Tuesday 8 December

Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.

Readings (Click the links to see the readings)

Isaiah 40.1-11 | Ps 96.7-13 | Matthew 18.12-14

Lost Sheep
James Tennent Lyon (1836-1872). Stained glass of the parable of the lost sheep (1865).
Trinity Church, Irvine, Ayrshire, now in the Stained Glass Museum at Ely Cathedral, Cambridge.

The God We Hardly Knew
by Óscar Romero

No one can celebrate
a genuine Christmas
without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud,
those who, because they have
everything, look down on others,
those who have no need
even of God—for them there
will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone
to come on their behalf,
will have that someone.
That someone is God.
Emmanuel. God-with-us.
Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God.


God of Peace, when greed forgets compassion, when ideology forgets humanity, and when corruption forgets innocence, help us to remember your free gift of grace, your way of generosity and integrity of life. Enable us by your Spirit of Peace to live fully into the vision of your reign on earth as in heaven. (ABM)

A 1918 Victor recording by Harry McClaskey (Henry Burr 1882-1941) of the 1874 Ira Sankey hymn "The Ninety and Nine." (Matthew 18.12-14) —to verses by Elizabeth C. Clephane (Scotland, 1830-1869). Yes, it is schmaltzy! but an insight into popular religious music of just a century ago.

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold,
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold;
Away on the mountains wild and bare,
Away from the tender Shepherd's care.
"Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?"

But the Shepherd made answer: "This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep."

And all through the mountains, thunder-riven,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a cry to the gate of heaven,
"Rejoice! I have found My sheep!"
And the angels echoed around the throne,
"Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!"

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.

St Philip's Anglican Church, corner Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602