BELOW ARE THE READINGS FOR THE LAST SUNDAY SERVICE PLUS READINGS FOR FORTHCOMING SUNDAYS
19th November – 2nd Sunday before Advent
1 Thessalonians 5: 1 – 11
1 There is no need to write to you, brothers and sisters, about the times and occasions when these things will happen. 2 For you yourselves know very well that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief comes at night. 3 When people say, “Everything is quiet and safe,” then suddenly destruction will hit them! It will come as suddenly as the pains that come upon a woman in labour, and people will not escape. 4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness, and the Day should not take you by surprise like a thief. 5All of you are people who belong to the light, who belong to the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, we should not be sleeping like the others; we should be awake and sober. 7It is at night that people sleep; it is at night that they get drunk. 8But we belong to the day, and we should be sober. We must wear faith and love as a breastplate, and our hope of salvation as a helmet. 9God did not choose us to suffer his anger, but to possess salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us in order that we might live together with him, whether we are alive or dead when he comes. 11 And so encourage one another and help one another, just as you are now doing.
Matthew 25: 14 – 30
14 “At that time the Kingdom of heaven will be like this. Once there was a man who was about to go on a journey; he called his servants and put them in charge of his property.15He gave to each one according to his ability: to one he gave 5,000 gold coins, to another he gave 2,000, and to another he gave 1,000. Then he left on his journey.16The servant who had received 5,000 coins went at once and invested his money and earned another 5,000.17In the same way the servant who had received 2,000 coins earned another 2,000.18But the servant who had received 1,000 coins went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them.20 The servant who had received 5,000 coins came in and handed over the other 5,000. ‘You gave me 5,000 coins, sir,’ he said. ‘Look! Here are another 5,000 that I have earned.’21 ‘Well done, you good and faithful servant!’ said his master. ‘You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share my happiness!’
22 “Then the servant who had been given 2,000 coins came in and said, ‘You gave me 2,000 coins, sir. Look! Here are another 2,000 that I have earned.’23 ‘Well done, you good and faithful servant!’ said his master. ‘You have been faithful in managing small amounts, so I will put you in charge of large amounts. Come on in and share my happiness!’
24 “Then the servant who had received 1,000 coins came in and said, ‘Sir, I know you are a hard man; you reap harvests where you did not sow, and you gather crops where you did not scatter seed.25 I was afraid, so I went off and hid your money in the ground. Look! Here is what belongs to you.’
26 “ ‘You bad and lazy servant!’ his master said. ‘You knew, did you, that I reap harvests where I did not sow, and gather crops where I did not scatter seed?27 Well, then, you should have deposited my money in the bank, and I would have received it all back with interest when I returned.28 Now, take the money away from him and give it to the one who has 10,000 coins.29 For to every person who has something, even more will be given, and he will have more than enough; but the person who has nothing, even the little that he has will be taken away from him.30 As for this useless servant — throw him outside in the darkness; there he will cry and grind his teeth.’
26th November – Sunday before Advent
Ezekiel 34: 11 – 16 and 20 – 24
11 “I, the Sovereign LORD, tell you that I myself will look for my sheep and take care of them 12 in the same way as shepherds take care of their sheep that were scattered and are brought together again. I will bring them back from all the places where they were scattered on that dark, disastrous day. 13 I will take them out of foreign countries, gather them together, and bring them back to their own land. I will lead them back to the mountains and the streams of Israel and will feed them in pleasant pastures. 14 I will let them graze in safety in the mountain meadows and the valleys and in all the green pastures of the land of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will find them a place to rest. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken.
16 “I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that wander off, bandage those that are hurt, and heal those that are sick; but those that are fat and strong I will destroy, because I am a shepherd who does what is right.
20 “So now, I, the Sovereign LORD, tell you that I will judge between you strong sheep and the weak sheep. 21You pushed the sick ones aside and butted them away from the flock. 22 But I will rescue my sheep and not let them be ill-treated any more. I will judge each of my sheep and separate the good from the bad. 23I will give them a king like my servant David to be their one shepherd, and he will take care of them. 24 I, the LORD, will be their God, and a king like my servant David will be their ruler. I have spoken.
Matthew 25: 31 – end
31 “When the Son of Man comes as King and all the angels with him, he will sit on his royal throne,32 and the people of all the nations will be gathered before him. Then he will divide them into two groups, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33He will put the righteous people on his right and the others on his left.34 Then the King will say to the people on his right, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world.35 I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes,36 naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.’
37 “The righteous will then answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink?38 When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’40 The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these members of my family, you did it for me!’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Away from me, you that are under God’s curse! Away to the eternal fire which has been prepared for the Devil and his angels! 42 I was hungry but you would not feed me, thirsty but you would not give me a drink;43 I was a stranger but you would not welcome me in your homes, naked but you would not clothe me; I was sick and in prison but you would not take care of me.’
44 “Then they will answer him, ‘When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and would not help you?’45 The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you refused to help one of these least important ones, you refused to help me.’46 These, then, will be sent off to eternal punishment, but the righteous will go to eternal life.”
3rd December – 1st Sunday of Advent
Isiah 64: 1 – 9
1 Why don’t you tear the sky apart and come down? The mountains would see you and shake with fear. 2 They would tremble like water boiling over a hot fire. Come and reveal your power to your enemies, and make the nations tremble at your presence! 3 There was a time when you came and did terrifying things that we did not expect; the mountains saw you and shook with fear. 4 No one has ever seen or heard of a God like you, who does such deeds for those who put their hope in him. 5 You welcome those who find joy in doing what is right, those who remember how you want them to live. You were angry with us, but we went on sinning; in spite of your great anger we have continued to do wrong since ancient times.6 All of us have been sinful; even our best actions are filthy through and through. Because of our sins we are like leaves that wither and are blown away by the wind. 7 No one turns to you in prayer; no one goes to you for help. You have hidden yourself from us and have abandoned us because of our sins. 8 But you are our father, LORD. We are like clay, and you are like the potter. You created us, 9 so do not be too angry with us or hold our sins against us for ever. We are your people; be merciful to us.
Mark 13: 24 to end
24 “In the days after that time of trouble the sun will grow dark, the moon will no longer shine,25 the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers in space will be driven from their courses.26 Then the Son of Man will appear, coming in the clouds with great power and glory.27 He will send the angels out to the four corners of the earth to gather God’s chosen people from one end of the world to the other.
28 “Let the fig tree teach you a lesson. When its branches become green and tender and it starts putting out leaves, you know that summer is near.29 In the same way, when you see these things happening, you will know that the time is near, ready to begin.30 Remember that all these things will happen before the people now living have all died.31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 32 “No one knows, however, when that day or hour will come — neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son; only the Father knows.33 Be on watch, be alert, for you do not know when the time will come.34 It will be like a man who goes away from home on a journey and leaves his servants in charge, after giving to each one his own work to do and after telling the doorkeeper to keep watch.35 Be on guard, then, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming — it might be in the evening or at midnight or before dawn or at sunrise.36 If he comes suddenly, he must not find you asleep.37 What I say to you, then, I say to all: watch!”