Resources for Worship
Worship is at the heart of our life as God’s people. Whatever else we do, worship is at the core as it is through meeting God – in the hymns and the music, the movement and the silence, the Word and the words, in friend and stranger as well as in bread and wine – that we are fed and sustained. This encounter with God lifts our spirits and gives our lives direction, our prayers focus and our faith a grounding in the everyday realities of life.
Faithfully, week after week, ministers, elders, and lay preachers lead God’s people in worship. Part of my ministry is to help with that task by co-ordinating the provision of Worship Notes which assist in the careful preparation of worship. Our Worship Notes offer all the prayers needed (and some that might not be!), notes on the readings that could be built into a sermon, and suggestions for hymns (which might be used or might stimulate the thinking of those who lead worship).
This week I have prepared the notes for the First Sunday of Advent. I note that in difficult times we long for God to do something. We look at the wars of our world, the climate crisis, the mass movements of people, the rising prices, and want something to be done and, not surprisingly, we don’t have much confidence in our political leaders. So, as people of faith, we want God to intervene. We start the season of Advent – the time when we look forward to Christ’s return in glory which, of course, feeds our desire for God to come and put things right. The notes can be found here https://urc.org.uk/your-faith/prayer-and-worship/worship-notes/
I prepared the sample intercessions some months ago so we also ask some of our folk to prepare weekly intercessions which are more topical and could be used in small groups, personal prayer as well as Sunday worship. This week’s intercessions have been written by John Collings, a Lay Preacher and member of Rutherglen URC near Glasgow and they are on the Worship Notes page.
The URC is suggesting that we don’t light the candle for the second Sunday of Advent leaving it unlit in solidarity with Christians in Palestine and Israel who won’t be having an Advent filled with light and love this year. Again, the Worship Notes page has a suggested liturgy for this non-lighting.
Finally, the Rev’d David Coleman, Chaplain for Eco-Congregations, Scotland, has prepared a visual Advent Calendar where a variety of folk have created a short 90 second reflection for every day of Advent. You can see them all here. A good thing to share with your churches!
I hope you find all these resources useful – do let us know your thoughts on these resources as you use them.
With every good wish
The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Minister for Digital Worship