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Hymn
Long ago, prophets knew
Christ would come, born a Jew,
come to make all things new;
bear his people's burden,
freely love and pardon.
    Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
    sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
    When he comes,
    when he comes,
    who will make him welcome?

God in time, God in man,
this is God's timeless plan:
he will come, as a man,
born himself of woman,
God divinely human.

Mary, hail!  Though afraid,
she believed, she obeyed.
In her womb, God is laid:
till the time expected,
nurtured and protected,

Journey ends!  Where afar
Bethlem shines, like a star,
stable door stands ajar.
Unborn Son of Mary,
Saviour, do not tarry!
    Ring, bells, ring, ring, ring!
    sing, choirs, sing, sing, sing!
    Jesus comes!
    Jesus comes!
    We will make him welcome!

Words: Fred Pratt Green (1903–2000)

Readings: 

Isaiah 40: 1-11

Comfort, O comfort my people,
   says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
   and cry to her
that she has served her term,
   that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
   double for all her sins.
A voice cries out:
‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
   make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
   and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
   and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
   and all people shall see it together,
   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
A voice says, ‘Cry out!’
   And I said, ‘What shall I cry?’
All people are grass,
   their constancy is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
   when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
   surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades;
   but the word of our God will stand for ever.
Get you up to a high mountain,
   O Zion, herald of good tidings;
lift up your voice with strength,
   O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,
   lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
   ‘Here is your God!’
See, the Lord God comes with might,
   and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
   and his recompense before him.
He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
   he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
   and gently lead the mother sheep.

Psalm 85: 8-end
8.    I will listen to what the Lord God will say, for he shall speak peace to his people and to the faithful, that they turn not again to folly.
9.    Truly, his salvation is near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10.    Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other;
11.    Truth shall spring up from the earth  and righteousness look down from heaven.
12.    The Lord will indeed give all that is good, and our land will yield its increase.
13.    Righteousness shall go before him and direct his steps in the way.

Mark 1.1–8
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
   who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
   “Prepare the way of the Lord,
   make his paths straight” ’,
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Benedictus
Now bless the God of Israel who comes in love and power,
who raises from the royal house deliv’rance in this hour.
Through holy prophets God has sworn to free us from alarm,
to save us from the heavy hand of all who wish us harm.
 
Remembering the covenant, God rescues us from fear,
that we might serve in holiness and peace from year to year.
And you, my child, shall go before, to preach, to prophesy,
that all may know the tender love, the grace of God most high.
 
In tender mercy, God will send the dayspring from on high,
our rising sun, the light of life for those who sit and sigh.
God comes to guide our way to peace, that death shall reign no more.
Sing praises to the Holy One, O worship and adore.
 
To God the Father, fount of grace, through his beloved Son,
with God their Spirit, bond of love, be glory ever One.

Words:  Ruth Duck

Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent
Almighty God,
purify our hearts and minds,
that when your Son Jesus Christ comes again as
judge and saviour
we may be ready to receive him,
who is our Lord and our God.
Amen

Hymn
On Jordan's bank the Baptist's cry
    announces that the Lord is nigh;
awake and hearken, for he brings
    glad tidings from the King of kings.

Then cleansed be every breast from sin;
    make straight the way for God within;
prepare we in our hearts a home,
    where such a mighty guest may come.

For thou art our salvation, Lord,
    our refuge and our great reward;
without thy grace we waste away,
    like flowers that wither and decay.

To heal the sick stretch out thine hand,
    and bid the fallen sinner stand;
shine forth, and let thy light restore
    earth's own true loveliness once more.

All praise, eternal Son, to thee
    whose advent sets thy people free,
whom with the Father we adore,
    and Holy Ghost for evermore.

Words: Charles Coffin (1676–1749) translated by  John Chandler (1806–1876)


Copyright: Common Worship © The Archbishops' Council  © The Archbishops' Council 2000;
Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. 
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Hymns are reproduced under CCLI: 938092 and CCLI Streaming Licence 1001311