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Worship Sheet for Sunday 13 December – 3rd Sunday in Advent – Who are you?

John the Baptist caused people problems in several ways. One was that folk just didn’t know who he was. To keep himself (and Jesus) safe for longer, he told people who he WASN’T and really left them to join the dots. Perhaps we could say he was the one to point people to Jesus – as are we!
Call: We gather in love, we gather in hope, we gather as we are, to praise God and bear witness to the light shining through all darkness. Let us come as one people, one body, united in Christ. Let us come together and worship.
Candle We light our third advent candle - Jesus said No one more important than John the Baptist has ever been born; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than him. Come soon, Lord Jesus.
We sing: John the Baptist by his preaching and by water poured, brought to those who heard his teaching news of hope restored: Keep your vision strong and steady, and be ready for the Lord.

Mini Service Video https://youtu.be/S2tPyARDugA
 Read or Print the Mini service by clicking on this link  
Listen to the Mini Service by clicking on the Sound bar below

Listen to the 1st Prayer

Pray: Lord, often people ask questions, not to get an answer but to try to catch people out – so it was with John. Help us to learn from him that we can be honest and true yet at the same time alert to those who seek to undermine the faith. Remind us that Jesus is always to be given prime place and that we need to be ready to step out of the limelight all the while pointing others to him. Thank you Lord for this advent season and the reminder that Jesus is still the light of the world, the one who ushers in your kingdom of love. Forgive us all our shortcomings, make us patient with others and eager and open to follow the paths of righteousness where you long to lead us. Hear us as we pray together saying: Our Father…

Read or print the Passage for the week by clicking this link:
John 1:6-8, 19-28. A voice crying in the desert…
Listen to the passage by clicking on the Sound bar below
Sermon Video https://youtu.be/ExPgOBgfsnk 
Read or Print the Sermon by clicking this link            
Listen to the Sermon by Clicking the Sound Bar below

Thought: Advent is a time of preparation and there is no doubt that John had an important role in preparing the way for Jesus. Not in the sense of an advance party making bookings and lining up speaking engagements, nor a transition like the Americans do for an incoming president but in a spiritual sense – preparing hearts and minds to be open to Jesus and his message of faith and repentance. He lived in trying times and many were out to undermine his message (as they would Jesus’) but John was wise enough in a worldly sense not to drop himself in it. He avoids a number of key questions which were intended to catch him out and render him liable to arrest, even death – so he would not be drawn on the Messiah. He said what he was NOT – not the light, not the Messiah. He left people to make up their own mind but it was clear that his real role was to prepare the way for the Messiah, and although he didn’t say that was Jesus – his meaning was clear. His task was to point people to Jesus – and bottom line that is our task too!

Praise: CH4 291 When out of poverty (all three verses)
Read or Print Hymn CH4 291 by clicking this link
Listen to the Hymn by Clicking the Sound Bar below
Listen to the 2nd Prayer

Pray: Lord, is there light at the end of the tunnel? Is there a glimmer of hope that there be some earthly joy at Christmas as well as the birth of your Son? Perhaps a glimmer of hope, with news of vaccines, that come spring, we might see the back of virus restrictions? It’s a bit ahead yet, and there are still dark days to be endured but there is hope. Lord, perhaps that’s a picture of where we are with Jesus and your kingdom – glimmers, signals, signs, indications that your kingdom of love and grace is breaking into our world, your world in 2020 and beyond – into our dark streets, your light is beginning to shine, Jesus’ love is percolating through. May we be agents of light, of promise, of hope to our neighbours, to the world at large – that all is not darkness drear, but we can point to Jesus and the hope he brings. Make that apparent in the way we think, speak and act and build capacity in people’s hearts to take it in. Hear our prayers for all near and far who are heavy of heart, troubled, sad or otherwise in need of encouragement, love or hope. Bless our congregation as well others as we seek different ways to reach out to our community with the joyful message of Christmas, of Jesus and his love. In our prayer walk we remember those in Alfred Street and Russell Street.

SILENCE

Lord hear our prayers spoken and unspoken and answer them for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Blessing: May the Lord bless you. Amen.