Third Sunday of Advent
14 December 2014
THIS MORNING'S MUSIC OF PRAISE:
451 (v 1, 4), 639, Ps 126, 654, 315, 434.
FIRST BIBLE READING:
Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11
'The good news of God's deliverance' (NRSV)
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion - to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
SECOND BIBLE READING:
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-24
'Ready for the coming of the Lord' (NRSV)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
John 1: 6-8, 19-28
'He who comes after me stands among you' (NRSV)
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?" He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah." And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No." Then they said to him,
"Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?" He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,'" as the prophet Isaiah said. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
They asked him, "Why then are you baptising if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?" John answered them, "I baptise with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal."
This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptising.
NOTES ON THE READINGS:
ISAIAH 61: 1-4, 8-11:
The original setting of this reading is that of the suffering servant of God, namely the people of Judah as captive slaves in Babylon. Just like the general proclamation of release for debtors in the Jubilee year of ancient Israel (every seven years), so God's people could now look forward to freedom and release soon to come from their Babylonian masters. Our Lord quoted this section at the outset of his career as both the suffering servant and the Messiah who would bring full release for all by his own redemptive work.
The freedom he has brought for the 'down-trodden', and the 'captive', and 'those that mourn' lies in the full forgiveness which establishes a righteousness and praise in spiritual terms. This can indeed be seen through faith and its fruitful action in 'all the nations'.
1 THESSALONIANS 5: 16-24:
In this closing advice of the letter, Paul points the Thessalonian Christians to ways in which their preparedness for the second coming of the Lord can be strengthened. Rejoicing, praying and giving thanks all come under God' s will in order for us to remain faithful. Repressing the truthful hearing of his word extinguishes the Spirit's fire! Criticism of the 'word' - or its 'preacher' - are meant only for establishing the saving truth. God will remain true to his promise to effect full and final holiness in us if we remain simply within the framework of his own directions for faith and life.
JOHN 1: 6-8,19-28:
John with his radical dress, diet and message was drawing tremendous interest from all of Judea. His all-consuming mission was that all might come to know and believe in the coming one. He announced the coming light, which of course presumes the presence of sin's darkness that would be overcome. In answer to the Pharisees' questions, John asserted that he himself was not one of the popularly expected forerunners (Elijah, Moses) or even the Messiah himself. John was merely the forerunner or herald, a voice in the wilderness. His baptism with water was important and authoritative only insofar as it led to the 'one standing among you whom you do not know', whose worthiness is inestimable.
Bible readings for Sunday 21st December 2014:
Proverbs 8:1-11, 22-31, Exodus 3:1-6 & 19:9, 16-20,
Isaiah 11:1-5, Isaiah 22:20-23, Numbers 24:14-17,
Jeremiah 30:7-11, Matthew 1:18-23
5. Lutheran Media:
(The Christmas edition of Lutheran Media - Communicating Christ is available from member's church boxes to take home this morning).
This week in the Lord's Service - 14th - 21st December:
1. Tuesday - 12.30 pm – Kaffeestunde.
Friday - 6.30 pm - YPQ&A.
Saturday - 10.00 am - 11.00 am - 'Sing - along' time. 11.00 am to 12 noon - Choir practice.
Next Sunday - 9.30 am - Public Divine service - (With Holy- Communion).
Parents please note: also Sunday School.
2. Christmas Services:
Christmas Eve (24th December) - 7.30 pm. - Reading and Choral service.
Christmas Day (25th December.) - 9.30 am with H.C.
Sunday 28th December - 9.30 am.
3. L.L.L. Interest Rate Change:
Our congregation has received a 'LLL interest rate change', notice informing that the interest rate on LLL interest bearing savings accounts will be
3.25% from 1 December 2014. This has been placed on the notice board near kitchen for the information of members.
4. L.L.L. 2013/14 Annual Report:
The LLL 2013/14 Annual Report and 'Together in Mission' booklet that were handed out to members on Sunday 30th November can also be downloaded
from the LLL website at www.lll.org.au/resources
5. 'Grassroots' Training 2015:
Further notice is given of a series of workshop training available , focusing on 'Spiritual Resilience' and 'Equipping for Leadership' to be held at St
Paul's Lutheran Church, Box Hill in early March.
Other subjects are 'Toolkit for Ministry' and ,'Building Healthy Relationships', being held in South Australia and Queensland. For those interested,
further information is available from the notice board near kitchen.
Coming up for your diary:
Friday 6th February - 9.30 am - Worship Team.
Tuesday 10th February - 7.00 pm Church Council
Sunday 15th February - A.G.M.- (after worship)
Wednesday 18th February - 11.00 am Lenten mid - week worship service with Holy Communion,
followed by fellowship afternoon tea. All welcome!!