Gracious Father, by the obedience of Jesus you brought salvation to our wayward world: draw us into harmony with your will, that we may find all things restored in him, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Merciful Lord,whose prophet John the Baptistproclaimed your Son as the Lamb of Godwho takes away the sin of the world:grant that we who in this sacramenthave known your forgiveness and your life-giving love may ever tell of your mercy and your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Old Testament Isaiah 40: 1-11Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.A voice of one calling: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will 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 like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures for ever.’You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout,lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God!’ See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.For the Epistle Acts 13: 14b-26Gospel Luke 1. 57-66, 80When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neigh-bours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, ‘No! He is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘There is no one among your relatives who has that name.’ Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, ‘His name is John.’ Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. All the neighbours were filled with awe, and through-out the hill country of Judea people were talking about all these things. Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, ‘What then is this child going to be?’ For the Lord’s hand was with him. And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.