4th December 2022 10.30am – Second Sunday of Advent Eucharist

To download a copy of the order of service, please click here:

22 12 04 2nd Sunday of Advent Eucharist

To watch this week's service on YouTube, please click here:




The Readings

Isaiah 11.1-10

A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.

He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Matthew 3.1-12

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,
‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.” ’
Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’

Scripture Quotations are from: New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The Sermon
By Rev Sue Hammersley

On this second week of Advent we are reminded of the prophets. Our first reading, from Isaiah, reminds us that true prophets raise our awareness of those whose needs are being ignored: they are the mouthpiece of the God of righteousness, justice and integrity.   Listen to the words of some of the prophets in scripture:
ISAIAH  “Seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”  (Isaiah 1:17)
EZEKIEL - “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”  (Ezekiel 16:49)
MICAH  “ and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”  (Micah 6:8)
Prophets are people of vision and purpose.  They remind us that God comforts the distressed and distresses the comfortable.  They challenge us to turn away from those things which are not godly and orientate ourselves towards God, for the good of others.  This is what it means to repent – to turn around, to change our minds, to aim for better.
We are in great need of prophets today.
I suspect there are many prophets in our midst but we might not recognise them as such.  There are also many who claim to be prophets whose message is far from godly.
I wonder whether you can think of anyone who might be seen as a contemporary prophet?  It might not be someone famous, it might be a member of this church or someone you know; someone who speaks truth to power and isn’t silenced by the potential consequences.  It will be a person of courage and vision, someone through whom God’s light shines, whatever their religious beliefs.
I thought of Greta Thunberg whose passion to halt climate change led her to disrupt school lessons and create an environment where people of all ages could see the emergency which faces us.  She was (is) persistent, aggressive with her message that we have no time to waste now is the time to change policies and behaviour.
I thought of Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United footballer who challenged the government over their provision for children’s meals over school holidays.  He used his public profile to become a children’s advocate.  His voice had authenticity because he too had experienced poverty when he was growing up and if his community had not rallied round him he would not have been able to become the player that he is now.
I think of the women in Iran who have been campaigning for the freedom to decide what they wear.  For many years there have been peaceful protests against the forced wearing of the hijab but in September a young woman called Mahsa Amini died in police custody.  Following her death there was an increase in protests calling for regime change and political freedom.
Our Gospel draws our attention to John the Baptist.  He is the prophet who came to prepare the way for one who is to come, one who was more powerful than him.  He appeared in the wilderness of Judea proclaiming that God’s kingdom is near.  He created a movement for change, drawing people to him from local towns and even Jerusalem.  He challenged religious leaders to have integrity – to bear good fruit – a message which is repeated in the Gospels and Epistles as a religious revolution ensued.
When Paul writes to followers of Jesus in Corinth he talks about the gifts of the Spirit:
To one is given wisdom, and to another knowledge, to another faith, to another gifts of healing, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are activated by one and the same Spirit.  (Paraphrase on 1 Cor 12)
Prophecy is named as one of the gifts of the Spirit but, as with the other gifts, it is validated by the fruit it yields.
Later on in Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 7.15-18) Jesus warns people of false prophets…
‘…who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. …every good tree bears good fruit…  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
A true prophet speaks truth to power and grace and love to those who are downtrodden; a true prophet challenges us to turn away from those things which are for self-gain and towards God’s kingdom, the liberating good news for all people.
Advent gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect upon our values, the principles which guide our decisions and actions.  We are reminded of the voices of those who have prepared the way for God’s work amongst us and we are reminded that this is our calling too… We are all called to bring forth good fruit, in ourselves and for the benefit of the whole community.
Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord!


The Prayers
Prepared by Joe


We pray for the Church of Christ, for Bishop Pete and Bishop Sophie, our Archbishops Justin and Stephen, all here who lead us in worship and prayer, and all those whose time and talents are given to St Mary’s, St John’s and St Mark’s. We pray for the continued safety of Archbishop Justin and all those with him in Ukraine at this time.

Lord of all glory
Hear our prayer.


On the second Sunday in Advent, we wait patiently and prayerfully for a time when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

Lord of all glory
Hear our prayer.


We pray for the people of Ukraine and hope for a peaceful resolution to that conflict. We pray for families on both sides of the conflict who have seen their members go to war. We pray for our sister city of Donetsk.

Lord of all glory
Hear our prayer.


We pray for those in national and local government, that they will govern with righteousness and justice, particularly for the poor and needy of the Earth.

We pray for our community here in Walkley, and for the city of Sheffield, and for our neighbours and friends, for all those affected by the increases in food and energy prices. We pray for and give thanks for all those working with food banks and warm spaces to mitigate the effects of the cost of living crisis.
We give thanks for all those involved in the Tree Festival and other Advent and Christmas celebrations in our community.

Lord of all glory
Hear our prayer.


We pray for the aged and infirm, and those sick in mind, body or spirit, and those who find life especially difficult at this time. We pray that you strengthen them and bring them the healing and peace that belong to your kingdom. In a few moments of silence, we bring to mind those we know who need your healing presence.
Lord of all glory
Hear our prayer.


We pray for those currently close to death, and those accompanying them on this final part of their Earthly journey. We pray for those who have died, recently and in the past, and those who mourn.

Lord of all glory
Hear our prayer.


Finally, Lord, we silently bring before you those special to us, and also those issues and concerns that we have in our own lives.

Lord of all glory
Hear our prayer.


Rejoicing in the communion of Mary, Mark, John and of all the Saints, let us commend ourselves, and one another, and all our life, to God. Merciful Father: accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.