November 30, 2017

Advent and Christmas (RCL Year B)


Psalm 80:1-7

1Shepherd of Israel, you lead

the descendants of Joseph,

and you sit on your throne

above the winged creatures.

Listen to our prayer

and let your light shine

2for the tribes of Ephraim,

Benjamin, and Manasseh.

Save us by your power.

3Our God, make us strong again!

Smile on us and save us.

4LORD God All-Powerful,

how much longer

will the prayers of your people

make you angry?

5You gave us tears for food,

and you made us drink them

by the bowlful.

6Because of you,

our enemies who live nearby

laugh and joke about us.

7But if you smile on us,

we will be saved.

Psalm 80:17-19

17But help the one who sits

at your right side,

the one you raised

to be your own.

18Then we will never turn away.

Put new life into us,

and we will worship you.

19LORD God All-Powerful,

make us strong again!

Smile on us and save us.

Zechariah 13:1-9

1In the future there will be a fountain, where David's descendants and the people of Jerusalem can wash away their sin and guilt.

2The LORD All-Powerful says:

When that time comes, I will get rid of every idol in the country, and they will be forgotten for ever. I will also do away with their prophets and those evil spirits that control them.3If any such prophets ever appear again, their own parents must warn them that they will die for telling lies in my name—the name of the LORD. If those prophets don't stop speaking, their parents must then kill them with a sword.

4Those prophets will be ashamed of their so-called visions, and they won't deceive anyone by dressing like a true prophet.5Instead, they will say, “I'm no prophet. I've been a farmer all my life.”

6And if any of them are asked why they are wounded, they will answer, “It happened at the house of some friends.”

7The LORD All-Powerful said:

My sword, wake up! Attack

my shepherd and friend.

Strike down the shepherd!

Scatter the little sheep,

and I will destroy them.

8Nowhere in the land

will more than a third of them

be left alive.

9Then I will purify them

and put them to the test,

just as gold and silver

are purified and tested.

They will pray in my name,

and I will answer them.

I will say, “You are my people,”

and they will reply,

“You, LORD, are our God!”

Revelation 14:6-13

6I saw another angel. This one was flying across the sky and had the eternal good news to announce to the people of every race, tribe, language, and nation on earth.7The angel shouted, “Worship and honour God! The time has come for him to judge everyone. Kneel down before the one who created heaven and earth, the oceans, and every stream.”

8A second angel followed and said, “The great city of Babylon has fallen! This is the city that made all nations drunk and immoral. Now God is angry, and Babylon has fallen.”

9Finally, a third angel came and shouted:

Here is what will happen if you worship the beast and the idol and have the mark of the beast on your hand or forehead.10You will have to drink the wine that God gives to everyone who makes him angry. You will feel his mighty anger, and you will be tortured with fire and burning sulphur, while the holy angels and the Lamb look on.

11If you worship the beast and the idol and accept the mark of its name, you will be tortured day and night. The smoke from your torture will go up for ever and ever, and you will never be able to rest.

12God's people must learn to endure. They must also obey his commands and have faith in Jesus.

13Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Put this in writing. From now on, the Lord will bless everyone who has faith in him when they die.”

The Spirit answered, “Yes, they will rest from their hard work, and they will be rewarded for what they have done.”


Getting the most from God's Word

As you embark on this Journey, here are four steps to invite God's Word to challenge and encourage you.

  1. Pray

    Pray with focus and openness to see what God has for you. God, connect with me here, as I seek You in your Word.

  2. Read

    Read the selected section of scripture slowly. Take note of intriguing words and phrases. Read them a second time.

  3. Reflect

    Reflect on what strikes you as you read. What does this passage of Scripture teach you about God's values?

  4. Respond

    Respond to the passage. Speak to God directly about what's on your mind and hear. Look for ways to live out what you've uncovered.