Service for Sunday 29th November – Advent Sunday

Hymns, Songs, Readings and other links for the Advent Sunday

– Sunday 29th November

A New Church for a New Society: “Themes in John’s Gospel.”

  • Truth – Part A – “In the pursuit of Truth.”

John 18:33-38 & 19:1-16

– “The Spirit of Truth in God’s new world.”.

Bible Readings:

Key Bible Reading:

If you would like to look up the reading for yourself – simply click the link:

For John 18:33-38:

For John 19:1-16:

Set Readings for today (Advent Sunday):

Isaiah 64:1-9 – This passage from towards the end of the Book Isaiah begins by wanting God to come in power and judgement, especially towards those ‘others’ who have fallen away.  But then, in a rather unusual twist, Isaiah both acknowledges Israel’s own shortcomings and failings but then seems to attribute Israel’s unfaithfulness to God “turning His face away.” Very unusual. But there are times perhaps when we can feel the same – that even though we know God does ultimately care, we in our hurt and pain want to believe He doesn’t.

1Corinthians 1:3-9 – This a much more conventional passage.  Paul opens his letter to the young Church in Corinth full of praise and admiration for their faithfulness which he sees in turn as coming from the Lord’s own faithful calling: because the Lord is faithful we, in turn, can be faithful and so bring blessing to each other and the world.  It is perhaps worth pausing and wondering how the same is true today – this symbiotic relationship between God and humanity in order to bring blessing to the world in and through a humanity, which at its best includes us.        

Mark 13:24-end – This is a classic passage we often attribute to Jesus’ Second Coming.  “Be alert, Keep awake!”  For we do not know the day or the hour the Master will return.  The idea of the slave and the Master and their household maybe one we find quite hard to relate to favourably in our modern world – surely, God does not want us to be ‘slaves,’ surely He wants us to be ‘free.’  Well, that may be.  But in first century Israel slavery was not perhaps as we in the twenty first century look in upon it.  It was a much more symbiotic relationship (mentioned earlier) where the slave would receive security, value, food and care in return for their time, effort and loyalty to their Master.  Of course, there were bad Masters, just as there are today.  But in the main each group knew they needed the other, much in the same way that a good Landowner knew that they needed the help and support of their tenant farmers and communities to run their extensive estates back in the sixteen and seventeen hundreds.  It was the backbone of pre-industrial English life.  In this sense, we should perhaps be see being a ‘servant’ of our Lord Jesus as a positive thing, “under His care and wing,” so to speak.  At the same time, such care comes with responsibilities “to be about the Master’s business.”  We have tended to much more desiring of the care and the protection without perhaps always giving due regard to the need to be about His business and work.  “Wake up then!  Be awake!  Open our eyes to what God is wanting us to be and to do in His name, in this time, in this place.”       

Hymns and Songs for Advent Sunday:


  1. Advent wouldn’t be Advent without announcing it with the ‘classic’ “O come, O come, Emmanuel” – I wrote about the long history and continued relevance of this Advent hymn in the Pew News this week, if anyone is interested.  Here:
  2. A beautiful live instrumental recording by Liz Chappell and Katie Davies:
  3. A version set in the context of our Jewish roots with the Christian singer/songwriter Joshua Aaron in a concert recorded at the “Tower of David” (an important historical site probably of Herod’s Palace in the time of Jesus) in Jerusalem.  Not just then culturally relevant, but of a Jewish Christian calling Jesus ‘home’ to his own people.  An amazing backdrop not just for this song but for the whole concert and a powerful witness.  Well worth looking up:
  4. A more traditional version that we would sing in our English Churches – taken from Songs of Praise, with Lyrics:

On the theme of Truth (based on John’s Gospel):

Children and Young People:


On the theme of Advent:

  • “Fix You” originally by the band Coldplay back in 2011, and recently performed again by a female artist Fearless Soul.  The song speaks the words of Jesus and why He came at Christmas both for the world and each individual person’s story within it:
  • “The thrill of Hope – Advent hymn” by Christy Nockels.  A very thoughtful and reflective song about the love and the hope Jesus seeks to bring into the world in every generation.  With lyrics:

On the theme of Truth (from John’s Gospel)

  1. “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns, with lyrics:
  1. “Song of Truth” by Mark Skelton, with lyrics:

For fun and as part of this season of looking at the impact of the song and dance “Jerusalema” during Lockdown around the world

  1. “Jerusalema” – English language version by Nora Grand.  Wonderful African video backdrop.  Worth watching just for this:


  1. “Isaiah 1-39 overview” – by the Bible Project.  Great introduction to where the name “Emmanuel” –  “God with us” comes from, as recorded in Isaiah ch 7.  Helps to set the biblical backdrop against which “Emmanuel” had to come:

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