Advent Three, Year B

Musical Reflection
I See Who You Are by Bjork

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Invocation

Lord of light,
who sent the Baptist
to offer hope and face the world’s scorn:
open our ears to hear
the cries from the margins,
exposing our fears,
inciting our vision
and calling us to a step of faith;
through Jesus Christ, the one who is to come.
Amen.

First Reading
Why We Are Truly a Nation
by William Matthews
Because we rage inside
the old boundaries,
like a young girl leaving the Church,
scared of her parents.
Because we all dream of saving
the shaggy, dung-caked buffalo,
shielding the herd with our bodies.
Because grief unites us,
like the locked antlers of moose
who die on their knees in pairs.

Second Reading
I Am

by Ava Schicke
I am a daughter and a sister.
I wonder when I will die.
I hear the warm weather coming.
I see stars in the day.
I want to learn my whole ballet dance.
I am a daughter and a sister.
I pretend to be a teacher at home.
I feel like I am a teacher.
I touch hands that are growing.
I worry that I will never change.
I cry when something or someone dies.
I am a daughter and a sister.
I understand that teachers work hard for students.
I say that I don’t like bullies.
I dream about me not moving while trying really hard to run.
I try to become a good friend.
I hope that there is no more dying or killing.
I am a daughter and a sister.
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Gospel Reading
John 1:6-8, 19-28
A person named John was sent from God. He came as a witness to testify concerning the Light, so that through his testimony everyone would believe in the Light. He himself wasn’t the Light, but his mission was to testify concerning the Light – the true Light that illumines all humankind.

This is John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him, “Who are you?”

John confessed (he didn’t deny but confessed), “I’m not the Christ.”

They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

John said, “I’m not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

John answered, “No.”

They asked, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

John replied,

I am a voice crying out in the wilderness,
    Make the Lord’s path straight,
just as the prophet Isaiah said.”

Those sent by the Pharisees asked, “Why do you baptize if you aren’t the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

John answered, “I baptize with water. Someone greater stands among you, whom you don’t recognize. I’m not worthy to untie the sandal straps of the One who comes after me.” This encounter took place across the Jordan in Bethany where John was baptizing.

Musical Reflection
To Know Him is to Love Him by Amy Winehouse

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Prayer
by St Ignatius of Loyola

O Christ Jesus
When all is darkness
And we feel our weakness and helplessness,
Give us the sense of your Presence,
Your Love and your Strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
In your protecting love
And strengthening power,
So that nothing may frighten or worry us,
For, living close to you,
We shall see your hand,
Your purpose, your will through all things.
Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer

Eternal Spirit,
Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,
Source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother, Parent of us all,
Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and testing, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,
now and for ever. Amen.

Musical Reflection
We Are What You Say by Sufjan Stevens

Blessing

May the God who brings heaven close to earth
give truth to our judgement
and flame to our longing
that our hearts might be ready
to be born again in love;

and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Holy Parent, the Holy Child, and the Holy Spirit,
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

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Sources:

Artwork by Aliza Razell

Invocation and Blessing from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection I See Who You Are by Bjork

Poem Why We Are Truly a Nation by William Matthews

Poem I Am by Ava Schicke

Musical Reflection To Know Him is to Love Him by Amy Winehouse

Prayer by St Ignatius of Loyola

Lord’s Prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book

Musical Reflection We Are What You Say by Sufjan Stevens

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