Advent 2 Sunday 4th December

Morning Service for Second Sunday in Advent from St. John’s – 4th December 2022

Before we start today’s service, there is a messages we would like you to read and pray about the Interregnum:-:

A meeting has been arranged for Tuesday 13th December for the Archdeacon to speak to the church representatives about the position following the lack of response to the last advertisement.

Thank you.


Second Candle – The Candle of Peace -The prophets who foretold the birth of Jesus

Light and peace, in Jesus Christ our Lord

All: Thanks be to God

Today is the Second Sunday of Advent and we will light the Candle of Peace.

Last Sunday we lit the First Candle in our Advent Wreath, and celebrated the patriarchs, this First Candle reminded us of our hope in Christ. We light it again as we remember our Saviour, born a king in the line of King David. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and we believe that he will come again to fulfil all of God’s promises to us, to rule the world wisely and bless all nations.

(A person lights the First Candle, the Candle of Hope)

Today we light the Second Candle of Advent, the Candle of Peace. We remember the prophets who spoke of the coming of Christ, of how a Saviour would be born, a king in the line of King David. The prophet Isaiah called Christ “the Prince of Peace”. They told us how he would rule the world wisely and bless all the nations.

When Jesus came he taught people the importance of being peace-makers. He said that those who make peace shall be called the children of God. When Christ comes to us he brings us peace and he will bring everlasting peace when he comes again. We light the Candle of Peace to remind us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and that through him peace is found.

(A person lights Second Candle, the Candle of Peace)

Peace is like a light shining in a dark place. As we look at this candle we celebrate the peace we find in Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: All: Lord Jesus, Light of the World, the prophets said you would bring peace and save your people from trouble. Give peace in our hearts at Christmastide. We ask that as we wait for you to come again, that you would remain present with us. Help us today, and every day to worship you, to hear your word, and to do your will by sharing your peace with each other. We ask it in the name of the one who was born in Bethlehem.


Hymn – On Jordan’s Bank 

  1. On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
    Announces that the Lord is nigh;
    Come, then, and hearken, for he brings
    Glad tidings from the King of kings!
  1. 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.
  1. For Thou art our Salvation, Lord,
    Our Refuge, and our great Reward.
    Without Thy grace our souls must fade
    And wither like a flower decayed.
  1. Stretch forth Thine hand, to heal our sore,
    And make us rise and fall no more;
    Once more upon Thy people shine,
    And fill the world with love divine.
  1. To Him Who left the throne of Heaven
    To save mankind, all praise be given;
    Like praise be to the Father done,
    And Holy Spirit, Three in One.
    (by Charles  Coffin, 1676-1749)

Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you

All: And also with you

Loving Lord,

Fill us with your life-giving,

joy-giving peace-giving presence,

That we may praise you now with our lips,

and all the day long with our lives

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Cast your burden upon the Lord

All: And he will sustain you

Create in us clean hearts, O God

All: And renew a right spirit within us

Cast us not away from your Presence

All: And take not your Holy Spirit from us

Give us the joy of your saving help

All: And sustain us with your life-giving Spirit

Blessed be the Lord day by day

All: The God of our salvation, who bears our burdens.


We have a moment of quiet, to call to mind the things we

Have thought, said and done which we know grieve the God

who loves us 

Come, let us return to the Lord and say: 

All: Almighty God

Long-suffering and of great goodness

I confess to you.

I confess with my whole heart

My neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments

My wrong doing, thinking and speaking:

The hurts I have done to others,

And the good I have left undone.

O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you;

And raise me to newness of life;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


May the God of love and power

Forgive us and free us from our sins,

Heal and strengthen us by his Spirit,

And raise us to new life in Christ our Lord.

All: Amen. 

We praise God for his love and forgiveness with:- 

Hymn – Guide me, O my great Jehovah

  1. Guide me, O my great Jehovah,
    pilgrim through this barren land;
    I am weak, but you are mighty;
    hold me with your powerful hand.
    Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
    feed me now and evermore,
    feed me now and evermore.
  1. Open now the crystal fountain,
    where the healing waters flow.
    Let the fire and cloudy pillar
    lead me all my journey through.
    Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
    ever be my strength and shield,
    ever be my strength and shield.
  1. When I tread the verge of Jordan,
    bid my anxious fears subside.
    Death of death, and hell’s Destruction,
    land me safe on Canaan’s side.
    Songs of praises, songs of praises
    I will ever sing to you,
    I will ever sing to you.
     (by William Williams – 1717 to 1791)

Our First Reading is taken from – Romans Chap: 15 

4 Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us.

