A Responsive Reading for Advent

One way of making the Scriptures more prominent in the worship of the church is to use it for responsive readings. The Psalms lend themselves readily to this purpose, with alternate verses read by a leader and the congregation.

Other responsive readings can be composed from various passages of Scripture for a specific occasion. This is one example of several passages from Isaiah (Chapters 9, 52, 55 and 60) compiled and modified for use as a responsive reading, intended for worship at Advent.

 

Reader: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger

who announces peace,

who brings good news,

who announces salvation,

who says to Zion: Your God reigns!

Congregation: Lift up your voice, sing for joy

For we see the return of the Lord to Zion!

Reader: Break forth together into singing, everyone in Jerusalem

For the Lord has comforted his people

He has redeemed Jerusalem

Congregation: The Lord has bared his holy arm

before the eyes of all nations

All the ends of the earth shall see

The salvation of our God.

Reader: Seek the Lord while he may be found

Call upon him while he is near

Let the wicked forsake their way

And the unrighteous their thoughts

Congregation: Let us return to the Lord that he may have mercy on us

Let us return to our God,

For he will abundantly pardon

Reader: The word that goes forth from the mouth of the Lord

Will not return to him empty

It shall accomplish that for which the Lord sent it forth

And succeed in that for which he sent it.

Congregation: We shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace

The mountains and the hills will burst into song

And all the trees of the fields will clap their hands

Reader: The sun will no longer be your light by day

Nor the moon give you light by night

But the Lord will be your everlasting light

And God will be your glory.

Congregation: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light

Those who sat in the valley of the shadow of death

Have seen a great light dawn.

Reader: Rejoice, all you people who look for the salvation of our God

For he sent his Son to us to bring his salvation.

Congregation He is our God and he reigns over us in peace.

Our God has not forgotten us, nor will we forget him.

Hallelujah, blessed be the day when his Son came to save us.

Printable version: Responsive Reading for Advent (PDF)

Advent – The Sorrow of Christmas

Christmas is not always a time of happiness and joy. Many people struggle with loneliness at Christmas, or memories of unhappy times past. Others are in desperate conditions in refugee camps, or in places where they suffer persecution for their faith. The message of the Gospel is for them, too, as God has not forgotten them. Have we forgotten people who suffer? Hear what the Scriptures have to say to us, and act accordingly.

Sermon: The sorrow of Christmas

 

Advent – God Keeps his Promises

The birth of Jesus was long awaited. The people of Israel had been expecting the Messiah for hundreds of years. They had been faithful to God some of the time, other times they took other directions. When the time had finally come for God to act, they were not in the least expecting it. The story of Advent can be seen as an example of how people respond when God does something unexpected.

The prophecy of Malachi was the last time God had spoken to his people, and when the narrative resumes in Luke, the echoes and references to Malachi shape the story as it continues into the fulfilment of the promise to send a redeemer.

Advent Sermon: God Keeps His Promises