BELOW ARE THE READINGS FOR THE LAST SUNDAY SERVICE PLUS READINGS FOR FORTHCOMING SUNDAYS
2 Thessalonians 3: 6 – 13
6 Our brothers and sisters, we command you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to keep away from all believers who are living a lazy life and who do not follow the instructions that we gave them. 7 You yourselves know very well that you should do just what we did. We were not lazy when we were with you. 8 We did not accept anyone’s support without paying for it. Instead, we worked and toiled; we kept working day and night so as not to be an expense to any of you. 9 We did this, not because we have no right to demand our support; we did it to be an example for you to follow. 10 While we were with you, we used to say to you, “Whoever refuses to work is not allowed to eat.” 11 We say this because we hear that there are some people among you who live lazy lives and who do nothing except meddle in other people’s business. 12 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we command these people and warn them to lead orderly lives and work to earn their own living. 13 But you, brothers and sisters, must not get tired of doing good. 14 It may be that someone there will not obey the message we send you in this letter. If so, take note of that person and have nothing to do with him or her, so that they will be ashamed. 15 But do not treat them as an enemy; instead, warn them as a fellow-believer.
Luke 21: 5 – 19
5 Some of the disciples were talking about the Temple, how beautiful it looked with its fine stones and the gifts offered to God. Jesus said, 6 “All this you see — the time will come when not a single stone here will be left in its place; every one will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will this be? And what will happen in order to show that the time has come for it to take place?” 8 Jesus said, “Be on guard; don’t be deceived. Many men, claiming to speak for me, will come and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t follow them. 9 Don’t be afraid when you hear of wars and revolutions; such things must happen first, but they do not mean that the end is near.” 10 He went on to say, “Countries will fight each other; kingdoms will attack one another. 11 There will be terrible earthquakes, famines, and plagues everywhere; there will be strange and terrifying things coming from the sky. 12 Before all these things take place, however, you will be arrested and persecuted; you will be handed over to be tried in synagogues and be put in prison; you will be brought before kings and rulers for my sake. 13 This will be your chance to tell the Good News. 14 Make up your minds beforehand not to worry about how you will defend yourselves, 15 because I will give you such words and wisdom that none of your enemies will be able to refute or contradict what you say. 16 You will be handed over by your parents, your brothers, your relatives, and your friends; and some of you will be put to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a single hair from your heads will be lost. 19 Stand firm, and you will save yourselves.
24 November – Christ the King – Sunday before Advent
Collosians 1: 11 – 20
11-12 May you be made strong with all the strength which comes from his glorious power, so that you may be able to endure everything with patience. And with joy give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to have your share of what God has reserved for his people in the kingdom of light. 13He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of his dear Son, 14 by whom we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. 15 Christ is the visible likeness of the invisible God. He is the firstborn Son, superior to all created things. 16 For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth, the seen and the unseen things, including spiritual powers, lords, rulers, and authorities. God created the whole universe through him and for him. 17 Christ existed before all things, and in union with him all things have their proper place. 18 He is the head of his body, the church; he is the source of the body’s life. He is the firstborn Son, who was raised from death, in order that he alone might have the first place in all things. 19 For it was by God’s own decision that the Son has in himself the full nature of God. 20 Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven
Luke 23: 33 – 43
33 When they came to the place called “The Skull”, they crucified Jesus there, and the two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.” They divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice. 35 The people stood there watching while the Jewish leaders jeered at him: “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah whom God has chosen!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him: they came up to him and offered him cheap wine, 37 and said, “Save yourself if you are the king of the Jews!” 38 Above him were written these words: “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. 41 Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.” 42 And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!” 43 Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.”
1 December – Advent 1
Romans 13: 11 – 14
11 You must do this, because you know that the time has come for you to wake up from your sleep. For the moment when we will be saved is closer now than it was when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over, day is almost here. Let us stop doing the things that belong to the dark, and let us take up weapons for fighting in the light. 13 Let us conduct ourselves properly, as people who live in the light of day — no orgies or drunkenness, no immorality or indecency, no fighting or jealousy. 14 But take up the weapons of the Lord Jesus Christ, and stop paying attention to your sinful nature and satisfying its desires.
Matthew 24: 36 – 44
36 “No one knows, however, when that day and hour will come — neither the angels in heaven nor the Son; the Father alone knows. 37 The coming of the Son of Man will be like what happened in the time of Noah. 38 In the days before the flood people ate and drank, men and women married, up to the very day Noah went into the boat; 39 yet they did not realise what was happening until the flood came and swept them all away. That is how it will be when the Son of Man comes. 40 At that time two men will be working in a field: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. 41 Two women will be at a mill grinding meal: one will be taken away, the other will be left behind. 42 “Be on your guard, then, because you do not know what day your Lord will come. 43 If the owner of a house knew the time when the thief would come, you can be sure that he would stay awake and not let the thief break into his house. 44 So then, you also must always be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him.
