Sunday 16th December – 3rd Sunday of Advent
God for whom we watch and wait, you sent John the Baptist to prepare the way of your Son: give us courage to speak the truth, to hunger for justice, and to suffer for the cause of right, with Jesus Christ our Lord.
As a corporal act of mercy, please offer the following topics for prayer this week:
- Diocese of Southwell & Nottingham, Borg (Norway), Divu (Rwanda) and all their Archbishops, Bishops and clergy.
- Justin our Archbishop, John our Bishop, Graham the Bishop of Dudley, for Nikki our Archdeacon, Andrew our Rural Dean, Sue our Curate-in-Charge/Priest, for the Clergy, Readers and Layminsters of the Stourbridge Deanery, our ALM Team and visiting Clergy, the Church Wardens of our group of Churches; our Musical Directors, Organists and Choir, and our Administrators Christine & Chrissy.
- The homes and families of: Dark Lane, Belbroughton; Clatterbach, Clent; Swan Lane, Fairfield
- Lenny’s • Residents and staff of Breach House
We pray for those suffering in body, mind or spirit; may they know your presence alongside them in their time of need, including: Felicity Willows, Peter Woollaston, Glynn Ashman, Marilyn Hiscock, Ted Anstey
We pray, for those mourning the death of loved ones especially for the family and friends of Len Hollyhead, Ursula Strong, Ernest Lane, Bill Carter
COLLECT FOR THE WEEK
O Lord Jesus Christ, who at your first coming sent your messenger to prepare your way before you: grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries may likewise so prepare and make ready your way by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at your second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in your sight; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
First Reading: Zephaniah 3.14-20
Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! 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. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. 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 as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it. 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. 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.
Second Reading: Philippians 4.4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Gospel Reading: Luke 3.7-18
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? Bear 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. Even 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.’ And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even taxcollectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ Soldiers 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.’ As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John 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. His 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.’ So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people.
This is the Gospel of the Lord