Second Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday we hear that the Lord is like a refining fire; God’s messenger will prepare the way (Malachi 3:1-4). In Luke, we hear Zechariah’s song: Blessed is the Lord God, who has come to save us (Luke 1:68-79). Paul writes that the work that God has begun will be completed at Christ’s coming (Philippians 1:3-11). Also from Luke, in the wilderness John cries out: Prepare the way of the Lord (Luke 3:1-6).

Lectionary Readings

Malachi 3:1-4

1 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?

For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Luke 1:68-79

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
78 By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Philippians 1:3-11

3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Luke 3:1-6

1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
5 Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Luke 3:4-6

The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

Let us worship the Lord.

Prayer of the Day

Based on Philippians 3:6, 9-11

Sovereign God,
we know that you, who began a good work among us,
will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
May our love overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight
to help us to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ
we may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Luke 1:68-73

Remembering the prophecy of Zechariah,
brothers and sisters, what is it that we believe…

We believe that the Lord God of Israel
looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
We believe he raised up his Son, Jesus Christ,
a mighty savior in the house of David,
just as he spoke through the prophets of old.
We believe God saved his people from their enemies,
showed them the mercy promised to their ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham.

We believe he raised up John the Baptist,
the prophet of the Most High;
who went before the Lord to prepare his ways,
and to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
We believe that by the tender mercy of God,
the dawn from on high broke upon his people,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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