconciled the world to God,
and through your example you have shown us a way to peace.
Give us strength as the people of God
to be channels of peace in the world,
speaking your peace, living your peace,
and always longing for that moment of eternal peace
when we shall see you again. Amen.

Hymn: Light of the World

The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
A child prays for peace on Earth
And she’s calling out from a sea of hurt
Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel

And can you hear the angels singing
Glory to the light of the world
Glory the light of the world is here

The drought breaks with the tears of a mother
A baby’s cry is the sound of love
Come down, come down, Emmanuel

Oh, He is the song for the suffering
He is Messiah, the Prince of Peace has come
He has come, Emmanuel

Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world

For all who wait
For all who hunger
For all who’ve prayed
For all who wonder
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world

Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel
The world waits for the miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, oh come Emmanuel

The Blessing

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