Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
(This Collect is to be repeated every day after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Eve.)

Psalm 1

The Two Ways

Happy are those
 who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
 or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
 and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
 planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
 and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
 but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
 nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
 but the way of the wicked will perish.

Isaiah 1:10–20

Hear the word of the Lord,
 you rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the teaching of our God,
 you people of Gomorrah!
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
 says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt-offerings of rams
 and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
 or of lambs, or of goats.

When you come to appear before me,
 who asked this from your hand?
 Trample my courts no more;
bringing offerings is futile;
 incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation—
 I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
Your new moons and your appointed festivals
 my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
 I am weary of bearing them.
When you stretch out your hands,
 I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
 I will not listen;
 your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
 remove the evil of your doings
 from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
 learn to do good;
seek justice,
 rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
 plead for the widow.

Come now, let us argue it out,
 says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
 they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
 they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
 you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
 you shall be devoured by the sword;
 for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

I Thessalonians 1:1–10


Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

The Thessalonians’ Faith and Example

We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of people we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place where your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

St. Luke 20:1–8

The Authority of Jesus Questioned

One day, as he was teaching the people in the temple and telling the good news, the chief priests and the scribes came with the elders and said to him, ‘Tell us, by what authority are you doing these things? Who is it who gave you this authority?’ He answered them, ‘I will also ask you a question, and you tell me: Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?’ They discussed it with one another, saying, ‘If we say, “From heaven”, he will say, “Why did you not believe him?” But if we say, “Of human origin”, all the people will stone us; for they are convinced that John was a prophet.’ So they answered that they did not know where it came from. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’

A Story for the Day

Read how a potentially crippling accident opened the way for bicycles to be distributed to those in need.

Source for Collects: The Collects are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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