December 15, 2019

FIRST LESSON                                                                    Isaiah 35:1-10
Lector         A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you. "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God's people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Lector       Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
People    Thanks be to God.

SECOND LESSON                                                                James 5:7-10
Lector        A reading from the Book of James.
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Lector        Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
People     Thanks be to God.

GOSPEL                                                                             Matthew 11:2-11
Priest        The Holy Gospel of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, according to Saint Matthew.
People     Glory to you, Lord Christ.
When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ “Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

Priest        The Gospel of the Lord
People     Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Jesus said that the signs of God’s dominion were to be seen in the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead to new life, and the preaching of good news to the poor. Let us pray that our lives may be the instruments of God’s work in the world, saying: O God, most worthy of praise, hear our prayer.
We thank you, God, for the gift of creation. Grant that we who bear your image may be faithful stewards of your gift and administer its bounty with wisdom for the good of all your creatures. O God, most worthy of praise, hear our prayer.
We thank you that you have called us to be your people. Give us patience as we await your coming, and grant us wisdom to discern your will in our daily lives, that each of us may serve others for the building up of our common life. O God, most worthy of praise, hear our prayer.
We thank you for the community of faith throughout the world. Strengthen your church as it witnesses to your love. Guide us in the fulfillment of your mission, that all may be one. O God, most worthy of praise, hear our prayer.
We thank you for the privilege of ministering to others. We remember before you all who are sick or in need. We pray for those who have died. Grant us the grace to accept suffering with patience and to be strengthened by our common life in the body of Christ. O God, most worthy of praise, hear our prayer.
We thank you for your countless gifts. Above all, we thank you for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ, and for our unity in him through baptism. O God, most worthy of praise, hear our prayer.
     (Here other intercessions may be offered.)
We offer our thanksgiving and prayers to you, the one God and the source of light and life, now and forever. Amen.