4th Sunday in Advent: 19 Dec 2021 – Micah 5:2-5; Psalm 80:1-7; Luke 1:39-56 ~ Rejoice in God your Savior!

4th Sunday in Advent: 19 Dec 2021
Anglican Church in North America
[Lectionary Year C]

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening:

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among
us; and as we are sorely hindered by our sins from running the
race that is set before us, let your bountiful grace and mercy
speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to
whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now
and for ever. Amen.

Mary responded (to Elizabeth),
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
   How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
   For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
  For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.”

(Luke 1:46-49)

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O Little Town Of BethlehemNat King Cole

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OT Reading: Micah 5:2-5 (NLT)

A Ruler from Bethlehem

5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are only a small village among all the people of Judah.
Yet a ruler of Israel,
whose origins are in the distant past,
will come from you on my behalf.
3 The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies
until the woman in labor gives birth.
Then at last his fellow countrymen
will return from exile to their own land.
4 And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
Then his people will live there undisturbed,
for he will be highly honored around the world.
5 And he will be the source of peace.

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Psalm: Psalm 80 Hear, O Shepherd of Israel  | Kirk Dearman
[Simple Believer]

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Gospel Reading: Luke 1:39-56 (NLT)

Mary Visits Elizabeth

1:39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

1:46 Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
54 He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

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Magnificat Primi Toni – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
VOCES8 sings the ‘Magnificat Primi Toni’ by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina in the VOCES8 Centre in London.

TEXT and TRANSLATION:

1. Magnificat, anima mea, Dominum
My soul doth magnify the Lord

2. et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo, salutari meo.
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

3. Quia respexit humilitatem ancillæ suæ: ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes.
For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden: for behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed.

4. Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est, et sanctum nomen eius,
For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his Name,

5. et misericordia eius a progenie in progenies timentibus eum.
and his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations.

6. Fecit potentiam in brachio suo, dispersit superbos mente cordis sui.
He hath showed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

7. Deposuit potentes de sede et exaltavit humiles;
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek;

8. esurientes implevit bonis et divites dimisit inanes.
he hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.

9. Suscepit Israel puerum suum recordatus misericordiæ suæ,
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel,

10. sicut locutus est ad patres nostros, Abraham et semini eius in sæcula.
as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

11. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:

12. sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

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Prayer:

Intercessions for The Fourth Sunday in Adventthisischurch.com

As we share in Mary and Elizabeth’s joy at the coming of our Saviour, let us be quiet and still in the presence of God.

+ Heavenly Father, we can only wonder at the way you work with us. We want you to know that we are ready to be used by you. We understand that we must work actively to answer our own prayers and to respond to the challenges of our world and our place within that world.

Let it be to us: according to your will.

+ We call to mind before you those people we would love to know you and we ask you to prepare their hearts to recognize you. We ask you to reassure and encourage us all in our assemblies, giving us insights into the real needs of our communities.

Let it be to us: according to your will.

+ As we look at the world around us, we are often filled with disillusion, hopelessness and despair. We ask you to give us courage to continue working with you even during the dark and difficult times. We ask you to come into the daily relationships which we so often take for granted. Help us to value one another and respond to one another with love.

Let it be to us: according to your will.

+ We call to mind those people all over the world who are struggling with poverty, illness, grief or despair. We ask you to look after them, give them the sense of your caring presence to uphold and sustain them and show us the way to help support them.

Let it be to us: according to your will.

+ We remember those who have died and thank you for the good you have worked in their lives. Comfort those who grieve and mourn the loss of loved ones with the certain hope of resurrection through our Savior Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, and King of glory.

Let it be to me: according to your will.

