Ardoch Parish Church

Sunday 6th December 2020

6th December Order of Service pdf

Download a copy of the Order of service

Ardoch Parish Church and our minister, Rev Mairi Perkins welcomes everyone to this Service celebrating the 2nd Sunday in Advent and Liz Paterson lights the second Advent candle

Our First Hymn: The River

To the river I am going
Bringing sins I cannot bear
Come and cleanse me, come forgive me
Lord, I need to meet You there

In these waters, healing mercy
Flows with freedom from despair
I am going, to that river
Lord, I need to meet You there

Precious Jesus, I am ready
To surrender every care
Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord, I need to meet You there

To the river I am going
Bringing sins I cannot bear
Come and cleanse me, come forgive me
Lord, I need to meet You there

And in these waters, healing mercy
Flows with freedom from despair
I am going, to that river
Lord, I need to meet You there

Precious Jesus, I am ready
To surrender every care
Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord, I need to meet You there

Come and join us, in the river
Come find life beyond compare
He is calling, He is waiting
Jesus longs to meet You there

He is calling, He is waiting
Jesus longs to meet You there
Precious Jesus, I am ready
To surrender every care

Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord, I need to meet You there
Take my hand now, lead me closer
Lord, I need to meet You there

Prayer of Adoration and Confession

Material from Spill the Beans

Loving God, creator of all that we perceive,
father, parent and guardian,
our constant in a world of change.
we come before you this day,
drawn in by and through our faith,
drawn close in and through our love.
We call out in this time of change,
as we gather and prepare,
as we journey together,
grant us the strength to follow
the example of Jesus’ constant care and compassion.

Eternal God, in this season of Advent, we journey together,
conscious of our past, of our faults and failings,
but as we prepare for Christmas and
the remembrance of the birth of
your son, our saviour, Jesus,
we dedicate ourselves to the path forwards.

We ask for the boldness to continue
to assert our place in this changing and troubled world
as agents of change, workers for peace,
and servants of all.

Guide and sustain us on this difficult road ahead.
Living God, though this time of year can be busy,
as we light candles, pick presents, decorate trees,
and reconnect with those whom we love
help us to find time to dedicate ourselves to your mission
to remain grateful for the gift of your grace
and the surety of your love.


Charles Robertson reads

from Mark Chapter 1 v 1-8

John Chapter 1 v 6-8 & 19-28

Hymn: When out of poverty

When out of poverty is born
When out of poverty is born
a dream that will not die
a landless, weary folk find strength
to stand with heads held high,
it’s then we learn from those who wait
to greet the promised day:
‘The Lord is coming; don’t lose heart
Be blest: prepare the way!’
When people wander far from God,
forget to share their bread,
they find their wealth an empty thing,
their spirits are not fed.

For only just and tender love
the hungry soul will stay.
And so God’s prophets echo still:
‘Be blest: prepare the way!’
When God took flesh and came to earth,
the world turned upside down,
and in the strength of women’s faith
the Word of Life was born.
She knew that God would raise the low,
it pleased her to obey.
Rejoice with Mary in the call:
‘Be blest: prepare the way!’

Words: Kathy Galloway, provided with permission

Mairi’s Reflection

A Voice crying in the Wilderness

Remember last week I said that the Christmas story is full of the most unlikely characters. Those on the edge find themselves at the very centre of the story.

The unimportant get the starring rolls and the forgotten are the first to know. It’s a story of the unexpected and today we meet the first of those unlikely characters. John, John the Baptist

All four gospels agree that John the Baptist is significant only in relation to Jesus, “the Messiah”, “the Son of God”,

“the Lord”, the one more powerful and infinitely greater than John himself. John is here to prepare the way for Jesus.

But……. there is an obstacles to be removed, the thing that will most get in the way of the coming Kingdom, is people’s
‘sin’. Their sinfulness was preventing them from being open to the new, astonishing thing that God was about to do in Jesus. And so John urges repentance, and offers baptism as a sign of cleansing and forgiveness.

But……. that is not the good news, it is only the groundwork that is required for the radically new and different gospel of
grace. Baptism “with the Holy Spirit” means not just a wiping clean of the slate until the next time we do wrong and have to repent again; it means being infused with the divine Spirit, just as Jesus himself is/was/will be.

This takes us well beyond the Christmas story; the birth of the baby in Bethlehem. The Holy Spirit became real for the disciples only after Jesus’ death and resurrection, so already at the very start of Mark’s gospel, the entire story is being compressed into one. Time and eternity have merged.

