SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT

10TH DECEMBER 2023

Second Sunday of Advent 2 | The Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish

SENTENCE FROM SCRIPTURE –

Show us your mercy, O Lord; and grant us your salvation

OPENING HYMN

GREETING

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. .

Amen.

COLLECT FOR PURITY

Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open,

all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden:

cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you,

and worthily magnify your holy name;

through Christ our Lord. Amen.

SUMMARY OF THE LAW

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:

The first commandment is this:

“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

There is no other commandment greater than these.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

Description: Description: Description: Confession under section 67 NDPS Act to be admitted or not, yet to ...

CONFESSION

God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son

who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

ABSOLUTION

God, who is both power and love,

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by the Holy Spirit,

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

KYRIE sung by Dougie Byers

COLLECT

Stir up our hearts, Lord,

to prepare the way of your only-begotten Son:

that, in his coming,

we might serve you with our hearts made pure;

through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen

PROCLAIMING & RECEIVING GOD’S WORD

FIRST READING ISAIAH 40:1-11 read by Billy Dewar Riddick

God’s People Are Comforted

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.

Join the Kirk as we 'Prepare The Way For The Lord' this Advent | The Church  of Scotland

Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh 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 flesh is 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 news;
lift up your voice with strength,
O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
“Here is your God!”

See, the Lord God comes with might,
 and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him
and his recompense before him.
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.

Isaiah 40:1–11 (NRSV) - Isaiah 40:1–11 NRSV - Comfort, O comfort my… |  Biblia

SECOND READING 2 PETER 3: 8-15a read by Amie Byers

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be destroyed with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.

Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and destroyed and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

2 Peter 3:8 - Bible verse - DailyVerses.net

Final Exhortation and Doxology

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING MARK 1:1-8 read by Rev Ann Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 1 beginning at verse 1

Glory to Christ our Saviour

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ.

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,’ ”

Luke 3:1-6 | The Reflectionary

So John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And the whole Judean region 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 strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel.

Praise to Christ our Lord

REFLECTION

“Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.”

Thy Strong Word - Luke 3: John the Baptist Prepares the Way - KFUO Radio

‘I am the voice of one calling in the desert- make straight the way for the Lord.’

The voice is that of John the Baptist, John is the voice that seeks to grab the attention of all people. Sometimes you have just to grab someone’s attention. One night a man looked out the window, he saw that there were people in the shed, stealing things. So, he phoned the police. The police told him that there was no one was in his area and consequently, there was no one available to catch the thieves. He said “OK,” hung up, counted to 30 and called the police again. And he said, “Hello. I just called a few seconds ago, because there were people in my shed. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now. I’ve just shot them all.” Within five minutes there were half a dozen police cars in the area, an armed response unit. They caught the burglars red-handed. One of the policemen said to the man, “I thought you said you’d shot them!” And he replied, “I thought you said there was no one available.” Sometimes you just feel like you need to get somebody’s attention any way you can.

Robert Stevenson - Speaker - Attention Getter

John felt the need to get people’s attention any way he could. His life –style- the way he dressed caught the attention of the people. He dressed in camel’s hair and a leather belt and this spoke volumes to the people- it said ‘I am not sold out to the culture. I’m nobody’s pawn. I am a free independent spirit under nobody’s control or authority. His habitat caught the attention of the people- he lived in the desert, a tough place where nobody wanted to live. It certainly fulfilled the Isaiah Scripture- prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness and make a straight highway for God in the desert. His cuisine caught the attention of people- he ate locusts and wild honey. Most of the poor in Jesus’ day ate fish, figs, and barley loaves. But John was so poor that he ate locusts as his source of protein, perhaps drying them out and adding some wild honey to sweeten them to make them more palatable. John’s provocative message caught the attention of the people ‘ Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand’ Remember they had not heard a prophetic voice for 400 years so this was new, strange and challenging. So, John by his appearance, his habitat, his lifestyle, and his provocative message captured the attention of people in the surrounding areas.