5 And may God, the source of patience and encouragement, enable you to have the same point of view among yourselves by following the example of Christ Jesus,

6 so that all of you together may praise with one voice the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

7 Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ has accepted you.

8 For I tell you that Christ’s life of service was on behalf of the Jews, to show that God is faithful, to make his promises to their ancestors come true,

9 and to enable even the Gentiles to praise God for his mercy. As the scripture says, “And so I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to you.”

10 Again it says, “Rejoice, Gentiles, with God’s people!”

11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all Gentiles; praise him, all peoples!”

12 And again, Isaiah says, “A descendant of Jesse will appear; he will come to rule the Gentiles, and they will put their hope in him.”

13 May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is the word of the Christ

All: Praise to you oh Christ 

Our Second Reading is From – Matthew Chap 3

1 At that time John the Baptist came to the desert of Judea and started preaching.

2 “Turn away from your sins,” he said, “because the Kingdom of heaven is near!”

3 John was the man the prophet Isaiah was talking about when he said, “Someone is shouting in the desert, “Prepare a road for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel!’ ”

4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair; he wore a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

5 People came to him from Jerusalem, from the whole province of Judea, and from all over the country near the Jordan River.

6 They confessed their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan.

7 When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptized, he said to them, “You snakes – who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send?

8 Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins.

9 And don’t think you can escape punishment by saying that Abraham is your ancestor. I tell you that God can take these rocks and make descendants for Abraham!

10 The ax is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.

11 I baptize you with water to show that you have repented, but the one who will come after me will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He is much greater than I am; and I am not good enough even to carry his sandals.

12 He has his winnowing shovel with him to thresh out all the grain. He will gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.”

This is the word of the Christ

All: Praise to you oh Christ 


(Based on Matthew Chap: 3)

Last year my grandson and I went to see Michael Mc lntyre’s live show in Nottingham,  very good it was too, an evening to remember but it struck me that these big name performers don’t take risks, they normally have someone on the stage before their spot to ”warm” the audience up, to work the audience into a greater state of anticipation and excitement and that was the case here and a very good comic he was to,  he certainly did ‘warm us up’ for the big act.

Km afraid I just can’t help thinking of John the so-called “Baptist as Jesus warm up act,  someone to “warm up” the Israelite’s before Jesus started his ministry.

You couldn’t really be much else than secondary if the ministry of the Son of God is the main event. John’s job was essentially to prepare the people, the oppressed, subjugated of Israel under Roman rule, to prepare them a revolution, not a revolution, THE revolution.

Now, that is not to decry or trivialise John’s ministry – far from it. Just as Michael Mc lntyre’s warm up man had stuff listening to, so did John.

He had words to say that needed saying yet again.

Many prophets before him had had very similar messages from God to bring to bring to the straying people, messages that people had heard, and ignored, times and times before.

Many prophets before had declared that God’s Messiah, God’s immediate representative, would arrive in some way at some time in the future.

John’s message, however, was just a bit different.

He is telling the people the time is NOW,  the Messiah is coming NOW,  in these times, you will see for yourselves God’s Messiah!

You had best be ready to greet him because nothing will ever be quite the same again!.

Be ready to recognise him

Be ready to worship him.

Prepare by repenting of your sins.

Be baptised and wash those sins away.

I may be wrong, but I can’t think of any cinema film that stars John the Baptist. Jesus yes!

Plenty of films around and about him and John may appear in some of those but only as a bit part,- appearing early in the plot and fading off to obscurity.

John was well aware of his position in the order of things here.

At the height of his ministry, John was asked if HE was the Messiah.

John’s answer was emphatic –

“What? Me? The messiah? – absolutely no way. 

The Messiah is yet to come and I’m just preparing the way for him – you know -straightening paths and flattening hills,  that sort of thing -metaphorically of course but anything to make the coming of our Messiah really special. 

 Me? – I’m not worthy to even tie up the shoelaces of the One who is coming. 

Just do as I say and rejoice in what happens next – oh, and by the way, REPENT!!”

From what we’re told in the Bible, John himself must have been quite a sight to behold and to be with.

