Speak Lord: Our sure hope

Figure at prayer. Cathedral, Nantes. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near.

There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.


Second Reading for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 4:4-7

On Gaudete Sunday we hear this reading from Paul that urges us to rejoice, to be happy in the Lord.

The Lord and his love are the ultimate reason for our confidence.

His prayer, our prayer, and the prayer of the whole Church, offers us reason for comfort and trust.

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Taste and See: Compassion

St Paul. Rembrandt. National Gallery, London. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.

Every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes; and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you.

My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best.

This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God 

2nd Reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 1:4-6,8-11

One of the precious teachings of the Church is that of the ‘Communion of Saints’.

We are all of us called to be saints. The vocation for all Christians, especially, it is an expression of the universal call to holiness. And sometimes we find it a struggle! 

It is comfort to know that it is not all about us and what we do. The Communion of Saints is a communion of love and care and encouragement for us. How many are praying for us, even if they do not know us by name!

Speak Lord: Comfort and consolation

Trees in the Valley of Rocks, Lynton. (c) 2013

Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress, put on the beauty of the glory of God for ever, wrap the cloak of the integrity of God around you, put the diadem of the glory of the Eternal on your head: since God means to show your splendour to every nation under heaven, since the name God gives you for ever will be, ‘Peace through integrity, and honour through devotedness.’

Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights and turn your eyes to the east: see your sons reassembled from west and east at the command of the Holy One, jubilant that God has remembered them.

Though they left you on foot, with enemies for an escort, now God brings them back to you like royal princes carried back in glory.
For God has decreed the flattening of each high mountain, of the everlasting hills, the filling of the valleys to make the ground level so that Israel can walk in safety under the glory of God.

And the forests and every fragrant tree will provide shade for Israel at the command of God; for God will guide Israel in joy by the light of his glory with his mercy and integrity for escort.

First reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Baruch 5:1-9

Speak Lord: Of faith and care

Detail from Standing Cross. Iona Abbey. (c) 2011, Allen Morris.
Every time I pray for all of you, I pray with joy, remembering how you have helped to spread the Good News from the day you first heard it right up to the present. I am quite certain that the One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes; and God knows how much I miss you all, loving you as Christ Jesus loves you. My prayer is that your love for each other may increase more and more and never stop improving your knowledge and deepening your perception so that you can always recognise what is best. This will help you to become pure and blameless, and prepare you for the Day of Christ, when you will reach the perfect goodness which Jesus Christ produces in us for the glory and praise of God
2nd Reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Philippians 1:4-6,8-11

St Paul testifies to the love that binds the Church together and that is our communion with God.

It is a love that is shared for our benefit, and it is a love that we are called to share in our turn.

Giving and receiving, we live and grow.

Speak Lord: amidst the noise

Tiberius Caesar. Vatican Museum.
(c) 2016, Allen Morris.

In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrach of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah:

A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley will be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low,
winding ways will be straightened
and rough roads made smooth.
And all mankind shall see the salvation of God.

Gospel for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Luke 3:1-6

In the midst of busyness, pomp and power, a quiet voice is heard which heralds the changing of the world.

The voice is still heard by those who listen.

  • Where/when do you find it easiest to hear?
  • When/why do you find it easiest to respond to what you hear?

Taste and See: ours to share

People of Les Halles, Paris. Model in Eglise St Eustache, Paris. (c) 2011, Allen Morris

Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make,
gathered from among your gifts to us,
and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below
gain for us the prize of eternal redemption.
Through Christ our Lord.


Prayer over the Offerings
1st Sunday of Advent

‘Love God and love your neighbour.’ This is how Jesus reminded his hearers of the spiritual tradition of Israel.

In Advent/Christmas we will spend more time than usual in prayer (?) making offering to God.

  • What and how will we share with our neighbour?

Taste and See: Past it but still getting ready?

Olympic Stadium. (c) 2012, Allen Morris

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


Collect for the 1st Sunday of Advent


Perhaps the time for running is past. I can’t see too many of our Sunday assembly literally running forth, even to meet Christ at his coming. The spirit may still be willing but the flesh is weak!

But if the flesh is weak, all the more reason for attending to the state of the spirit. If we long for the Lord’s coming then let that longing dominate our choices and actions in these coming days of Advent, and help us dedicate time and energy to recognising what he means to us. Let the longing for him counter those things that would tempt us away from Advent-ing with him, and rob of us of the sense of real and new celebration when Christmas does come.

Those who still can run know the importance of training for the main event. Those who spend more time in their armchairs need to remember that too!