SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT

4TH DECEMBER 2022

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

SENTENCE FROM SCRIPTURE –

In this time shall the righteous flourish

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.

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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 Sue Turner

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 11:1-10 read by Ann Toner

The Peaceful Kingdom

isaiah 11 through 13

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall 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.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see
or decide by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge for the poor
and decide with equity for the oppressed of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb;
the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
the calf and the lion will feed together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Return of the Remnant of Israel and Judah

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

SECOND READING Romans 15: 4-13 read by Amie Byers

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Gospel for Jews and Gentiles Alike

Romans 15:13 Archives - WorldPrayr Resources

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the ancestors and that the gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,

“Therefore I will confess you among the gentiles and sing praises to your name”;And again he says, “Rejoice, O gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all you gentiles,
 and let all the peoples praise him”; and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come,
the one who rises to rule the gentiles; in him the gentiles shall hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

GRADUAL HYMN

GOSPEL READING Matthew 3:1-12 read by Rev Chris Wren

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Matthew chapter 3 beginning at verse 1

Glory to Christ our Saviour

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.”

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region around the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins.

Luke 3:1-6 | The Reflectionary

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore, bear fruit worthy of repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I, and I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

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.”

You will have seen the images of thousands of people in China, taking to the streets to protest, demanding an end to Covid lockdowns and the right to freedom. What I found interesting in this protest was the fact that they were wearing masks and holding a blank piece of white paper. The blank piece of white paper stood out for me. It symbolised the extreme censorship and stunted freedom of speech under the ruling Chinese Communist Party. The blank white paper conveyed to all that they had no voice. The blank piece of white paper communicated a longing for change in the ways things were being conducted.

Today in our gospel reading we meet someone who has a voice and is calling for change. John seems to burst into the desert out of nowhere and proclaim “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” This is not a muffled or censored cry. Unlike other preachers there is no warm introduction or liturgical formula like “the grace and peace of God our Father be with you.” John does not sweet coat his opening remarks, but rather says: “You brood of vipers.” Brood of vipers is not some oriental insult. He is using a phrase that would resonate with this largely Jewish congregation. To declare that these people were a brood of snakes was a statement that these Jews were under the control of the enemy.

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

John doesn’t stop his tirade there. He goes on to criticise those who were nominally worshipping God, in other words those people who utter the right words and are in the right place but whose heart is not in it. They are indifferent to God and their trust is in their ancestry, in Abraham and his descendants. As someone once said just because you stand in a stable does not make you a horse, so it follows that to stand in the synagogue does not make you a disciple of God. John is at pains to stress that you cannot rely on your ancestry for your salvation. Nor can you rely on your baptism, nor the beliefs of your parents. What matters John says is that our relationship is a personal and intimate one with a living God. It is all to do with the heart. John pleads with them and us to sort out our life; to clear up our vision; to reassess our values in life, and then to turn our life around and repent.

It is fitting that John delivers this impassioned cry in the wilderness. The wilderness represents the untamed forces that we meet in ourselves. It exposes the masks we wear and the deceitfulness of the heart. We need to uncover these forces and repent. The wilderness also means a place of solitude where life is examined and inner work accomplished. Socrates said a life unexamined is not worth living. Advent is a beautiful opportunity to examine our lives.

John’s call to examine life and repent does not fall on deaf ears. He caught their attention. Thousands of people left their homes and came into the desert to see John. 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.

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:

The Spirit-Filled Life – Treasuring Christ PH

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 cannot underestimate the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives. When people are filled with the Holy Spirit there is an attractiveness in 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 God, seeking to glorify God in everything, and dedicating yourself to do God’s will. John’s life was one with God and this captured the attention of those that gathered in the wilderness.

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, as we said earlier. He called a spade a spade: sin is sin. He 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. He was a man of heavenly vision and steadfast courage.

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.”

Finally, John 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. They saw John’s heart and passion for God. They sensed his concern for people to get right with God and enjoy a personal relationship with him. John awakened in those that gathered in the wilderness a longing for God and a holy desire to live a life pleasing to God.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.  Lamentations 3:40 | Lamentations, New life, Life

In a way John the Baptist is speaking to us today through the Holy Spirit, inviting us to draw aside in whatever ways we can, to examine our lives, to change our habits for good and to be open to the filling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. John’s impassioned cry awakens us from our slumber and arouses us to a spirit- filled life.

Then as we follow Christ, we will hopefully catch the attention of others. They will see an attractiveness within us, that causes them to question where does this attractiveness come from. As they watch and observe your life and mine, we pray that they will in turn examine themselves deep within, repent and embark on a new life with a divine purpose and holy vision, trusting God to lead them and make their paths straight. 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.

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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.

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