Advent Sunday – 29 November

Almighty God,
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin
   to the light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Mark 13.24–37
‘But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
   and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
   and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in clouds” with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
‘From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

from Psalm 80
Hear, O Shepherd of Israel,
   you that led Joseph like a flock;
Shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim,
   before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your mighty strength
   and come to our salvation.
Turn us again, O God;
   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
O Lord God of hosts,
   how long will you be angry at your people’s prayer?
You feed them with the bread of tears;
   you give them abundance of tears to drink.
You have made us the derision of our neighbours,
   and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
Turn us again, O God of hosts;
   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
Let your hand be upon the man at your right hand,
   the son of man you made so strong for yourself.
And so will we not go back from you;
   give us life, and we shall call upon your name.
Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts;
   show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.