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Theme for the first Sunday in Advent

The first Sunday of Advent, courtesy of the Very Rev. Michael Higgins.
WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH

At Christmas and Easter we celebrate the two key events of our faith. Together they form the twin foundations of our trust in Jesus Christ. It is therefore hardly surprising that both are preceded by times of preparation, Advent and Lent. Most Christians observe Lent in some way or other, but few of us observe Advent in any special way. Our worship week by week is at the heart of both Advent and Lent, and the start of Advent is a good time to think a little more about our worship and what it means to us.

An excellent way of bringing together all we do in worship is that little words ACTS. It summarises everything neatly. First is Adoration as we praise the greatness and majesty of the God to whom we come in our worship, in the light of which we make our Confession, recalling we are not worthy to enter God’s Presence. Then comes Thanksgiving for all God’s good gifts to us, followed by Supplication, as we bring our needs and those of others to God.

Some people are worried by Adoration and Praise – they ask “What sort of God wants to be told continually how good and wonderful He is?” CS Lewis once gave an interesting answer to this question, telling us clearly that it is not God who wants continual praise but we who must give it. Imagine, said Lewis, going to an exciting football match or going out and enjoying a magnificent dinner, but then never being able to praise these things to anyone. The praising is part of our enjoyment, which would be the poorer without it. If we have experienced the greatness and goodness of God, then we must speak of it. Surely Lewis was right.

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