Advent 4 – Love

The prophet Isaiah speaks
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Look, the young woman
is with child and shall bear a son,
and shall name him Immanuel.

We lit the first candle for the seeds of hope,
planted for the renewal of all creation

We lit the second candle for the green shaded
path of peace that we walk with Jesus.

We lit the third candle for God’s joyful abundance,
delighting in vibrant colour and signs of new life.

We light this fourth candle for love
Nurturing mothering God,
hold us tenderly in your loving embrace.
Our world, our home, this land is suffering
under the weight of our humanity
help us to love like you do,
with all that we have and all that we are.

Saide Cameron, offered for worship by Leigh Johnston, Catherine, Rowan and Greta Drimmel, 22/12/19, Advent 4A

Prayers of Adoration & Confession

Emmanuel God,
Messiah Christ,
You are coming.

You are the fragile seed blooming in the ash
You are the scent of the thunderstorm on the wind
You are the rising rim of the sun on the horizon
Our lives are all beginnings and endings
But you are the great beginning and the great ending

You are the first brushstroke and the final detail
You are the root of the chord and the closing melody
You are the sound and the silence
You are the sleep, the rest, the dream, and the awakening.

Forgive us when we tire of the waiting
When faith, hope, joy and love turn cold within us

But because you are Emmanuel, God-with-us
Nothing that we do is in vain
Every step we take toward the distant city of justice is worth the taking
Because the fruit of holy love blooms in our wake

One word of kindness matters
One moment of joy matters
One delicate hope matters
The good fight matters, even when it is lost
Because you are Emmanuel, God-with-us

We wait for you.

Friends, the Good News is that God is with us.
A sign of the great and endless love of God has been given,
and by the light of the birth of this holy child we remember:
our sin is forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

Daniel Broadstock, offered for worship 22/12/19, Advent 4A

Prayers of the people

Each week during Advent we offer prayers for one of the places being supported by the Christmas Bowl this year. This week:
Finding strength in love after fleeing Syria How do we share God’s unconditional love with those who have suffered unimaginable violence?
When their city of Hama came under siege, Rima and her husband Kateb fled for Jordan with their children. As they were escaping, one of their young sons was hit by a chemical strike, and died an agonising death.
Since then, the family have been living in refugee camps in Jordan, staying together in tents, with no way to support themselves.
But they were brave and resilient and have found the strength to carry on. Through the support of the Christmas Bowl they are able to access food packages and hygiene kits from Act for Peace’s partner in Jordan, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR). Rima now also brings in a small income for her family by selling Syrian food.

In our prayers, let us bring to mind the millions who live in this matrix of violence, constant anxiety, grief, bravery – that the message of Christ’s may lead us to support them.

Merciful God, we pray for the people of Syria, especially for those who are called to support and sustain those weighed down by grief and tragedy; may they be signs of hope.

Gracious God, we pray for those in Australia and in our local communities who are similarly weighed down by anxiety, or domestic violence, or mental illness. Help us to be available to be their friends and supporters.

God of hope, we pray for those who lead us in this time of anxiety about climate change, the destruction of fires, and racism. May the bravery and resilience of Rima and Kateb and so many other like them rebuke and challenge our nation’s political leaders.

Servant lord of the church, on this day of baptism, we pray for Arvin and all throughout your world church who this day are taking a new step of faith. May we and all churches be courageous, confident and gentle in nurturing young and old in faith.

God of all, we gather these prayers, conscious of the countless people and scattered places that have come to our minds. May the that the light of Christ, for whose coming we wait, shed hope and truth all those for whom we pray. Amen.

Geoff Thompson, offered for worship with Lucy Hardman, 22/12/19, Advent 4A