Nottingham Presbyterian Church

November 29, 2020

First Sunday in Advent


Approaching God






Entering Worship – Lighting of the First Advent Candle

This Advent, we are looking to hear words of comfort, of challenge and of good news.

The prophet Isaiah and the four Gospel authors were writing in a time when people

needed desperately to hear all of these as well. This first week, Isaiah, the prophet, and

Mark–the Gospel writer who published first–reassure the people that good news is

beginning and yet they both say, “Make yourself ready! Raise your voices, change your

hearts, get ready to be transformed, because now is the time.” Let us embrace hope

that we can do what needs to be done to bring more light into the world.


[The Threshold Music begins and a soloist sings]


I believe in the sun, I believe in the sun,

even when, even when it’s not shining.

I believe in the sun, I believe in the sun,

even when, even when it’s not shining.


Reader: The place without light

Many: The place without light

Reader: The depth of night

Many: The depth of night

Reader: The pit of unknowing

Many: The pit of unknowing


[The music continues quietly as the prayer is prayed by the reader or another

reader as the candle is lit on the line “ignite the flame…”]


Reader: Holy One, we thank you for the glimpses we catch of your gift of untiring hope.

Even in the midst of fear, of challenge, of struggle– even when our view is obscured

by clouds of doubt, ignite the flame of hope within us,


Many: … that we might glow with its brilliance from the inside out.


[Congregation joins soloist in unison]

I believe in the sun,

I believe in the sun,

even when… even when…

it’s not shining.

[accompaniment trails into silence… then out of the silence, the choir continues with ooo’s again and at the mark in the music, the final prayer sentences are read]

Reader: Help us face this bleak night of the soul and embrace it as a womb of rebirth. If you have an Advent wreath or candles, you are invited to light your Advent 1 candle of Hope at this time.

Hymn # 82 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus


Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art.

Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.


Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a king.

Born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.

By thine own eternal Spirit rule in all our hearts alone.

By thine all-sufficient merit raise us to thy glorious throne.


(Text: Charles Wesley, 1744; Music: roland Hurgh Prichard, 1830; harm. Ralph Vaughan Williams; 1906, no additional license necessary)


Passing the Peace



Hearing God’s Word

Today’s Readings are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible

Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 40: 1-11

Comfort, O comfort my people,
    says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that she has served her term,
    that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double for all her sins.

A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all people shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

A voice says, “Cry out!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
    their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
    when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
    surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
    but the word of our God will stand forever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
    O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
    O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
    lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
10 See, the Lord God comes with might,
    and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead the mother sheep.

Children’s Time


Gospel Lesson:   Mark 1: 1-15

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
    who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
    ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
    make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

Sermon          I Believe in the Sun/Son: Hope for Tomorrow


Our Response to God



Confession and Affirmation (responsive)

Leader: I believe that we have looked the other way too many times AND

People: I believe that we are capable of facing reality and working for change.

I believe that our fear of difference has robbed us of compassion AND

I believe that we can look deeper and hold onto the things that we have in common.

I believe that our fear of doubt makes us stop asking tough questions AND

I believe that asking tough questions in the face of injustice is faithful.

ALL: We believe, even when we are discouraged. We believe, that when we are discouraged, raising our voices for justice will offer us hope!


Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost!

   As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be

     world without end! Amen. Amen.



Prayers in the Stillness “Stillness”

Leader: I invite you to get in a comfortable position of rest. I invite you to get as quiet and still as you can. I invite you to a deep breath and a deep listening posture–perhaps eyes closed or fixed on a candle–as we prepare for a time of prayer.




The Prayers of the People & The Lord’s Prayer


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

   Your kingdom, come.

Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

   Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

   Lead us, not into temptation,

   but deliver us from evil.

For yours is the Kingdom, and the power,

   and the glory forever. Amen.




Sung response – Doxology [to the tune of “Give Thanks” GTG 647, CCLI license ]

             Believe, with a hopeful heart!

Believe, and shine your light!

Believe, because the song we sing is sung for all!

And now let the weak say, “I am strong;”

let the poor say, “I am rich

because of what our God has done for us.”



Nottingham Presbyterian Church Mission Statement


We the people of Nottingham Presbyterian Church strive to be Christ-centered, friendly and faithful followers of Jesus Christ. We are called to surrender our individual desires in order to do God’s will. We are led by God to be a light in this world by:

•         Bringing the love of Jesus to our community with an accepting, nurturing and compassionate environment.

•         Expanding our missions and worship experiences to meet the needs of the community and the world.

•         Passionately and enthusiastically developing opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.

•         Seeking to develop partnerships with local and global organizations in pursuit of God’s vision.


We Go Forth


Sending Hymn: Carol of Resistance “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

Pastor: Introduction to the Carol: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote this poem at Harvard on Christmas Day in 1863 during the heart of the Civil War. His wife had died tragically in a fire and he had just found out that his son had been injured as a soldier for the Union. He heard the sound of bells and began to write, spurred on by his sorrow at the state of humankind:

“And in despair, I bowed my head: ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to [all].” And yet hope wins out as he pens the fourth verse: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth [not] sleep; The wrong shall fail, the right prevail, With peace on earth, good will to [all].” (Our CCLI license is: 3259522; our streaming license is: 20580343.)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet the words repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to all.


I thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along the unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good will to all.


And in despair I bowed my head:

“There is no peace on earth,” I said,

“For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to all.”


Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good will to all.”


Till, ringing singing, on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,

Of peace on earth, good will to all!


Charge and Benediction



This service can also be found on our website ( Our CCLI license is: 3259522; our streaming license is: 20580343. One License reprint and podcast/stream license A-736486.


This service is slightly adapted from the one purchased from © . Permission to make adaptation, to use, and to stream this service is included in the purchase of the program. Copyright is still held by Worship Design Studio.



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