See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight– indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
The Song of Zechariah
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers *
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
ON JORDAN’S BANK THE BAPTIST’S CRY
On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry
Announces that the Lord is nigh;
Awake and hearken for he brings
Glad tidings of the King of kings.
Then cleansed be every breast from sin;
Make straight the way for God within,
And let each heart prepare a home
Where such a mighty guest may come.
For thou art our salvation, Lord,
Our refuge and our great reward;
Without thy grace we waste away
Like flowers that wither and decay.
HARK! THE GLAD SOUND!
Hark! The glad sound! The Savior comes,
The Savior promised long;
Let every heart prepare a throne,
And every voice a song.
Our glad hosannas, Prince of Peace,
Thy welcome shall proclaim;
And heaven’s eternal arches ring
With thy beloved Name.
LORD CHRIST, WHEN FIRST THOU CAM’ST TO EARTH
Lord Christ, when first thou cam’st to earth, upon a cross they bound thee,
And mocked thy saving kingship then by thorns with which they crowned thee;
And still our wrongs may weave thee now new thorns to pierce that steady brow,
And robe of sorrow round thee.
O awful Love, which found no room in life where sin denied thee,
And, doomed to death, must bring to doom the powers which crucified thee,
Till not a stone was left on stone, and all those nations’ pride o’erthrown,
Went down to dust beside thee!
New advent of the love of Christ,shall we again refuse thee,
Till in the night of hate and war we perish as we lose thee?
From old unfaith our souls release to seek the kingdom of thy peace,
By which alone we choose thee.
O wounded hands of Jesus, build in us thy new creation;
Our pride is dust, our vaunt is stilled, we wait thy revelation;
O love that triumphs over loss, we bring our hearts before thy cross,
To finish thy salvation.