But was it just these four things that caught the attention of the people or was there something else? In my mind these four things did catch the attention of the people, but I think there was something in John’s character and personality that caught their attention even more. When you think of the greatest men and women of the Bible, you think of Moses, Abraham, David, Sarah, Ruth, Elijah, Mary, Peter, and Paul. Yet, Jesus Christ said that “no one had ever been born who is greater than John the Baptist.” What made John stand out that Christ singles him out as the greatest human being born up to that point in time? What is it about John that made him stand out above other people? Several things stood out:

Luke 7:28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater  than John, yet even the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

Firstly John was Spirit- filled. We are told in scripture that John will be great in the sight of the Lord and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. He was not great because he didn’t drink wine but rather he was great because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. As Christians we tend to minimize the Holy Spirit’s role in their lives. We need to realize that it was the Holy Spirit who drew us to faith in Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who wants to work in our lives to mould us more into the image of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us and stands as our Advocate. We cannot live successfully as a Christian apart from the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, leading and guiding. John stood out because he was filled with The Holy Spirit and when people are filled with the Holy Spirit there is an attractiveness to them – that draws people and catches their attention.

John did not just have the Holy Spirit he was filled with the Holy Spirit. To be filled with the Holy Spirit means to have opened yourself to the Spirit, committing every area of your life to Christ, seeking to glorify God in everything, and dedicated to do God’s will. John was utterly dependent on God. He did not rely on his own strength and power but instead trusted God completely and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Our lives are only as full of the Holy Spirit as we are willing to surrender to God.

So firstly, John was full of the Holy Spirit and secondly John was steadfast in his stand. He was uncompromising when it came to truth and righteousness. His messages were not watered down or permissive. He called sin – sin and confronted the issue of sin regardless whether he was speaking to the people, the priests, or the politicians. He confronted backsliders with the nearness of eternity and compelled people to fruits of righteousness and obedience to the word of God. This strength of character- where he was not tossed about by the demands and pressures of the culture- caught the attention of the people too.

Be Steadfast – Linda Sharp-Williams

So, John was full of the Holy Spirit, he was steadfast in his stand and thirdly he was submissive to the will of God. John recognized early in life God’s call on his life and gave himself completely into it. John was humble. He refused to accept names and titles that men tried to put on him. Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?” He said: “I am ’The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord”.” Indeed later in the book of John, John says “Jesus must increase, but I must decrease.” These words are a challenge to us all for in our lives the master must increase and we ourselves must decrease. Such a task is not easy but a necessary one that leads to joy. The following story helps to illustrate this truth.

In one German village stood a grand old stone-walled church with and ornately carved facade, beautiful stained glass, and a stately pipe-organ. The organ was famed throughout the region for its beautiful, rich tone. One day the aged caretaker of the church was interrupted during his chores by a knock on the great oak door of the sanctuary. He opened the door to find a young man in uniform on the steps. “Sir, I have a favour to ask,” the young soldier began. “Would you please permit me to play the organ for one hour?” “I’m sorry, young man,” the caretaker replied. “No one but our own organist is permitted to play the organ.” “But sir, I’ve heard so much about the organ of this church, and I’ve walked so many miles just to see it, just to play it for a single hour!” The aged man paused, then shook his head sadly. “Please” the soldier pleaded. “My commander gave me a 24-hour leave. In a few more days we move to another province where the fighting is expected to be heavy. This may be the last chance in my life to play the organ.”

The caretaker reluctantly nodded. He swung the door open and beckoned the soldier inside. Then he took a key from his pocket and held it out to the soldier. “The organ is locked,” he said. “Here is the key.” The soldier took the key and unlocked the ornate cabinet of the organ. Then he began to play. A billow of majestic chords rolled from the great golden pipes of the organ. The caretaker stood transfixed as the glorious music washed over him, bringing tears to his eyes. He moved to one of the pews and sat down, as if entranced. Within minutes, people from the village gathered at the church doorway and peered in. Removing their hats, the villagers stepped into the sanctuary and sat down to listen. Streams of beautiful music filled the sanctuary for one hour. Then the gifted fingers of the organist struck a final chord and lifted from the keyboard. The young man closed and locked the keyboard cabinet. As he stood and turned, he was surprised to see that the church had nearly filled with parishioners who had laid aside their chores to listen to his music. Humbly receiving their compliments, the young soldier walked down the centre aisle to return the key to the caretaker. “Thank you,” the young man whispered. The old man rose to his feet and took the key. “Thank you,” he answered, grasping the young soldier’s gifted hands. “Young man that was the most beautiful music these old ears have ever heard. What is your name?” “My name is Felix,” replied the solder. “Felix Mendelssohn.”

Organist plays slurring Wedding March in timeless 'drunk' Mendelssohn  parody - Classic FM

The old caretaker’s eyes widened as he realised whose hands he grasped—the hands of the young man who, before he was 20 years old, had become one of the most celebrated composers on the European continent. The old man’s gaze followed the young soldier as he left the church and disappeared into the village street. “To think,” the old man wondered aloud, “the master was here and I almost failed to give him the key!”

