Second Thursday in Advent

December 7, 2011 — Leave a comment

OPENING

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

Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!  (Psalm 66:1-2)
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
I cried to him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has attended to the voice of my prayer.  (Psalm 66:16-19)
Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise!  (Psalm 66:1-2)

O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth will declare Your praise.  (Psalm 51:15)
Make haste, O God, to deliver me;
Make haste to help me, O Lord.  (Psalm 70:1)

Glory be to the Father and to the + Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever amen.

Father You send out Your servants as heralds of Your favor towards us.  They warn us and call us to repentance, may we hearken to their voices.  They bring us good news and absolve us, may we believe and trust in their words as Your very own.  Glory to the Father we sing and glory to + Christ our King and glory be to the Holy Spirit, one God blessed Trinity, now and forevermore.  Amen.

If you are using an advent wreath, light the first and second candles now.
Jesus Christ, You are the Light of the world that no darkness can overcome; for the shadow of death flees from You.  Keep us from sin and straighten our path, so that we may be prepared for Your coming.  Amen.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  (Revelation 21:3-4)

MEDITATION

On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry
Charles Coffin, 1676-1749; tr. composite
Stanzas 1-5

1
On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake and hearken,
For he brings Glad tidings of the King of kings!
2
Then cleansed be ev’ry life from sin;
Make straight the way for God within,
And let us all our hearts prepare
For Christ to come and enter there.
3
We hail Thee as our Savior,
Our refuge and our great reward;
Without Thy grace we waste away
Like flow’rs that wither and decay.
4
Lay on the sick Thy healing hand
And make the fallen strong to stand;
Show us the glory of Thy face
Till beauty springs in ev’ry place.
5
All praise, eternal Son,
To Thee Whose advent sets Thy people free,
Whom with the Father we adore
And Holy Spirit evermore.

SCRIPTURE

O Lord, have mercy on us.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, the third chapter.

Thanks be to God.

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight. ’ ”
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall become straight,
and the rough places shall become level ways,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.  Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?”  And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”  Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”  And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.”  Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. (Luke 3:1-18)

In many and various ways, God spoke to His people by the prophets.
But now in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son.

PRAYERS

Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.

O Lord hear my prayer.
And let my cry come to You.

Heavenly Father You are Trustworthy and True.  Faithful God we have betrayed Your trust by not listening to Your Word, even as Judas betrayed You with a kiss.  First in the Garden by eating from the tree and breaking the only prohibition You laid upon Your children.  Each and every day since then we have broken Your commandments by not obeying You with our whole hearts and by not loving our neighbors as ourselves.  Still You did not demand sacrifice from us but chose to show us mercy, asking only that we repent, believe and trust in You our Redeemer.  Lord, how can we who are secure in our sinful ways come to repentance but by Your grace.  Let us hear the Baptist’s cry and may it melt our cold and hardened hearts by Your grace so that we may repent and continually confess our sins.  Hear, dear Father, the words of Your Son who cried out on our behalf even as He was hanging on the cross to forgive us for we know not what we do.  For His sake forgive us and by Your grace call upon You in every need.  Lord in Your mercy and for the sake of Jesus hear our prayer.  Amen.

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever.  Amen.

Lord have mercy,
Christ have mercy,
Lord have mercy.  Amen.

CLOSING

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.  Amen.

The almighty and merciful Lord, the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit bless and preserve us.  Amen.

All scripture passages are ESV

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