Services

Sunday December 10, 2017
Second Sunday of Advent

Prayer of the Day

Stir up our hearts, Lord God, to prepare the way of your only Son. By his coming strengthen us to serve you with purified lives; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11

In grand, flowing, poetic lines, the prophet announces that the exile of God’s people in Babylon is over. The Lord will deliver Israel and will care for her as a shepherd cares for his sheep. This word can be trusted, because the only enduring reality in life is the word of the Lord.

1Comfort, O comfort my people,
  says your God.
 2Speak 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.
 3A voice cries out:
 “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
  make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
 4Every 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.
 5Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
  and all people shall see it together,
  for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
 6A voice says, “Cry out!”
  And I said, “What shall I cry?”
 All people are grass,
  their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
  when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
  surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers, the flower fades;
  but the word of our God will stand forever.
9Get you up to a high mountain,
  O Zion, herald of good tidings;
 lift up your voice with strength,
  O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
  lift it up, do not fear;
 say to the cities of Judah,
  “Here is your God!”
10See, the Lord GOD comes with might,
  and his arm rules for him;
 his reward is with him,
  and his recompense before him.
11He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
  he will gather the lambs in his arms,
 and carry them in his bosom,
  and gently lead the mother sheep.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

 1You have been gracious to your land, O LORD;
  you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
 2You have forgiven the iniquity of your people
  and blotted out all their sins.
 8I will listen to what the LORD God is saying;
  for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their | hearts to you.
 9Truly, your salvation is very near to those who fear you,
  that your glory may dwell in our land.
 10Steadfast love and faithfulness have met together;
  righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
 11Faithfulness shall spring up from the earth,
  and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
 12The LORD will indeed grant prosperity,
  and our land will yield its increase.
 13Righteousness shall go before the LORD
  and shall prepare for God a pathway.

Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-15a

This short letter deals with pressing concerns regarding the final advent of Jesus, especially concerns that could arise over its apparent delay. The author of the letter calls on Christians to anticipate the promised coming of the Lord through conduct dedicated to God.

8Do 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. 9The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10But 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.
  11Since 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, 12waiting for and hastening 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? 13But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.
  14Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15aand regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Gospel: Mark 1:1-8
Glory to you, O Lord.

The Gospel of Mark does not begin with a story of Jesus’ birth but with the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord.

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
  2As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
 “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
  who will prepare your way;
 3the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
  make his paths straight,’ ”
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And 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. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He 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. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.