O God of every nation, of every race and land,
Redeem the whole creation with your almighty hand;
Where hate and fear divide us and bitter threats are hurled,
In love and mercy guide us and heal our strife-torn world.
God of Elizabeth and Mary:
Make our hearts leap with joy,
Fill our mouths with songs of praise
And make us ready to welcome the Christ
in our midst;
Who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
in God in glory everlasting. Amen
READING from Micah 5: 2-5a
2 The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.”
3 So the Lord will abandon his people to their enemies until the woman who is to give birth has her son. Then those Israelites who are in exile will be reunited with their own people.
READING from Hebrews 10: 5-10
5 For this reason, when Christ was about to come into the world, he said to God: “You do not want sacrifices and offerings, but you have prepared a body for me.
6 You are not pleased with animals burned whole on the altar or with sacrifices to take away sins.
7 Then I said, ‘Here I am, to do your will, O God, just as it is written of me in the book of the Law.’”
THE GOSPEL according to Luke 1: 39-45
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,
40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit
42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.
45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
“My heart praises the Lord;
my soul is glad because of God my Saviour,
for he has remembered me, his lowly servant!
From now on all people will call me happy,
because of the great things the Mighty God has done for me.
God’s name is holy;
from one generation to another,
he shows mercy to those who honour him.
He has stretched out his mighty arm
and scattered the proud with all their plans.
He has brought down mighty kings from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has kept the promise he made to our ancestors,
and has come to the help of his servant Israel.
He has remembered to show mercy to Abraham
and to all his descendants forever!”
Go now, with your hope in God’s mercy
for all God has promised you will be fulfilled.
Trust God’s strength for your safety,
walk in the ways of peace,
and be ready to greet the coming Lord.
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.