St. Mary's Church

Second Sunday of Advent

Second Sunday of Advent

5 Dec 2020 • General news

Isaiah 40. 1-11

God’s People Are Comforted

40 Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.
2 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.

3 A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 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.
5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

6 A voice says, “Cry out!” And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass, their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings;[a]
lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,[b]lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
10 See, the Lord God comes with might, and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arm

2 Peter 3. 8-15a

8 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. 9 The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you,[a] not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 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 dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.[b]

11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening[c] the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Final Exhortation and Doxology

14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

Mark 1. 1-8

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

1 The beginning of the good news[a] of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.[b]

2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,[c]

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,[d]who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”

4 John the baptizer appeared[e] in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with[f] water; but he will baptize you with[g] the Holy Spirit.”

Advent Wreath

The Second Sunday of Advent: Peace

Leader: Last Sunday we lit the first candle in our Advent Wreath,

the candle of hope. We light it again as we remember that

Christ will come again to fulfil all of God’s promises to us.

The first candle is lit..

The Second candle of Advent is the Candle of Peace.

It is sometimes called the Bethlehem Candle to remind us of

the place in which preparations were made to receive and cradle

the Christ child.

Peace is a gift we must be prepared for.  God gives us the gift of

peace when we turn to him in faith.

The prophet Isaiah calls Christ ‘the Prince of Peace’. Through John the Baptist and all the other prophets, God asks us to

prepare our hearts so that he may come in.

Our hope is in God, and his Son Jesus Christ. Our peace

is found in him. We light this candle today to remind us that he brings

peace to all who trust in him.

The second candle is lit.

All: Loving God, thank you for the peace you give us through

Jesus. Help us prepare our hearts to receive Him.

Bless our worship. Guide us in all that we say and do.

We ask it in the name of the one born in Bethlehem. Amen.

We sing: Let there be peace shared among us,

let there be peace in our eyes.

May now your peace sweep this nation;

cause us, O Lord, to arise.

Give us a fresh understanding,

sisterly love that is real.

Let there be peace shared among us,

let there be peace.

Thought for 2nd Sunday of Advent

Anybody who has listened more than a few times to Handel’s Messiah will know that the opening tenor line starts with the words of Isaiah 40.1 - Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, our opening lesson today. The theme of Advent is hope and therefore comfort. God will come to his people and in the words of Julian of Norwich ‘All will be well and all manner of things will be well’.

The reading from Isaiah speaks of the glory of the Lord being revealed and the wilderness being transformed. The inconstancy of human beings is contrasted with the constancy and faithfulness of God - a God who will feed his sheep and hold his lambs in his arms.

The beginning of Mark’s gospel begins, echoing this passage, but moves straight on to the coming of John the Baptist who prepares the way for Jesus. This all speaks to me of God acting in history. He has done so in the past, he is faithful to his promises so we can trust that he will act now and in the future. Perhaps the issue for us lies as Peter suggests in our epistle that God’s timing and ours are not always aligned.

We can however have confidence that God has acted in the past by sending Jesus and that though the world still struggles on in some of its old ways, the victory has been won and those who have faith in Jesus are secure in his love. As we look forward to Christmas and the celebration of Jesus’ birth, we can with hope recall that his second coming at the end of time will not be terrifying as is so often portrayed by some. We may not know when the end will come but for those who hold to faith in Christ, his victory on the cross, will secure a place for us in God’s new creation.

Salvationists often use the phrase ‘gone to glory’ when someone dies. This is the sort of hope that is open to all who follow Jesus and is part of the advent hope. It will be glorious.

At the moment there doesn’t feel much glory in the world and hope has been a scarce commodity. Today, as I write though, there is news that one of the vaccines for which we have been hoping has been given the go ahead by this country’s regulators. Maybe we can see some light at the end of a pretty dark tunnel and hope begins to return. We may not be out of the woods yet but hope leads us on.

I believe that God has been active whilst we have been in the darkness of Covid. There have been numerous examples of communities coming together; those who work on vaccines have managed to do their work in the space of months rather than years. Of course, there have been hiccoughs along the way but the Spirit of God has been active in his people. Surely this Christmas there will be even more good news to celebrate.

