Online worship resources for Sunday 13 December

Beyond foreboding – the invitation into the practice of cultivating joy

We have begun worshipping again as a gathered community, but we know for some people it is not possible to join us for face-to-worship. Below you will find an audio recording for worship at home that includes a full worship service that you are invited to participate in – with prayer, the bible readings, discussion and wondering questions for 13 December 2020. You can listen to this with others or on your own. You may like to light a candle as you begin and have paper and pen nearby to make your own notes or art responses during this worship service.

If you would like to connect with the Richmond Uniting Church community in other ways as well as in audio worship, for example for Midday Prayers or Zoom ‘morning teas’, or a theology group discussion please email

This Sunday, the third Sunday in Advent, Rev Dr Sally Douglas invites us to dive into Isaiah 61 and John 1 and to explore the idea of joy. Sally challenges us to move beyond the idea that we can only taste joy when everything is sorted and the lie that daring to taste joy will invite tragedy. In contrast, we explore the idea of cultivating joy as an essential spiritual practice – if we are followers of Jesus.

Listen to this week’s service using the embedded player below. You can also copy this link into your podcast player of choice if you would like to receive updates as they are released:

Music Suggestions for Worship:

Joyful, joyful we adore you by Timothy Rees
(Together in Song 153) This version by Rend Collective

Nimrod by Elgar (from Enigma variations)
This version played by the Berlin Philarmoniker

Wondering Questions

  • When was the last time you allowed yourself to savour joy with abandon? Revisit that moment again, what was it like?
  • What practices might you cultivate to experience joy and gratitude – as a spiritual practice – each day?
  • When you find yourself holding back from joy, because you haven’t got everything ‘sorted’ or because you are afraid that if you allow the joy, the good things in your life will implode, what can you say to yourself? How might you bring these fears to Jesus, the feast-maker, as you seek healing?

Additional Resources

For a little introduction to Brene Brown’s research on joy here is short clip:

Brene Brown’s books Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection explore in detail the integral practice of cultivating joy.