Weekly Church Service – Third Sunday of Advent: 13 December 2020


Bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, the day of vengeance of our God.  Isaiah 61:1-2


Eternal God,

you sent John the Baptist

to prepare the way for the coming of your Son:

grant us wisdom to see your purpose

and openness to hear your will,

that we too may prepare the way for Christ

who is coming in power and glory

to establish his rule of peace and justice;

through Jesus Christ our Judge and our Redeemer

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, 

one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


  • Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
  • Song of Mary
  • 1 Thess 5:12-28
  • John 1:6-8, 19-28

next week

  • 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
  • Psalm 89:1-4, 19-27
  • Romans 16:25-27
  • Luke 1:26-38

A Thought to Ponder

Advent 3 John 1:6-8, 19-28

[John] came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might belief through him.

God has revealed himself to his people through the incarnation of his Word, Jesus the Christ. In today’s Gospel, John the Baptiser points to this revelation as standing “among you whom you do not recognise.”  

Forms of “baptism” were common in the Judaism of Gospel times – in some Jewish communities, it was through baptism rather than circumcision that a Gentile became a Jew.  But John’s baptism was distinctive: His baptism at the Jordan was a rite of repentance and metanoia, a conversion of heart and spirit. The Baptiser’s ministry fulfilled the promise of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36: 25-26): that, at the dawn of a new age, the God of Israel would purify his people from their sins with clear water and instil in them a new heart and spirit.

Light is the central image of today’s Gospel: John proclaims the coming of the Messiah as the light who will shatter the darkness that envelops our world, the light who illuminates our vision with compassion and justice.  

The coming of Christ calls us to the work of making a straight road for him, of transforming the barren deserts around us into harvests of justice and peace, of reflecting the light of his forgiveness and mercy in our midst. We are all called to this kind of “prophetic” work begun by John at the Jordan River: to use whatever skills and resources we possess to bring hope into prisons of despair, joy into deserts of sadness, love into broken hearts and spirits of stone. 

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