Prayers for the Second Sunday of Advent 6/12/2020

Give us now a sense of your presence Lord, as we bring our prayers and requests to you, and enable us to open our hearts and minds to you. We seek to put aside our busy rushing, and to sense that awe and wonder which comes from an awareness that we are in your presence. Dearest Lord, for us you humbled yourself and lived a human life. We know that you understand our worries and fears, and so we pray trusting in your willingness to share our concerns for ourselves and others.

Lord, in your mercy:

Hear our prayer

Lord Jesus forgive us when we live our lives without trusting in your promise that you will come again. Help us to be watchful and prayerful, and living in such a sense of expectation that we use our time modelling our lives on your example. Help us to hear afresh the challenge of John the Baptist to make our lives ready for your coming. May we be filled with an expectancy which causes us to make ourselves ready this Christmas for you to make your home with us. We seek afresh to straighten our crooked paths and may our lives holy places fit for our King.

Lord, in your mercy:

Hear our prayer

Heavenly Father, our world is facing enormous problems which seem of such magnitude that we cannot easily imagine how we can live at peace. Global pandemic, economic crisis, environmental challenge and poverty and suffering which in some countries we seem powerless to bring to an end.

We continue to offer our prayers for all of those affected by Covid-19, for those who have it and for those who have lost loved ones to it.

We pray for those who have no daily bread and we are humbled when we seek to possess more, when so many have so little. When we are faced with world problems which are of such enormity, help us never to give up hope, but to place our trust in you for the future.

Lord, in your mercy:

Hear our prayer

Lord Jesus you lived an ordinary life in Nazareth, with human parents, brothers and sisters. You understand the difficulties faced in families. We pray for all of those involved in providing support for troubled families and strengthening our community life. We pray for those engaged in supporting families. We pray for social workers, those who struggle often with poor resources and lack of adequate funding to provide social welfare. Help us to care more for each other so that the vulnerable are supported and protected. As we draw closer to Christmas in this time of continuing crisis, we think of those who are concerned about money worries or job security, for those who have no homes and those who fear losing their homes through lack of finance. In whatever difficulties we face, may our eyes be drawn to your presence amongst us and may we seek your strength to provide the answer to our needs.

Lord, in your mercy:

Hear our prayer

Lord God, John the Baptist called the people to change their lives and make themselves ready for the coming of your son. Raise up we pray, prophetic voices in our own time. Enable our souls to discern the authentic voices which draw us closer to you. Give us courage to reject those voices which pander to our selfish desires and speak words devoid of your challenge to real commitment. We pray for all those who teach and preach, those who minister to congregations to bring your Gospel truth to life in human hearts. May they be as unwavering as your servant John, as fearless in proclaiming the truth and as willing to suffer for being faithful and true. Enable our spiritual leaders to recognise the validation of their ministry not in the realisation of human ambition, but in the spiritual peace which comes from serving you.

Lord, in your mercy:

Hear our prayer

Saviour, may your blessing be upon all those who are in pain or sickness, those who are anxious or troubled. You are always present with us, even when sometimes you seem far away. You are with us when we pass through dark places, close by our side. In our pains and sorrows, in desolate times when we feel perplexed and forsaken, help us to look upon your cross, to see the depth of your love for us. When we are wounded in body or mind, help us to see your wounds and be mindful that you carry our pain. Sustain us in times of suffering and brings us through the valleys of darkness into the light of your presence.

Lord, in your mercy:

Hear our prayer

Give rest, dear saviour, to the souls of those who have gone from our lives to meet with you. May they know no more pain or sorrow, but only life eternal at rest in your presence.

Lord, in your mercy:

Hear our prayer

Lord Jesus we often pray that your kingdom would come. So we ask that your reign in our lives would flourish and grow. Strengthen us especially at this busy time, that we might make time for preparation. In the midst of the rush of life, help us to find inner quietness and an awareness of your presence. Let these Advent and Christmas seasons be a time when we concern ourselves not so much with material presents, but rather our spiritual blessings.

Merciful father

Accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Malcolm Tyler is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Morning Prayer

Time: Dec 7, 2020 09:30 AM London

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Malcolm Tyler is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Morning Prayer

Time: Dec 10, 2020 09:30 AM London

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