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Advent 3 – 16 December 2018

Students with their instruments during a music lesson. © St Peter’s Bible School, 2018.
Students with their instruments during a music lesson. © St Peter’s Bible School, 2018.

Zephaniah 3.14-20

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
     shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
     O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgements against you,
     he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
     you shall fear disaster no more. 
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
     do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
     a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
     he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
     as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
     so that you will not bear reproach for it. 
I will deal with all your oppressors
     at that time.
And I will save the lame
     and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
     and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you home,
     at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
     among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes
     before your eyes, says the Lord.


A Song of Isaiah

‘Behold, God is my salvation:
I will trust and will not be afraid;

‘For the Lord God is my strength and my song:
and has become my salvation.’

With joy you will draw water:
from the wells of salvation.

On that day you will say:
‘Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name;

‘Make known his deeds among the nations:
proclaim that his name is exalted.

‘Sing God’s praises, who has triumphed gloriously:
let this be known in all the world.

‘Shout and sing for joy, you that dwell in Zion:
for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.’


Philippians 4.4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


HYMN: Hills of the North, Rejoice

Tune: Little Cornard Composer: Martin Shaw 1875-1958
Sung by the Huddersfield Choral Society

1. Hills of the north, rejoice;

     River and mountain-spring,

Hark to the advent voice;

     Valley and lowland, sing;

Christ comes in righteousness and love,

He brings salvation from above.


2. Isles of the southern seas,

     Sing to the listening earth

Carry on every breeze,

     Hope of a world’s new birth:

In Christ shall all be made anew,

His word is sure, his promise true.


3. Lands of the East, arise,

     He is your brightest morn,

Greet him with joyous eyes,

     Praise shall his path adorn:

The God, whom you have longed to know,

In Christ draws near and calls you now.

4. Shores of the utmost West,

     Lands of the setting sun,

Welcome the heavenly guest

     In whom the dawn has come:

He brings a never-ending light

Who triumphed o’er our darkest night.


5. Shout, as you journey home,

     Songs be in every mouth,

Lo, from the North they come,

     From East and West and South:

In Jesus all shall find their rest,

In him the universe be blest.


Words: Charles Oakley, 1870, alt.


Luke 3.7-18

John said to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin 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.’ And the crowds asked him, ‘What then should we do?’ In reply he said to them, ‘Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.’ Even tax-collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, ‘Teacher, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.’ Soldiers also asked him, ‘And we, what should we do?’ He said to them, ‘Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.’ As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’ So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. 


Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent

Gaudete Sunday! The third Sunday in Advent is one of joy with its continuous refrain, Rejoice! The coming is near. We are more than half-way there. Salvation is at hand. As we light the rose-coloured candle on the Advent Wreath and, in some places, don our rose-coloured vestments, we are transported to a new vision, one that is seen through rose-coloured glasses!

  • Pray with an open and joyful heart that Christ’s coming will herald a time of peace for all nations. Rejoice!
  • Pray for the Church of the Province of Central Africa, giving thanks for the work they do to further God’s mission in the world.

Written by The Rev Laurette Glasgow, Special Advisor for Government Relations for the Anglican Church of Canada and the Diocese of Ottawa © Anglican Board of Mission, 2015


ANTHEM: Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion (from Messiah)

Composer: G F Handel 1685-1759
Sung by Helen-Jane Howells

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is the righteous Saviour, and he shall speak peace unto the heathen.

Words: from Zechariah 9:9–10