Sentence: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news. Mark 1:15
Collect: God of all peoples, whose servant John came baptising and calling for repentance: help us to hear his voice of judgement, that we may also rejoice in his word of promise, and be found pure and blameless in that glorious Day when Christ comes to rule the earth as Prince of Peace; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A reading from the Prophet Isaiah 11:1-10
1A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. 2The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him – the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord – 3and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; 4but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 5Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash round his waist. 6The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8The infant will play near the cobra’s den, the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. 9They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
****** Psalm : 72:1-7, 18-21 (Page 294) ******
A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans 15:4-13
4For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. 5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 8For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed 9and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.’ 10Again, it says, ‘Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.’ 11And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles; let all the peoples extol him.’ 12And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.’ 13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel according to St Matthew, Chapter 3: 1.-12
1In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 3This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.”’ 4John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt round his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the River Jordan. 7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptising, he said to them: ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not think you can say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10The axe has been laid to the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. 11‘I baptise you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.’