Lord of hope, as we approach the festival of Christmas, we praise and thank you for the way you surprise us with joy, and show us the extraordinary and the wonderful in the ordinary things of life.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen

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Benediction: 

Heavenly Father, who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of the promised savior: fill us your servants with your grace, that in all things we may embrace your holy will and with her rejoice in your salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

4th Day of Christmas: Fri, 28 Dec – Micah 5:2-4 ~ a ruler from Bethlehem

4th Day of Christmas

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening – Psalm 62:5-8 (NLT)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
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Morning Reading: Micah 5:2-4 (NLT)

A Ruler from Bethlehem

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf. The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth.

Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world.
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Morning Prayer

Awaken us, Lord God, to the wonder of the birth of Jesus – our Savior, our Shepherd, our Peace – whose origins are from the beginning, from the days of eternity. And prepare us for the glory of his return – when every knee shall bow and tongue confess his Lordship, all to the glory of your Name. Amen.
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“O Little Town of Bethlehem” – Kari Jobe

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Blessing – Titus 2:11-13 (NLT)

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Morning Reading & Prayer: Thu, 05 Oct – Micah ~ the world will stand amazed

Morning Reading & Prayer

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening – (Northumbria Community)

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

Please Read: Micah 1-7 (NLT) – click here

Reflection & Prayer

Micah 1:1 (NLT)The Lord gave this message to Micah of Moresheth during the years when Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah. The visions he saw concerned both Samaria and Jerusalem.

Grief over Samaria and Jerusalem

Micah 1:2-9 (NLT) Attention! Let all the people of the world listen! Let the earth and everything in it hear. The Sovereign Lord is making accusations against you; the Lord speaks from his holy Temple.

Look! The Lord is coming! He leaves his throne in heaven and tramples the heights of the earth. The mountains melt beneath his feet and flow into the valleys like wax in a fire, like water pouring down a hill.

And why is this happening? Because of the rebellion of Israel—yes, the sins of the whole nation. Who is to blame for Israel’s rebellion? Samaria, its capital city! Where is the center of idolatry in Judah? In Jerusalem, its capital!

“So I, the Lord, will make the city of Samaria a heap of ruins. Her streets will be plowed up for planting vineyards. I will roll the stones of her walls into the valley below, exposing her foundations. All her carved images will be smashed. All her sacred treasures will be burned. These things were bought with the money earned by her prostitution, and they will now be carried away to pay prostitutes elsewhere.”

Therefore, I will mourn and lament. I will walk around barefoot and naked. I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl. For my people’s wound is too deep to heal. It has reached into Judah, even to the gates of Jerusalem.

Micah 1:16 (NLT) Oh, people of Judah, shave your heads in sorrow, for the children you love will be snatched away. Make yourselves as bald as a vulture, for your little ones will be exiled to distant lands.

Judgment against Wealthy Oppressors

Micah 2:1-3 (NLT)What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so. When you want a piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence. You cheat a man of his property, stealing his family’s inheritance.

But this is what the Lord says: “I will reward your evil with evil; you won’t be able to pull your neck out of the noose. You will no longer walk around proudly, for it will be a terrible time.”

True and False Prophets

Micah 2:8-11 (NLT)To this very hour my people rise against me like an enemy! You steal the shirts right off the backs of those who trusted you, making them as ragged as men returning from battle.

You have evicted women from their pleasant homes and forever stripped their children of all that God would give them. Up! Begone! This is no longer your land and home, for you have filled it with sin and ruined it completely.

Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you, “I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!” That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!

Hope for Restoration

Micah 2:12-13 (NLT) – “Someday, O Israel, I will gather you; I will gather the remnant who are left. I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen, like a flock in its pasture. Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds! Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile, out through the gates of the enemy cities, back to your own land. Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.”

Judgment against Israel’s Leaders

Micah 3:1-12  (NLT)I said, “Listen, you leaders of Israel! You are supposed to know right from wrong, but you are the very ones who hate good and love evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh from their bones. Yes, you eat my people’s flesh, strip off their skin, and break their bones. You chop them up like meat for the cooking pot. Then you beg the Lord for help in times of trouble! Do you really expect him to answer? After all the evil you have done, he won’t even look at you!”

