Read the ‘Liturgy and prayer’ specially written for us by Rev Kathy Galloway
You might like to colour the Advent wreath on which you will place a candle every week.
Light a white tea-light for the First Sunday in Advent.
Remembering that Zacharias attended to the incense burning in the Temple, light the incense sticks included in the pack and place them safely in sand or soil.
1ST WEEK OF ADVENT LITURGY
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
Luke 1, 5-24 The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense-offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.’ The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.’
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, ‘This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favourably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.’
in Jewish culture at the time of Zechariah and Elizabeth, family and community were everything, and not to have children was the cause of both sadness and, especially for the women, great shame. But Zechariah and Elizabeth were both getting on in years, and past the age when they could realistically have expected to have a child. So the shock to Zechariah at Gabriel’s visitation is understandable, even if the angel was unimpressed at his failure to believe the good news.
Can you remember a time, in the past year, or at any time, when you received unexpected good news? How did you react? What would be unexpected or unlikely good news for you this Advent? What would be unexpected good news for Wellington Church, for Glasgow, for the world?
Colour the Advent wreath, place the first white candle on it and light it.
Place an incense stick (symbol of our prayers rising to God) in a bowl of sand or soil, and light it.
Today, as we turn to you from afar
You take us by surprise.
We bear witness to the light,
to unexpected grace
coming in unlikely places,
to a new way of being and knowing and doing.
In a world where many walk in darkness,
May hope be born anew in our hearts
May our homes and churches be open to welcome all in Christ’s name
For nothing is impossible for God.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us
to give light to those who walk in darkness
and in the shadow of death
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
The full advent pack is available here: https://wellingtonchurchglasgow.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/complete-1.pdf