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Intercessions for 3rd Sunday of Advent Year B – 14 December 2014

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The Collect

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. Amen.

¶ The Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: Isaiah 61.1-4,8-11

The servant of the Lord said:

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 broken-hearted,  to proclaim liberty to the captives,  and release to the prisoners;  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, 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.

Psalm 126

Refrain: The Lord has indeed done great things for us.

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, *then were we like those who dream.
Then was our mouth filled with laughter *and our tongue with songs of joy.
Then said they among the nations, *‘The Lord has done great things for them.’
The Lord has indeed done great things for us, *and therefore we rejoiced. R
Restore again our fortunes, O Lord, * as the river beds of the desert.
Those who sow in tears * shall reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed, * will come back with shouts of joy, bearing their sheaves with them.

Refrain: The Lord has indeed done great things for us.

 

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5.16-24

My brothers and sisters, 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.

 

Gospel Reading: John 1.6-8,19-28

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.

Today is Gaudete Sunday. ‘Despite the otherwise sombre readings of the season of Advent, which has as a secondary theme the need for penitence, the readings on the third Sunday emphasize the joyous anticipation of the Lord’s coming.’

 Prayers of Intercession

The following is again suggested by Visual Liturgy:

In joyful expectation of his coming to our aid we pray to Jesus.

Come to your Church as Lord and judge. We pray for …
Help us to live in the light of your coming
and give us a longing for your kingdom.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to your world as King of the nations. We pray for …
Before you rulers will stand in silence.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to the suffering as Saviour and comforter. We pray for …
Break into our lives, where we struggle with sickness and distress,
and set us free to serve you for ever.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come to us as shepherd and guardian of our souls. We remember …
Give us with all the faithful departed
a share in your victory over evil and death.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Come from heaven, Lord Jesus, with power and great glory.
Lift us up to meet you, that with [N and] all your saints and angels
we may live and reign with you in your new creation.
Maranatha: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Silence is kept.

Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay; give new courage to your people,
who trust in your love. By your coming, raise us to share in the joy of your kingdom
on earth as in heaven, where you live and reign with the Father and the Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.


 

Let us pray to the source of all light and life.

¶The Church of Christ

Lord, renew our hope for the building of your kingdom on earth and lead the Church home.  Restore the years that we have lost, that have been eaten by locusts. Through you, may we shatter even the bars of iron that impede our progress. Even when we feel locked in confrontation, despairing, move secretly within us and among us so that, without realising it, we find that we are, in fact, reconciled and moving forward on our journey to your celestial city. *

Lord, help us not to quench your Spirit : in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶Creation, human society, the Sovereign and those in authority

Lord, guide the nations of our world so that all people may be enabled to sing for joy. Bring good news to the oppressed, bind up the broken-hearted and proclaim liberty to the captives. Remember those who carry on the difficult work of peace-making. You who bring hope out of emptiness and energy out of fear, comfort all those who have lost their homes through persecution, war, exile or deliberate destruction. Bless them with beauty instead of ashes, and instead of a spirit of despair a garment of unending praise.

Lord, help us not to quench your Spirit : in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The local community

Lord, bless to a rich harvest all the signs of hope and growth in our community. May we so respect and love our neighbours, whose lives are linked to us both by physical proximity and by shared goals, that we do not fail in our loyalty to you above all, choosing each step along the path according to your will for us and those we live amongst.

Lord, help us not to quench your Spirit : in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶Those who suffer

Lord, bring hope and comfort to those who are imprisoned in their own despair and pain. Comfort and raise up to new life those whose hearts are broken by sorrow. Teach us the art of patience when we are well and give us the use of it when we are sick. Grant in your mercy that our pain may be free from waste and rebellion, that it does not turn us in our ourselves. Rather teach us to be aware of that great sea of consciousness of which we are part, members one of another in your name.

Lord, help us not to quench your Spirit : in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

¶The communion of saints

Lord, we give thanks for all who have passed from this world and touched us with your fire. For all those who live beside us, whose weaknesses and strengths are woven with our own, we praise you. For all the saints who live beyond us and who challenge us to change the world with them, we give you thanks.

Lord, help us not to quench your Spirit : in your mercy, hear our prayer.

* This section of the intercessions is based on Jim Cotter’s reflections on Psalm 126 in Out of the Silence

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):
Invitation to Confession (1st Sun. of Advent to Christmas Eve) © 1988 Continuum (Mowbray) (Adapted)Some material included in this service is copyright: © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2000 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Archbishops’ Council 2002 Some material included in this service is copyright: © The Crown/Cambridge University Press: The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

 

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