8 December – Advent 2
Romans 15: 4 – 13
4 Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us. 5 And may God, the source of patience and encouragement, enable you to have the same point of view among yourselves by following the example of Christ Jesus, 6 so that all of you together may praise with one voice the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Good News for the Gentiles 7 Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ has accepted you. 8 For I tell you that Christ’s life of service was on behalf of the Jews, to show that God is faithful, to make his promises to their ancestors come true, 9and to enable even the Gentiles to praise God for his mercy. As the scripture says: “And so I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing praises to you.” 10 Again it says, “Rejoice, Gentiles, with God’s people!” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all Gentiles; praise him, all peoples!” 12 And again, Isaiah says, “A descendant of Jesse will appear; he will come to rule the Gentiles, and they will put their hope in him.” 13 May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 3: 1 – 12
1 At that time John the Baptist came to the desert of Judah and started preaching. 2 “Turn away from your sins,” he said, “because the Kingdom of heaven is near!” 3 John was the man the prophet Isaiah was talking about when he said:
“Someone is shouting in the desert,
‘Prepare a road for the Lord;
make a straight path for him to travel!’ ”
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair; he wore a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People came to him from Jerusalem, from the whole province of Judea, and from all the country near the River Jordan. 6 They confessed their sins, and he baptised them in the Jordan. 7 When John saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to him to be baptised, he said to them, “You snakes — who told you that you could escape from the punishment God is about to send? 8 Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins. 9 And don’t think you can escape punishment by saying that Abraham is your ancestor. I tell you that God can take these stones and make descendants for Abraham! 10 The axe is ready to cut down the trees at the roots; every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire. 11 I baptise you with water to show that you have repented, but the one who will come after me will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. He is much greater than I am; and I am not good enough even to carry his sandals. 12 He has his winnowing shovel with him to thresh out all the grain. He will gather his wheat into his barn, but he will burn the chaff in a fire that never goes out.”
15 December – Advent 3
James 5: 7 – 10
7 Be patient, then, my brothers and sisters, until the Lord comes. See how patient a farmer is as he waits for his land to produce precious crops. He waits patiently for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You also must be patient. Keep your hopes high, for the day of the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Do not complain against one another, my brothers and sisters, so that God will not judge you. The Judge is near, ready to appear. 10 My brothers and sisters, remember the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Take them as examples of patient endurance under suffering.
Matthew 11: 2 – 11
2 When John the Baptist heard in prison about the things that Christ was doing, he sent some of his disciples to him. 3 “Tell us,” they asked Jesus, “are you the one John said was going to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus answered, “Go back and tell John what you are hearing and seeing: 5 the blind can see, the lame can walk, those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor. 6 How happy are those who have no doubts about me!” 7 While John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus spoke about him to the crowds: “When you went out to John in the desert, what did you expect to see? A blade of grass bending in the wind? 8 What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in fancy clothes? People who dress like that live in palaces! 9 Tell me, what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes indeed, but you saw much more than a prophet. 10 For John is the one of whom the scripture says: ‘God said, I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.’ 11I assure you that John the Baptist is greater than anyone who has ever lived. But the one who is least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than John.
22 December: Advent 4
Romans 1: 1 – 7
1 From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus and an apostle chosen and called by God to preach his Good News. 2 The Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets, as written in the Holy Scriptures. 3 It is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: as to his humanity, he was born a descendant of David; 4as to his divine holiness, he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death. 5 Through him God gave me the privilege of being an apostle for the sake of Christ, in order to lead people of all nations to believe and obey. 6 This also includes you who are in Rome, whom God has called to belong to Jesus Christ. 7 And so I write to all of you in Rome whom God loves and has called to be his own people: May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Matthew 1: 18 – 25
18 This was how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. His mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they were married, she found out that she was going to have a baby by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph was a man who always did what was right, but he did not want to disgrace Mary publicly; so he made plans to break the engagement privately. 20 While he was thinking about this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. 21 She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus — because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 Now all this happened in order to make what the Lord had said through the prophet come true, 23 “A virgin will become pregnant and have a son, and he will be called Immanuel” (which means, “God is with us”). 24 So when Joseph woke up, he married Mary, as the angel of the Lord had told him to do. 25 But he had no sexual relations with her before she gave birth to her son. And Joseph named him Jesus.
29 December – Christmas 1
Hebrews 2: 10 – end
10 It was only right that God, who creates and preserves all things, should make Jesus perfect through suffering, in order to bring many children to share his glory. For Jesus is the one who leads them to salvation. 11 He purifies people from their sins, and both he and those who are made pure all have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his family. 12 He says to God: “I will tell my people what you have done;
I will praise you in their meeting.”
13 He also says, “I will put my trust in God.” And he also says, “Here I am with the children that God has given me.”
14 Since the children, as he calls them, are people of flesh and blood, Jesus himself became like them and shared their human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, 15 and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death. 16 For it is clear that it is not the angels that he helps. Instead, he helps the descendants of Abraham. 17 This means that he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order to be their faithful and merciful High Priest in his service to God, so that the people’s sins would be forgiven. 18 And now he can help those who are tempted, because he himself was tempted and suffered.
Matthews 2: 13 – 23
13 After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave.” 14 Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until Herod died. This was done to make what the Lord had said through the prophet come true, “I called my Son out of Egypt.” 16 When Herod realised that the visitors from the east had tricked him, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighbourhood who were two years old and younger — this was done in accordance with what he had learned from the visitors about the time when the star had appeared. 17 In this way what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true: 18 “A sound is heard in Ramah, the sound of bitter weeping. Rachel is crying for her children; she refuses to be comforted, for they are dead.” The Return from Egypt 19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead.” 21 So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went back to Israel. 22 But when Joseph heard that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, he was afraid to go there. He was given more instructions in a dream, so he went to the province of Galilee 23 and made his home in a town named Nazareth. And so what the prophets had said came true: “He will be called a Nazarene.”