Merciful God, who sent thy messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
First Lesson: Baruch 5:1-9
Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; and put on the splendor of glory from God forever.
Wrapped in the cloak of justice from God, bear on your head the mitre that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor; you will be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of God's worship.
Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights; look to the east and see your children gathered from the east and the west at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away by their enemies they left you: but God will bring them back to you borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded that every mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree have overshadowed Israel at God's command.
For God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory, with his mercy and justice for company.
Second Lesson: Philippians 1:1-11
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseersA and deacons:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.
Gospel: Luke 3:1-6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar--when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene-- during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: "A voice of one calling in the desert,
'Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.
Every valley shall be filled in,
every mountain and hill made low.
The crooked roads shall become straight,
the rough ways smooth.
And all mankind will see God's salvation.'"
Collect & Psalm from the Book of Common Prayer
Other excerpts from the New International Bible