Service for Sunday 13th December – Third Sunday of Advent

Bible Readings:

Key Bible Reading:

If you would like to look up the reading for yourself – simply click the link:

For John 21:15-22: John 21:15-22 NIVUK – Jesus reinstates Peter – When they had – Bible Gateway

Set Readings for today (Third Sunday of Advent):

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-end – One of the most “hope filled” and beautiful passages not just of the Old Testament but of the whole Bible.  The chapter begins with words that have become famous because they are quoted word for word by Jesus Himself as the passage of Scripture He chose from the whole of the Old Testament when He was asked to read at the Synagogue in Nazareth.  Not only does it speak a message of God bringing about new life and hope – like summer following winter, it is particularly important to note it is God’s Messiah who will bring this about.  When Jesus then quotes it what is He then saying about Himself when He says, famously, “today, in your hearing these words have been fulfilled.” (Luke 4:14-30)     

1Thessalonians 5:16-24 – Paul is writing his closing comments to his first letter to the little Church in Thessalonica.  What is striking is not just that he asks the congregation to remain faithful against all the odds, it’s the fact that he goes on to say, “The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do this.”  Its wonderful to think, not just in Paul’s day, but also in ours, and in every day, God and Jesus remain faithful to their calling, even when perhaps we fall short.  They are always 24/7 every day, every year, committed to saving and redeeming love.  Perhaps our own faithfulness would have been better encouraged if greater attention had been drawn to such faithfulness rather than some of the fear tactics and the “hell fire and damnation” preaching that has been spoken by ministers and others instead, however well intentioned.              

John 1:6-8, 19-28 – The introduction by John the Gospel author of the great character John the Baptist, the one Christians see as both cousin and forerunner to Jesus.  Interestingly, in Jewish history at the time John was seen as an even bigger deal than Jesus.  Josephus, the first century historian devotes a whole chapter to John and his message whereas he devotes only half a page to Jesus of Nazareth.  Partly, this is because John stood far more starkly as a ‘political’ threat to the establishment, offering an alterative path in open condemnation of the Temple and the Temple authorities, drawing people to believe and hope for an interjection by God Himself to bring His Messiah, in other words a new King to Israel.

Of course, when Jesus comes to fulfil all that John had spoken of, He was to do this in a way Josephus and the rulers of this world did not understand, and have not understood, ever since.  And yet, the ‘Jesus way’ has had the power to call to account and to challenge the power dynamic and status quo of our world more than anything else in the whole of history.  There is a wonderful Chinese saying, “what changes rock most?  Not other rock.  No, water.  It’s just that it takes a very long time.”

Come Lord Jesus and build a new world in our day as we emerge from the painful and very difficult time.


Hymns and Songs for Third Sunday for Advent:


  1. Advent wouldn’t be Advent without the ‘classic’ “O come, O come, Emmanuel” and we are playing it to introduce our service all four Sundays in Advent.



  1. “In the Lord, I’ll be ever thankful” – from the Taize community, an ecumenical international community in Southern France. There are many versions of their songs and chants sung all over the world:


  1. “Servant King” – otherwise known as “From heaven you came” by Graham Kendrick – a powerful classic for focusing on the nature of God and power:


  1. “Hills of the North Rejoice” Songs of Praise version with lyrics: (104) GORTON MONASTERY-HILLS OF NORTH REJOICE – YouTube


  1. “Hark my soul, it is the Lord” picking up the theme of our Bible Reading today from John 21. Thank you Dinah:


  1. “Awake, awake, fling off the night” – a great traditional hymn for Christmas and Epiphany. Here is an organ recital version from All Saints Church, Oystermouth in Swansea.  Sadly, there is yet to be a choral version recorded to YouTube with the words but thank you Dinah for sending this in: (104) Awake Awake Fling Of The Night: All Saints Church Oystermouth Swansea! – YouTube



On the theme of Advent Joy:

  1. “Joy, joy, joy” by Rend Collective. Great lyrics talking about find Advent hope and joy even in the face of a canvas of darkness.  With Lyrics and thanks to Rend Collective for letting all Churches use their material copyright free during this time: (104) “Joy” from Rend Collective (OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO) – YouTube


  1. “Gaudete” is a 16th cent Christmas Carol set to a folk tune that was made famous in the 70’s by Steeleye Span. This cover version by the 15yr old Lydia Gerrard captured our attention because her was a young lady willing to take something of her background in Church out into the community and sing on an open stage in Westfield Shopping Centre in the heart of London.  Good on her: (104) Lydia Gerrard singing Gaudete by Steeleye Span – YouTube

In case you were wondering what the Lyrics meant:

Gaudete, Gaudete!
Christus et natus
Ex maria virgine,

Rejoice, Rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary,

Tempus ad est gratiae,
Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina laetitiae,
Devote redamus.

It is now the time of grace
That we have desired;
Let us sing songs of joy,
Let us give devotion.

Deus homo factus est,
Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.

God was made man,
And nature marvels;
The world was renewed
By Christ who is King.

Ezechiellis porta
Clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.

The closed gate of Ezekiel
Has been passed through;
From where the light rises
Salvation is found.

Ergo nostra cantio,
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.

Therefore let our assembly now sing,
Sing the Psalms to purify us;
Let it praise the Lord:
Greetings to our King.

Amazing and beautiful lyrics so apt for this time too. Thank you Kirsty for sending these across.

  1. “The Hope of Christmas” by Matthew West which he released in Nov 2020 written specifically this Christmas. Official Video: (104) Matthew West – The Hope of Christmas (Official Music Video) – YouTube


  1. “Joyful, joyful” classic climax to one of the great films capturing the Gospel Hope – “Sister Act 2” with Whoopi Goldberg. Gets everyone’s feet tapping.  Areal feel good moment: (104) Sister Act 2 (Finale) Lauryn Hill – Joyful Joyful With Lyrics (Ft. Whoopi Goldberg) – YouTube


  1. “I am loved” by Mack Brock. Speaking about God’s acceptance and how God’s love and power turn the world’s values and judgements upside down and shows how they are found wanting in comparison to the awesome love of God. Great lyrics: (104) Mack Brock – I Am Loved (Official Lyric Video) – YouTube


  1. “God so loved” – by We the Kingdom. Taking the words of John 3:16 the lyrics speak of God’s liberating love.  Great use of video footage. Sows how we live in such a multi-sensory world and the video also makes such a contribution to worship: (104) We The Kingdom – God So Loved (Lyric Video) – YouTube


  1. “A God like you” by Kirk Franklin. This song was made famous by Michelle Obama who spoke about how she includes this song in her workout Playlist when she gave her autobiographical interview.  Speaks of how God’s love is such a different understanding of what power truly means. Great Lyrics version: (104) Kirk Franklin – A God Like You (Lyric Video) – YouTube



  1. “The Chosen” – Episode 1 – the worldwide phenomenon which is the world crowd funded TV adaptation of the Life of Jesus called “The Chosen.” Series 1 has already been released and funding for Series 2 is just about complete and due to be released over the Christmas period.

“The Chosen” can be obtained for free, either via YouTube (simply type in “The Chosen” or via an App, which can be downloaded to your Smartphone or Tablet.

Its all very exciting.  Details of how to find Episode 1 on YouTube: (92) The Chosen: Complete Episode One – YouTube