Fr Adrian offers a short address for the Third Sunday of Advent, 2020 - based on the Old Testament Lesson and Gospel of the day. As before the second Covid-19 lockdown, though now in Tier 2, we have returned to our interim pattern of Mass on Sundays (10 a.m.) and Thursdays (8:45 a.m.). We follow our normal Common Worship liturgy as closely as is safely practical given the current restrictions.
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▶ THE COLLECT ◀
O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
▶ THE OLD TESTAMENT LESSON (Isaiah 61.1-4, 8-end) ◀
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.
They shall build up the ancient ruins,
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.
For I the Lord love justice,
I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to spring up before all the nations.
▶ THE NEW TESTAMENT LESSON (I Thessalonians 5.16-24) ◀
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.
▶ THE GOSPEL (John 1.6-8,19-28) ◀
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ He said,
‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
“Make straight the way of the Lord” ’,
as the prophet Isaiah said.
Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
▶ POST COMMUNION PRAYER ◀
We give you thanks, O Lord, for these heavenly gifts;
kindle in us the fire of your Spirit
that when your Christ comes again
we may shine as lights before his face;
who is alive and reigns now and for ever. Amen.
▶ RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC WORSHIP ◀
At St Ambrose Church we are settling down to our interim pattern of Mass on Sundays (10 a.m. – livestreamed on Facebook) and Thursdays (8:45 a.m.). Tier 2 restrictions remain but we follow our normal Common Worship liturgy as closely as is safely practical. Following a safety audit with the Diocese of Winchester the Covid-19 measures we have adopted include:
· separate entrance and exit doors,
· sanitiser stations,
· an internal one-way system with floor signage,
· roped off rows,
· availability of facemasks (now mandatory unless exempted),
· recording everyone who visits for track-and-trace purposes (records kept for 21 days),
· a thermometer-gun,
· no offertory procession or collection,
· no congregational singing yet,
· the distribution of communion from the front of the nave,
· Communion in one kind only, the host being dropped into the communicant’s hand,
· books and leaflets quarantined for 72 hours after use, and
· no refreshments afterwards (socialising is best done outdoors, weather permitting).
Access to the church at other times is still possible by private arrangement with Fr Adrian on 01202 911569 or [email protected]