Readings for December 16, 2018 – third Sunday of Advent

 

First Reading:                                                                                                                        Zephaniah 3:14-20

14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
   shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
   O daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgements against you,
   he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
   you shall fear disaster no more.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
   do not let your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
   a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
   he will renew you* in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
18   as on a day of festival.*
I will remove disaster from you,*
   so that you will not bear reproach for it.
19 I will deal with all your oppressors
   at that time.
And I will save the lame
   and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
   and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you home,
   at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
   among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
   before your eyes, says the Lord.

 

Psalm 85  (Refrain sung by all – Verses sung by choir)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Reading:                                                                                                                    Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice* in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.* 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in

 

Gospel:                                                                                                                                          Luke 3:7-18

7 John said 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? 8Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin 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. 9Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’ 10 And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ 11In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ 12Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ 13He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ 14Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’ 15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah,* 16John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with* the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

18 So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.

 

Prayers of Intercession to be                                                            

 

As we await the coming of Christ, we pray in hope for the church, the world, and all of creation.

A brief  silence.

 

For choirs, hymn writers, musicians and off-key singing, we give you thanks, Holy One.  Fill us with your song of joy.  Open us to proclaim your glory in our singing, speaking, and silence.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

 

For the hurting places in creation: for the seas and lands ravaged by natural disasters; for communities and creatures displaced by the floods and droughts.  Grant peace through your presence and joy in your healing.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

 

For peace to ring out in our hearts and in our homes; for mercy and forgiveness to reign in every community; for war to cease and hunger to end. Give us this joy now, Holy One.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

 

For those who are oppressed; for soldiers and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and their families; for neighbors who have no access to medical care; for those who are ill and those who mourn (especially).  Fill them with your peace.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

 

For foster families opening their homes; for grandparents raising grandchildren; for single parents struggling to make ends meet; for expectant parents who now grieve.  Give strength and comfort, Holy One.

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

 

Here other intercessions may be offered.

 

In thanksgiving for preachers and teachers who have guided us on the way.  Bring us with them to rejoice eternally in you,

Lord, in your mercy,

hear our prayer.

 

 

Confident that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, we bring to you theses prayers and those unspoken, in the name of Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.