|The Candle of Peace|
The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, December 9, 2018 - Second Sunday of Advent
(Revised Common Lectionary Year C)
This is Advent, the season of preparation. The shops are full of gifts that we might give or receive. Streets are decorated and choirs begin the rounds of community centers and retirement homes with their seasonal offerings of carols. As we prepare, we remember another, John the Baptist, who came to prepare the Jewish people for the arrival of Jesus. John, who would prepare a way through a call to repentance, so that hearts and souls would be ready to receive the One who was to come.
Father God, prepare our hearts not only for the celebration to come, but also for sharing that Good News with friends, family and work colleagues should opportunity arise. Grant us courage and a real willingness to talk about the love that came down to earth and walked among us. Amen
Advent Wreath Prayer for the Second Week of Advent
Last Sunday we lit the first candle—the candle of hope. Today we light the second candle, the candle of peace. We light it knowing full well that peace is elusive, and in some parts of the world, it is almost completely absent. Yet in this season of Advent, we trust that God is never absent from us. God is always preparing something new. And even where there is war and discord, whether between countries, within families, or within our own hearts, God is present, gently leading us to new possibilities.
Loving God, in this time of preparation and planning, We thank you for the hope and peace you unfailingly offer us. Show us the creative power of hope. Teach us the peace that comes from justice. Prepare our hearts to be transformed by you, That we may walk in the light of Christ. Amen.
Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Confession and Forgiveness
Trusting God's promise of forgiveness, let us confess our sins against God and one another.
Most merciful God, We confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have failed to do. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry, and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Words of Reassurance
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.
~ 1 John 1:9, 2:1b-2 NIV
The Coming Messenger
3:1 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
The Song of Zechariah Benedictus Dominus Deus
Luke 1: 68-79
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.He promised to show mercy to our fathers *
and to remember his holy covenant.This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,Free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sightYou, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
all the days of our life.
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Paul’s Prayer for the Philippians
1:3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
The Proclamation of John the Baptist
3:1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
Here ends the Lessons
Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message
The Nicene Creed
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, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being 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 from 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 and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped 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.
Through the darkness, we look for your wisdom. We want our hearts to be open to you. But sometimes in these days, it seems that so many things come between us.
Help us to be awake and aware of the radiance you bring to our lives. Help us to be grateful each day for the blessings of family and friends. Let us be peacemakers in my our lives, and in the world. Let us pray especially for this difficult world and those who are so in need of an end to violence. Our hearts begs for this as our Advent prayer today. Amen.
Optional parts of the readings are set off in square brackets.
The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.
The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.