John is proclaiming the arrival, not of a cute little baby in a stable, but of a man in whom God will be directly present in
the world, for its judgement, redemption and transformation.

But lets go back to John, it was difficult to tell who he was, so that is why they asked. He didn’t look like anyone  important so they asked “Who are you?”

They had heard about him, of course. There were hundreds who had come into the city to say they had been out to see
him. So the authorities wanted to know who he was.

“Who are you?”

Given he lived in the wilderness, wore camel skins and ate locusts wrapped in wild honey, they couldn’t imagine he was
anyone significant, yet everyone was talking about him and that made the authorities frightened.

“Who are you?”

Their question wasn’t being answered so they changed it:

“Are you the Messiah?”

They had heard people say he was.

“No, I am not the Messiah!”

“Are you Elijah?”

“No, I am not Elijah!”

“Are you the prophet?”

“No, I am not the prophet!”

The authorities looked at each other confused, and then at the large following he had. He must be someone!

“Come on, give us an answer, who are you?”

He looked at the religious folk all dressed in their heavy material sweating under the hot sun, paused and then said:

“I am the voice!”

They looked even more confused.

He went on, “crying out in the wilderness:”

They looked at him expecting something clearer.

“Make straight the way of the Lord”

“Why are you out in the desert then?” They ask because they were getting nothing clear out of him, nothing that
made sense so they thought they needn’t be too worried.
“Don’t be concerned about me,” he said.  There was a gasp of relief.

“Think about the one who comes after me, whose sandal I am not fit to untie. I am only a witness. He’s already here
among you.”

And the dread in their stomachs returned.

Maybe this year Advent feels quieter, different. Perhaps this is the very time to speak up in our village  as John did. John was a voice in the wilderness. I challenge you to be that voice in Ardoch. John was someone who broke the silence of God after centuries. He spoke up for the Good News for those who were least and lost.

It’s time to find our Advent voice this year and speak into the silence, for those whose voices are heard less this year
because of the pandemic, be that voice where resources are less, and hope is marginalised, be that voice for those who are scared to speak out?

Might this just be the voice we have, when other things are not happening this advent, where we can speak more clearly, as a voice in the wilderness, for those whose voices are frightened and even broken?

Being silence-breakers is the act of witness-bearing for John. He faced the religious authorities, he had them coming out into the desert. It was a long way from the centres of power in the cities, but yet they came to hear. His voice, or the truth his voice held, must have been felt far from the Jordan and locust patches.

It is a rather dramatic, yet real, Advent message today that each one of us can proclaim.

The signpost is directing, the voice is crying, the finger is pointing. Might this become our renewed, reframed Advent ritual.

This is the Good News. Make straight the paths.

Let us pray for others and ourselves

Ever loving God,
we come before you and give thanks,
for all that we are, all that we have
and all that we can do.
in this, the darkest time of the year
we ask for the strength
to carry your love to a world in pain
and to shine a light into the darkness
that too often defines it.
On this Sunday when we remember your love,
we pray for those who cannot see it,
for those who are searching for the
comfort of your embrace, but cannot feel it,
help us to be like John and guide all
your beloved children towards the gift
of your grace and the love that we know in you.
We pray for your church, at this the busiest time of the year
for those who prepare and plan,
for those who support and sustain,
for those who bake and make,
that they will know the thanks of all those
whose lives they brighten by their dedication.

Help us to know the gift of community, united in your love.
This year has been difficult for our community,
and for our whole world,
we pray for all those affect by disease,
those who have lost loved ones,
those who have worked harder
than they ever thought possible
grant us the boldness to share your promise
of a new life to all those who are
picking up the pieces of lives changed forever.
We pray for ourselves,
that we may know peace in the midst of this hectic season
that we will find the time to reflect on
your place in our lives,
and that our love will guide us.


We are delighted the Hot Chocolate Club members are contributing each week to The Story and this week’s script is for two voices speaking about John the Baptist

Our closing hymn: On Jordan’s Banks

On Jordan’s bank, the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Come then and hearken, for he brings
Glad tidings of the King of kings!

Then cleansed be every Christian breast;
And furnished for so great a Guest.
Yea, let us each our hearts prepare
For Christ to come and enter there.

For Thou art our Salvation, Lord,
Our Refuge, and our great Reward.
Without Thy grace our souls must fade
And wither like a flower decayed.

Stretch forth thine hand, to heal our sore,
And make us rise to fall no more;
Once more upon thy people shine,
And fill the world with love divine.

All praise, eternal Son, to Thee
Whose advent sets Thy people free,
Whom, with the Father, we adore,
And Spirit blest, forevermore.