He is described as living alone in the wilderness, feeding on what he could find there and if I was to draw a picture of him out of my own imagination, I’m sure I would come up with a picture that looked remarkably like Marty Feldman, do you remember Marty Feldman, the comedian and scriptwriter who sadly died too early.

He made a thing of his appearance, wild, prominent eyes, hair all over the place, exaggerated body movements, off the wall comedy.

John is described similarly and with clothes made from camel hair, that sounds very itchy to me, and the bible points out too that he wore a leather belt,  I have no idea why that fact should get a special mention – a subject for discussion over coffee or tea later perhaps.

Anyway, John was an imposing and perhaps a little frightening character with a tough message to proclaim, nothing to make the crows comfortable with what he said -he called them sinners, backsliders, complacent wrong-thinkers, especially the Pharisees and Sadducees.

“Mend your ways,” he said, “Repent – the Kingdom of God is on its way. Put yourselves right with God before it’s too late.” 

No one could accuse John of holding on what he said.

No pious platitudes or words of comfort,  nothing but words of warning,  nothing at all to make the crowds feel at ease but even so, crowds there were and were reasonably receptive to his words to the extent that those who took those words to heart and did repent were baptised, they were washed in the Jordan waters of baptism as a physical symbol of their sins being washed away by God’s forgiving grace, just as the ceremony does to this day.

But even in that gesture of cleansing there was a forecast of what was yet to come.

“I baptise you with water but after me come One more powerful,  he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit”

John underlines the contrast between what he can offer as a mere mortal and what the coming Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah, the Saviour of the world will bring.

In this season of Advent, it is us who should be preparing in our hearts for the rejoicing we anticipate as we celebrate once again the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, the Christ, given to us to live among us.

We need to straighten our own crooked roads and level the mountains that prevent us from journeying onward so that we will be free to worship the Christ child once again.

God made man for all humankind.

Free to sing from the bottom of our hearts “0 come let us adore him, Christ the Lord”


HymnMake Way, Make Way, For Christ The King

Let us declare our faith in God.

All: We believe in God the Father,

From whom every family

In heaven and on earth is named.

We believe in God the Son

Who lives in our hearts through faith,

And fills us with his love.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit

Who strengthens us

With power from on high.

We believe in one God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


Prayers and Intercessions

We pray for God to fill us with his Spirit.

Generous God,

we thank you for the power of your Holy Spirit.

We ask that we may be strengthened to serve you better.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the wisdom of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to make us wise to understand your will.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the peace of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to keep us confident of your love wherever you call us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the healing of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to bring reconciliation and wholeness

where there is division, sickness and sorrow.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the gifts of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to equip us for the work which you have given us.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the fruit of your Holy Spirit.

We ask you to reveal in our lives the love of Jesus.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit.

We thank you for the breath of your Holy Spirit,

given us by the risen Lord.

We ask you to keep the whole Church, living and departed,

in the joy of eternal life.

Lord, come to bless us

All: and fill us with your Spirit. 

All: Generous God,

hear our prayer,

and make us one in heart and mind

to serve you with joy for ever.


We gather our thoughts and prayers in the words our Saviour gave us 

All: Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed by your name,

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

On earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread,

Forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, ‘

Now and for ever.


Hymn – I the Lord of Sea and Sky

Closing Prayer

God of hope
be with us in our Advent journey
to the stable and beyond,
be with us in our meeting
and in our travelling together,
be with us in our worship
and our praying together,
be with us in our Advent journey
to the stable and beyond,
our God of hope..

All: Amen.

Hymn Be Thou my vision

  1. Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
    naught be all else to me, save that thou art.
    Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
    waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
  1. Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word;
    I ever with thee, and thou with me, Lord.
    Born of thy love, thy child may I be,
    thou in me dwelling and I one with thee.
  1. Be thou my buckler, my sword for the fight.
    Be thou my dignity, thou my delight,
    thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower.
    Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
  1. Riches I heed not, nor vain empty praise;
    thou mine inheritance, now and always.
    Thou and thou only, first in my heart,
    Ruler of heaven, my treasure thou art.
  1. “True Light of heaven, when victory is won
    may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun!
    Heart of my heart, whatever befall,
    still be my vision, O Ruler of all

The Lord bless us, and preserve us from all evil

And keep us in eternal life. 

All: Amen

© 702211.