This is what the Lord says: “You false prophets are leading my people astray! You promise peace for those who give you food, but you declare war on those who refuse to feed you. Now the night will close around you, cutting off all your visions. Darkness will cover you, putting an end to your predictions. The sun will set for you prophets, and your day will come to an end. Then you seers will be put to shame, and you fortune-tellers will be disgraced. And you will cover your faces because there is no answer from God.”

But as for me, I am filled with power—with the Spirit of the Lord. I am filled with justice and strength to boldly declare Israel’s sin and rebellion. Listen to me, you leaders of Israel! You hate justice and twist all that is right. You are building Jerusalem on a foundation of murder and corruption.

You rulers make decisions based on bribes; you priests teach God’s laws only for a price; you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid. Yet all of you claim to depend on the Lord. “No harm can come to us,” you say, “for the Lord is here among us.”

Because of you, Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field; Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins! A thicket will grow on the heights where the Temple now stands.

The Lord’s Future Reign

Micah 4:1-5 (NLT) In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.

People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.”

For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.

Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has made this promise! Though the nations around us follow their idols, we will follow the Lord our God forever and ever.

Israel’s Return from Exile

Micah 4:6-8 (NLT)“In that coming day,” says the Lord, “I will gather together those who are lame, those who have been exiles, and those whom I have filled with grief. Those who are weak will survive as a remnant; those who were exiles will become a strong nation. Then I, the Lord, will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever.”

As for you, Jerusalem, the citadel of God’s people, your royal might and power will come back to you again. The kingship will be restored to my precious Jerusalem.

Micah 5:1:1 (NLT)Mobilize! Marshal your troops! The enemy is laying siege to Jerusalem. They will strike Israel’s leader in the face with a rod.

A Ruler from Bethlehem

Micah 5:1:1-5 (NLT) But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.

The people of Israel will be abandoned to their enemies until the woman in labor gives birth. Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace.

The Lord’s Case against Israel

Micah 6:6-8 (NLT)What can we bring to the Lord? Should we bring him burnt offerings? Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins?

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Misery Turned to Hope

Micah 7:1-7 (NLT) – How miserable I am! I feel like the fruit picker after the harvest who can find nothing to eat. Not a cluster of grapes or a single early fig can be found to satisfy my hunger. The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth. They are all murderers, setting traps even for their own brothers. Both their hands are equally skilled at doing evil! Officials and judges alike demand bribes. The people with influence get what they want, and together they scheme to twist justice. Even the best of them is like a brier; the most honest is as dangerous as a hedge of thorns. But your judgment day is coming swiftly now. Your time of punishment is here, a time of confusion.

Don’t trust anyone—not your best friend or even your wife! For the son despises his father. The daughter defies her mother. The daughter-in-law defies her mother-in-law. Your enemies are right in your own household!

Micah 7:7-10 (NLT)As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I wait confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.

I will be patient as the Lord punishes me, for I have sinned against him. But after that, he will take up my case and give me justice for all I have suffered from my enemies. The Lord will bring me into the light, and I will see his righteousness. Then my enemies will see that the Lord is on my side. They will be ashamed that they taunted me,  saying, “So where is the Lord—that God of yours?” With my own eyes I will see their downfall; they will be trampled like mud in the streets.

Micah 7:14-10 (NLT)O Lord, protect your people with your shepherd’s staff; lead your flock, your special possession…. “Yes,” says the Lord, “I will do mighty miracles for you, like those I did when I rescued you from slavery in Egypt.”

All the nations of the world will stand amazed at what the Lord will do for you. They will be embarrassed at their feeble power. They will cover their mouths in silent awe, deaf to everything around them. Like snakes crawling from their holes, they will come out to meet the Lord our God. They will fear him greatly, trembling in terror at his presence.

Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love. Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.
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“I stand amazed” – Chris Tomlin


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Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!