A Prayer for Advent 3: Lord, Restore our Joy (Psalm 126:1-6, John 1:6-8, John 1:19-28, Isaiah 40:1-11)

Kari Dubord, Sunday, December 13, 2020
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Psalm 126 (Listen)

A Song of Ascents.

126:1   When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
  Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
  then they said among the nations,
    “The LORD has done great things for them.”
  The LORD has done great things for us;
    we are glad.
  Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
    like streams in the Negeb!
  Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
  He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
  shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.

(ESV)

John 1:6–8 (Listen)

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

(ESV)

John 1:19–28 (Listen)

19 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

(ESV)

Isaiah 40:1–11 (Listen)

40:1   Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
  that her warfare is ended,
    that her iniquity is pardoned,
  that she has received from the LORD’s hand
    double for all her sins.
  A voice cries:
  “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
  Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
  the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

  A voice says, “Cry!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
  All flesh is grass,
    and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
  The grass withers, the flower fades
    when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
    surely the people are grass.
  The grass withers, the flower fades,
    but the word of our God will stand forever.

  Go on up to a high mountain,
    O Zion, herald of good news;
  lift up your voice with strength,
    O Jerusalem, herald of good news;
    lift it up, fear not;
  say to the cities of Judah,
    “Behold your God!”
10   Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might,
    and his arm rules for him;
  behold, his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.
11   He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
  he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.

(ESV)