The Second Sunday of Advent, 4 December

Antiphon: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.


The Shrine of John the Baptist in the Umayyad Mosque, (The Great Mosque of Damascus) which purportedly houses his head.

The Lord Will Come and not be Slow
John Milton

The Lord will come and not be slow,
his footsteps cannot err;
before him righteousness shall go,
his royal harbinger.

Truth from the earth, like to a flower,
shall bud and blossom then;
and justice, from her heavenly bower,
look down on mortal men.

Surely to such as do him fear
salvation is at hand!
And glory shall ere long appear
to dwell within our land.

Rise, God, judge thou the earth in might,
this wicked earth redress;
for thou art he who shalt by right
the nations all possess.

The nations all whom thou hast made
shall come, and all shall frame
to bow them low before thee, Lord,
and glorify thy Name.

For great thou art, and wonders great
by thy strong hand are done:
thou in thy everlasting seat
remainest God alone.

Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Saviour by the preaching of repentance: lead us to repent according to his preaching and, after his example, constantly to speak the truth, boldly to rebuke evil, and patiently to suffer for the truth's sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Isaiah 11:1-10

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Psalm 72

1. Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2. May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
3. May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.
4. May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
5. May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6. May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.
7. In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

. . .
18. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
19. Blessed be his glorious name for ever; may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.

Romans 15:4-13

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written,: ‘Therefore I will confess* you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name’; and again he says: ‘Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people’; and again :‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him’; and again Isaiah says: ‘The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:1-12

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said: ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." ’

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

Chorale: Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren from J. S. Bach. Cantata - Ihr Menschen, rühmet Gottes Liebe. [Ye mortals, praise ye God's devotion] BWV 167. Composed for the Feast of St John the Baptist. (1723). Monteverdi Choir, cond. John Eliot Gardiner.

Sei Lob und Preis mit Ehren
Gott Vater, Sohn, Heiligem Geist!
Der woll in uns vermehren,
Was er uns aus Genad verheißt,
Dass wir ihm fest vertrauen,
Gänzlich verlassn auf ihn,
Von Herzen auf ihn bauen,
Dass unsr Herz, Mut und Sinn
Ihm festiglich anhangen;
Darauf singn wir zur Stund:
Amen, wir werdns erlangen,
Gläubn wir aus Herzens Grund.

Now laud and praise with honour
God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
May he in us add measure
To what he us in mercy pledged,
That we may firmly trust him,
Entirely rest on him;
Sincere on him depending
May our heart, mind and will
Steadfast to him be cleaving;
To this now let us sing:
Amen, we shall achieve it,
This is our heart’s firm faith.

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
Prepared by Dr Brian McKinlay