ST. MAXENTIUS WORSHIP AT HOME – Sunday 4th December Advent 2


Good morning everyone and I hope you are well. Advent 2 brings readings from Isaiah about the Peaceful Kingdom of God and Matthew tells us of John the Baptist’s proclamation that Christ was coming.

Today we will be having our toy service and the gifts will be going to Fort Alice as last year, we will also repeat the theme on Wednesday in our children’s worship and the gifts will be collected on Thursday morning, any excess will go to Urban Outreach for families who are struggling this Christmas. A big thank you for all the boxes of biscuits for Urban Outreach’s project of Christmas dinner on Jesus, Ruth has taken all our donations to them. The Christmas fair yesterday was a great success and many thanks to everyone who helped out and of course came and spent their money to help us at church. I have not yet got the total as we go to press but hopefully we can update you as soon as possible.

Our Carol Service will be at 9.30am on Sunday 18th December (that way we don’t clash with the World Cup final). Today’s reflection is by Rev Peter and Intercessions by myself.


Our Lord says “surely I come quickly” Even so’ Come, Lord Jesus – Revelation 22.20

Almighty God to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden; cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Most merciful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we confess that we have sinned in thought, word and deed. We have not loved you with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves. In your mercy forgive what we have been help us to amend what we are, and direct what we shall be; that we may do justly; love mercy and walk humbly with you, our God. Amen.

May almighty God, who sent his Son into the

peace, now and forever. Amen.


Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy

Christ have mercy, Christ have mercy

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy


O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power and come among us, and with great might succour us; that whereas, through our sins and wickedness we are grievously hindered

in running the race that is set before us, your bountiful grace and mercy may speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


ISAIAH 11. 1-10

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew. Glory to you O Lord.

MATTHEW 3. 1-12

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:“Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” ’
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

 He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you O Christ.


Traditionally Advent 2 was for the prophets and Advent 3 for John the Baptist, but John seems to get in on Advent 2, and not the bit about him as the baby foretold to his aged parents six months before Gabriel speaks to Mary but – No – the adult John speaking of judgement and performing this strange thing called baptism – immersion in the Jordan River. Such a strange thing in fact that John got the name, John the Baptiser (as he was the one doing this peculiar thing), but there is little in the passage to explain what this baptising is about, though it is linked with the people confessing sins, and in the case of the religious leaders, bearing fruit worthy of repentance. It is also linked to crossing the Jordan so entering (again) the promised land. This is a turning back to God, a recommitment to the God of their ancestors. John speaks clearly of a future and greater judgement where wheat (good fruit) will be separated and kept, and the chaff burnt. At this point we are reminded that Jesus will also say it is not our job to sort out the weeds from the wheat; that is God’s harvest-time job, otherwise described as separating sheep from goats.

So what would we make of such an “apparition”, such a rude, abrupt and counter-cultural figure, whose dress and diet claimed a heritage from Elijah the great prophet (at a time when the King, Ahab, was against the things of God)? Does he remind us of the rather aggressive street preachers we get today, who, if we are honest, seem so unattractive and unloving? John however did not just tub-thump, he offered baptism. So is he then a bit like a leader of a new sect or group, expecting allegiance? That is another abuse of power! John did not draw a crowd primarily to himself but pointed them to Jesus. I must decrease ..  one who is more powerful than me is coming .. He came to prepare the way, to help people get things straight before the arrival of the King. That makes him a very different proposition from an angry street preacher or someone collecting a following for their own sake.

So, what do we make of him and more importantly what is our response in our age and context. Christmas (and Advent before it, even more so) is disruptive of how things are. John stands in the line of prophets speaking out and speaking up.

What is God’s word to us this Advent, at this difficult time in our history? I suggest both disruption and invitation.

Like the previous prophets, John came with a message that was disruptive – and we need to hear the disruption and what that means – and he came with a message of invitation, of baptism, of promise.

Disruption, Invitation and Promise!

Rev Peter


Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.

We believe in God the Father, who created all things;

For by his will they were created and have their being.

We believe in God the Son who was slain;

For his blood, he purchased us for God, from every tribe and language, from every people and nation.

We believe in God the Holy Spirit;

The spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” Even so come Lord Jesus! Amen.


Here we pray for the church, for the world, those in need and those who have died, you can follow your own prayers or these below on today’s theme.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, for you sent the prophets and John the Baptist to prepare your way. You have told us of your coming and you reveal yourself to us in Jesus. You come to each of us in power and in love. Blessed are you Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Father we give you thanks for all who tell of your love and proclaim your coming. We ask your blessing upon all priests and preachers and upon all who teach the scriptures and tell of your coming. Bless all who are baptised into your presence and power.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We remember in your presence the troubles and sorrows of our world. We think of those in Ukraine, Syria and other countries experiencing conflict or caught up in war or violence. We pray for all who suffer from the greed and insensitivity of others. May we not misuse our earth’s resources but use them with care and for the benefit of all. We ask your blessing upon all leaders and politicians and that they may work for the benefit of their people.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We ask your blessing upon all who do not look forward to Christmas. We remember all who are homeless, lonely, ill or in debt. We pray that our homes may be filled with love and peace where you are welcome.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We remember all who are ill and suffering at this time, all who are distressed and those overburdened. May they know your peace and presence, we pray especially for Irene Bennett, Sandra Valentine, Kathryn Browning, Kevin Maguire and Maureen Hulme. May all who walk in darkness come to know your light and your love. We pray for all who are in hospital or in care at this time.

Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

We remember all our loved ones departed, and we pray for any who have died recently and from our book of remembrance: Arthur Taylor Hamer, Howard Thomas payne, George Raymond Kenyon, Donald S.Pilton, Ellen Thomas and Joan Morrell. May they rejoice in the fullness of life and be with you in glory.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers, for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in Heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.


May God the Father, who loved us so much that he sent his only Son, give us grace to prepare for

life eternal. Amen.

May God the Son, who comes to us as redeemer and judge, reveal to us the path from

darkness to light. Amen

May God the Holy Spirit, by whose working the Virgin Mary conceived the Christ, help us bear

the fruit of holiness. Amen.

And the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with us

now and always. Amen.

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