We give thanks to you Lord God almighty
ever present and eternal
for you have taken your great power
and begun to reign.
God of hope and joy,
you sent John the Baptist to announce the coming of your Son:
inspire all who serve in your Church
to prepare for his coming again
by turning us from disobedience
to your loving service;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen
READING from Zephaniah 3: 14-20
14 Sing and shout for joy, people of Israel! Rejoice with all your heart, Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has stopped your punishment; he has removed all your enemies. The Lord, the king of Israel, is with you; there is no reason now to be afraid.
19 “The time is coming! I will punish your oppressors; I will rescue all the lame and bring the exiles home. I will turn their shame to honour, and all the world will praise them.
20 The time is coming! I will bring your scattered people home; I will make you famous throughout the world and make you prosperous once again.”
THE GOSPEL according to Luke 3: 7-18
7John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
8 Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
9 Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?”
13 He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.”
14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”
16 John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
PRAYER for COVID
Lord of the ages, Covid still lingers on. We are protocol-focused and still grieving the losses of our beloveds. Some still resist the vaccine and variants continue to appear through mutation. Thank you for journeying with us with your healing presence and companionship, drawing us into compassionate community. Save us from our arrogance, so that we will soon be free from the oppression of this virus. Amen
Go now and rejoice in the Lord always.
Do not be afraid or worried about anything,
but in everything trust God and pray.
Bear fruits worthy of repentance,
sharing what you have and being gentle with all.
And the blessing of God, Creator, Redeemer, Life-giving Comforter, be with you always. Amen
Go in peace with courage, to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.