So, it is with us. The Master is here. God is with us. His grace envelops us. If you give him the key to your heart, he can make unimaginably beautiful music in your life—music that will make the world stop, listen, and wonder. The Master is here and he is ready to transform us by his grace. He is ready to give us a new beginning. It is not only our duty but our joy to give him the key to all that we are and have. 

John the Baptist and John the Evangelist witness to Jesus the Risen Saviour  (1899) | Christ Church New Malden

So, John the Baptist was full of the Holy Spirit, he was steadfast in his stand, he was submissive to God’s will; and finally, he was a soul winner. “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light but was sent to” bear witness of that Light.” Many flocked to John and believed.

I often wonder if we were asked the question how many have seen the light because of us- how would we answer? Would we like John by our lifestyle- that is being full of the Holy Spirit, by being steadfast in our Christian stand, by being submissive to God’s will, by being a witness to others, a light for Christ be able to respond with the answer –yes we did catch the attention of others and we did draw people to Christ, the Light of the World. Let us pray that we might emulate John in these four areas- that we might be full of the Holy Spirit, steadfast in our Christian stand, submissive to God’s will and finally a witness to the light. Amen

THE CREED

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

God from God,

Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYERS

Let us pray...May 2019 - YouTube

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

Saving God, you sent John to prepare the way for your Son.

Give your Church grace to hear the cry in the spiritual wilderness,

enable us to respond in repentance and faith,

and by your Holy Spirit transform our hearts.

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

I will go before you, and make the crooked paths straight.” Isaiah 45:2 |  Isaiah 45 2, Isaiah, Scripture

Saving God, you sent John to straighten

the crooked and level the rocky path,

challenge devious minds with your justice and truth.

raise leaders of integrity, passion and goodness.

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

Saving God, you sent John to baptise

for repentance and forgiveness.

Give to all people humility

to examine their lives this advent

with honesty and devotion.

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

How can we youth promote peace? | YourCommonwealth

Saving God, you sent John

to announce the good news of peace.

We pray for families that are in conflict,

for relationships that are broken,

for countries living in fear

because of hostilities and war.

Help us and your appointed negotiators

to be your messengers of peace

that all might live in harmony and stability.

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

Saving God, you sent John to baptise,

and to draw others deep into Jesus’ love.

We thank you for the love

that comes through baptism

and ask that you will keep all your children

safe in your care and love.

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

Connecting with God's Word in the margins of your Bible - Christian Leader

Saving God, you sent John empowered by your Word

to speak your words of healing to all,

who are in anguish, despair, distress or depression.

In the quiet we lift to you people known to us.

Loving God, whose heart is compassion

touch your people with your healing power and presence

and give them inner wholeness in body and in mind.

For those we have named in the quiet of our hearts,

come Emmanuel and journey with them

and bless them on their difficult journey.

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

Saving God, you sent John to announce

your saving and redeeming presence.

Receive into your tender care

those who have died in faith,

May they come to see your salvation.

Bless any family for whom this month

marks the death of a loved one,

grant them your peace and comfort.

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

The True Meaning of the Advent Season

Saving God, you sent John

to open hearts and minds

to the love and care of your Son.

In this advent season meet with us,

draw us closer to you,

that we might know and rejoice

in Emmanuel God with us.

God is gracious

Your salvation is near

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those+

who sin against us.

Do not bring us

to the time of trial+

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power

and the glory are yours,

now and forever. Amen.

HYMN

Description: Description: Description: Description: Elevation Worship - The Blessing (Lyrics) ft. Kari Jobe & Cody ...

BLESSING

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of His son Jesus Christ our Lord: and the blessing of God almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen

Welcome

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.

Donations

You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.

St John’s Bellringers on Border Life video

Notices

Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.

Facebook

St John's Church

1 day 3 hours ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to Choral Evensong for Lent, this coming Sunday 3rd March, 6pm, at St John’s Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, sung by the

St John's Church

1 day 3 hours ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to Choral Evensong for Lent, this coming Sunday 3rd March, 6pm, at St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, sung by the

St John's Church

6 days 3 hours ago

Sunday 25th February 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11:00am! You are most welcome to come along to our service. Be great to see you! Contemporary service is on Sunday

St John's Church

6 days 5 hours ago

Booking is necessary to attend the Pamper Session on Thursday 14th March starting at 3.45pm until 6pm, in St John’s Church Hall, Lovers’ Walk, Dumfries, DG1 1LW. For more information