Advent 1 Sunday  
Year A 
(Sun 1 Dec 2013)

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

Agriculture (not warfare) is the vocation of humans on earth under the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 2:4). The nurture and cultivation (not the abuse and pollution) of the land is one of our highest callings. We are not called upon to attempt to live a purely 'spiritual', non-physical life. The 'flesh' (Romans 13:14) that we are to deny is not the body but a debased humanity centred on ourselves rather than the Lord. To be ready for the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:44) means to be found living on earth according to God's Word (Isaiah 2:3).

Year B 
(Sun 30 Nov 2014)

Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80:1-7, [16-18]
I Corinthians 1:3-9
Mark 13:24-37

The coming of Christ in glory will mark the change from the present age, to the age to come . We shall have to give account of the way we have discharged the responsibilities entrusted to us (Mark 13:34), and the uses we have made, in our life on earth, of the spiritual gifts we have received (I Corinthians 1:7). The scope of such stewardship includes our behaviour towards the earth and living species. 

Year C 
(2 Dec 2012)

Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:1-10
I Thessalonians 3:9-13
Luke 21:25-36
The time of the ultimate disruption of creation will also be the time when Christ's true glory is revealed (Luke 21:25-27). It will also be the day when ‘redemption' is complete (28) and God'sKingdom is fulfilled (31). To prepare for that day means being alert and prayerful ( 34- 36). In a world of ecological crisis, we must live in the light of God's redeeming purposes and turn from wasteful and deluded lifestyles.

Advent 2 Sunday  
Year A 
(Sun 8 Dec 2013)

Advent 2 Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19
Romans 15:4-13
Matthew 3:1-12

In the description of the Kingdom of God (Isaiah 11:1-10, cf. Psalm 72) cosmic harmony, moral righteousness and social justice are all facets of the good reign of God's Messiah. This Kingdom, brought by Jesus, is to be completed at his return in glory. They are marks of his presence. Therefore they are all equally marks of the Church's Mission. 

The uncompromising, 'judgmental' aspect of agriculture speaks of God's judgment, while garnering the goodness speaks of God's saving power for those who repent (Matthew 3:10 -12 ).

Year B 
(Sun 7 Dec 2014)

Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85:1-2,8-13
2 Peter 3:8-15a
Mark 1:1-8

Isaiah 40:1-11: The people of the Old Testament were conscious of living in the created world. Here that world also symbolises spiritual realities. Hills and valleys express o bstacles to God's saving power ; t ender grass and flowers convey human frailty; gentle shepherding, God's tender love. Psalm 85: a fruitful, prosperous land is part of the goodness that God wills to give, along with spiritual and moral blessings. 

2 Peter 3:8-15a: We should observe the balance between destruction (discontinuity) and purification (continuity) in the promised new heaven and earth. 

Mark 1: 1-8 : The outcome of God's final purposes is renewal and righteousness. John the Baptist left one of the slightest environmental footprints in Scripture (6) . We are not all called to emulate his extreme asceticism, but his simplicity does challenge greedy and consumptive lifestyles. 

Year C 
(9 Dec 2012)

Baruch 5:1-9 or Malachi 3:1-4
Philippians 1:3-11
Luke 3:1-6 

To live the new life (Luke 1:74-75) , ready for the coming of God (Malachi 3:1) , is God's gift which requires our co-operation in faith and repentance (Luke 3:3-6) , as we live in his glory on earth (Baruch 5:7-9) .

Advent Sunday 3  
Year A 
(Sun 15 Dec 2013)

Advent 3 Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 146:4-9 or
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

Isaiah 35:1-10: The saving power of God, here related to the return of the exiles from Babylon, embraces the perfection of nature, the healing of people, and universal redemption. 

Psalm 146: 4-9 : The God of creation is also the God of justice and compassion . 
James 5:7-10: Patience is required of us in relation to natural processes and also to proclaiming the word of the Lord, and supremely in awaiting his coming. 
Matthew 11:2-11: Wholeness and abundant life are hallmarks of Christ's work and signs of the Kingdom of God. 

Year B 
(Sun 14 Dec 2014)

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Psalm 126 or
I Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28

The fertile land (Isaiah 61:11) is an image of God's saving, joy-giving power (cf. Psalm 126:4-6). The body as well as the spirit and soul is a recipient of God's grace, protection and sanctifying power (I Thessalonians 5:23). The wilderness in the Old Testament is the place of transition, from slavery to freedom in the promised land. This theme is appropriated in the New Testament: preparation for the coming of salvation takes place in the desert (John 1:23).

Year C 
(16 Dec 2012)

Zephaniah 3:14-20 Isaiah 12:2-6 (Canticle) or Psalm 146:4-9 Philippians 4:4-7 Luke 3:7-18

Psalm 146:4-9: God, the creator of all, is also the faithful saviour, the source of justice, satisfaction, freedom, vision and dignity.

Philippians 4:4-7: Gentleness (5) should be extended to animals and the rest of God's creation, and not only to people. 
Luke 3:7-18: The number of images from nature here is worthy of note. The world of nature gives constant messages about the spiritual aspect of life, to those whose minds are attuned by the Word of God.

Advent Sunday 4  
Year A 
(Sun 22 Dec 2013)
Advent 4 Year A Isaiah 7:10-16
Psalm 80:1-7, [16-18]
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25
Year B Year C

Because the Son of God is also the descendant of King David, born of Mary, rooted in our space and time, his salvation is for now as well as for all eternity. He has touched our world so that it can never be the same again. The creation has an added sacredness because his divine presence has been here, and is still here through the Spirit. By his offering of himself we are brought near to God and enabled to serve God.

Year B 
(Sun 21 Dec 2014)

2 Samuel 7:1-11,16
Magnificat or
Psalm 89:1-4,19-26 (or 1-8)
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38
As above 

Year C 
(23 Dec 2012)

Micah 5:2-5a
Magnificat or
Psalm 80:1-7
Hebrews 10:5-10
Luke 1:39-45, [46-55]

As above

Christmas 24-25 December  
Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 96
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-14, [15-20]

The grace of God which has appeared to us in Jesus (Titus 2:11) brings the light of salvation (Isaiah 9:2) not only to people, but to the whole earth community (Psalm 96). Through his birth heaven and earth are reconciled, and the earth is involved in the worship of heaven (Luke 2:13-14).

Isaiah 62:6-12
Psalm 97
Titus 3:4-7
Luke 2:[1-7,] 8 20

In Christ the true New Age has dawned. The Son of God was wrapped in earthly cloth, was laid in a wooden manger, and breathed earthly air and in his coming God's glory, goodness and loving kindness were revealed.
Isaiah 52:7-10
Psalm 98
Hebrews 1:1-4, [5-12]
John 1:1-14

Hebrews 1:1-12 contains one of the most powerful statements of Christ's role in creating and sustaining the universe. The Incarnation can be seen as the central point and focus of Christ's relation to creation at all times and places (John 1:1-5, 9). In some sense he is accessible to all who are open to God with humility and trust, but the full truth and power of salvation, and the full light of revelation, are given only to those who know and respond to the Gospel (12-13). 

The fact that in Christ God breathed earthly air, consumed earthly food and drink, and became part of the ecosystem, has changed for all eternity the relation of earth to its Creator. 

Many well known carols have an earthy and holistic feel to them which is often lacking in other hymns. 



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