¶ The Gathering

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
and also with you.

Prayer of Preparation

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.

Lighting the Advent Wreath

God our Father,
you spoke to the prophets of old
of a Saviour who would bring peace.
You helped them to spread the joyful message
of his coming kingdom.
Help us, as we prepare to celebrate his birth,
to share with those around us
the good news of your power and love.
We ask this through Jesus Christ,
the light who is coming into the world.
Amen.

Lord Jesus, light of the world,
the prophets said you would bring peace
and save your people in trouble.
Give peace in our hearts at Christmas
and show all the world God’s love.
Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

If we claim to be without sin,
we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins,
God is faithful and just
and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1.8-9

Heavenly Father,
you call us to repent of our sins:
soften our proud and stubborn hearts.

Lord, have mercy    
Lord, have mercy

Lord Jesus,
you declared the forgiveness of God:
teach us to forgive one another.

Christ, have mercy  
Christ, have mercy

Holy Spirit,
you search our hearts and show us the truth:
direct us in your way of righteousness.

Lord, have mercy    
Lord, have mercy

Absolution

Almighty God,
who in Jesus Christ has given us a kingdom that cannot be destroyed,
forgive us our sins,
open our eyes to God’s truth,
strengthen us to do God’s will
and give us the joy of his kingdom,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The Collect  

The president introduces a period of silent prayer with the words “let us pray” or a more specific bidding.
Almighty God,
purify our hearts and minds,
that when your Son Jesus Christ comes again
as judge and saviour
we may be ready to receive him,
who is our Lord and our God.
Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

Readings

At the end of each the reader may say
For the word of the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Isaiah 40.1–11  

Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins.
3 A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the Lord blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands for ever.”
9 You who bring good tidings to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”
10 See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
11
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young. [NIVa]

2 Peter 3.8–15a  

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom that God gave him. [NIVa]

Gospel Reading

Mark 1.1–8

The Gospel is announced then the reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark.
Glory to you, O Lord.

The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 It is written in Isaiah the prophet:
“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”—
3 “a voice of one calling in the desert,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ”
4 And so John came, baptising in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the Jordan River. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” [NIVa]

At the end

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.

Sermon

The Creed

Let us declare our faith in God, Father Son and Holy Spirit
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,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and 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,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who 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 of Intercession

There are no prayers included in this service, but please do pray. You may wish to pray now (you will need to pause the audio if you do) or do so after the Dismissal.

The prayers usually include these concerns
The Church of Christ
Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority
The local community
Those who suffer
The communion of saints

This week’s prayer resource is available here

The Lord’s Prayer

Awaiting his coming in glory,
as our Saviour taught us, so we pray…
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.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

¶ The Dismissal

The president uses a suitable blessing

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.