Second Sunday of Advent
We worship God who uses messengers like John the Baptist to call us from darkness to light.
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Your kingdom is at hand, O God of justice and peace:
+ You made John the Baptist its herald to announce the coming of Christ Jesus, who baptises with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
+ Give us a spirit of repentance that we may enter your kingdom.
+ Let complacency yield to conviction, that in our day justice will flourish and conflict give way to the peace you bestow in Christ.
Grant this through him whose coming is certain, whose day draws near: your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
“Light of the World” – Lauren Daigle
A Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 11:1-10 (NLT)
[Isaiah looks forward to the coming of a messiah, who will restore harmony and justice.]
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
He will delight in obeying the Lord. He will not judge by appearance nor make a decision based on hearsay. He will give justice to the poor and make fair decisions for the exploited. The earth will shake at the force of his word, and one breath from his mouth will destroy the wicked. He will wear righteousness like a belt and truth like an undergarment.
In that day the wolf and the lamb will live together; the leopard will lie down with the baby goat. The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all. The cow will graze near the bear. The cub and the calf will lie down together. The lion will eat hay like a cow. The baby will play safely near the hole of a cobra. Yes, a little child will put its hand in a nest of deadly snakes without harm. Nothing will hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain, for as the waters fill the sea, so the earth will be filled with people who know the Lord.
In that day the heir to David’s throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place.
A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (NLT)
Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.
May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more. May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.
He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them.
May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise.
“Justice Shall Flourish” –
A Reading from the Letters: Romans 15:4-9 (NLT)
[Paul reminds us that the scriptures were written to teach about God’s promises.]
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. Remember that Christ came as a servant to the Jews to show that God is true to the promises he made to their ancestors. He also came so that the Gentiles might give glory to God for his mercies to them. That is what the psalmist meant when he wrote:
“For this, I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to your name.”
A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 3:1-12 (NLT)
[John the Baptist’s call to repentance is described by Matthew.]
In those days John the Baptist came to the Judean wilderness and began preaching. His message was, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”
John’s clothes were woven from coarse camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey. People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.
“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
“Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” – Jeremy Riddle
Prepare ye the way of the Lord | Prepare ye the way of the Lord | Oh, the way of the Lord
Make straight paths for His feet | Clear a way in the streets | Prepare your hearts to meet | The One who is coming
Every valley shall be raised | The rough places become plains | His salvation comes today | To those who would receive Him
What His words have foretold | All together we’ll behold | Every knee bending low | On the day of His coming
Now is a time of urgency | You must repent and believe | For the day of reckoning | Comes with His coming
Come to us King Jesus: as a babe in a manger, as the righteous judge in glory. Hear your people as we cry out to you.
+ For a spirit of repentance and humility among all believers, we pray …. Lord, hear us.
+ For peace and harmony among all believers of different cultures and traditions, we pray …. Lord, hear us.
+ For peace where it is most lacking, especially in Syria and the Middle East, we pray …. Lord, hear us.
+ For reconciliation between people, tribes and nations who are at war, we pray …. Lord, hear us.
+ For peace in our families, and forgiveness, we pray …. Lord, hear us.
+ For all children and adults alike, in this season of anticipation, we pray …. Lord, hear us.
+ For all people who are weak, homeless and hungry, we pray …. Lord, hear us.
+ For those we have died in Christ …. Lord, hear us.
O God, you save the weak, the helpless and the poor when they cry to you, hear the prayers of all your people, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Let Your Light Shine In The Darkness” – New Scottish Hymns
May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 15:5-6
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen