READINGS – DECEMBER 16TH

FIRST LESSON                                                                           Zephaniah 3:14-20
Lector      A reading from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah.
 
Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away the judgments 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.
 
SECOND LESSON                                                                   Philippians 4:4-7
Lector      A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians.

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.
 
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
 
Let us pray that the whole world may be led into the way of righteousness.
 
Gather into one body your Church that is now scattered and separated. Unite us, that we may rejoice together that we share in your salvation. Grant sincere repentance for the faults of each that has kept us apart.
 
Move with compassion those who use the power of authority or of money to exploit others. Lead those who rule the rich nations of the world to bring relief to the poor.
 
Make us just in all our dealings, with those among whom we live and those with whom we work. Grant that we shall hold fast and honor all that is good and beautiful.
 
Have mercy on refuges who have been torn from their homes to seek new lands. Relieve the afflicted and sorrowful who feel that they have no place in the world, and give them new hope.
 
We give thanks for the lives of those who have died in faith and who now rejoice in your presence. Grant them the eternal peace that passes all understanding.
 
     [Here other intercessions may be offered.]
 
May the grace of Christ enable us to bring forth fruits worthy of repentance.  Amen.