Scripture Readings

Isaiah 63:14–64:5

Like cattle that go down into the valley,
 the spirit of the Lord gave them rest.
Thus you led your people,
 to make for yourself a glorious name.

A Prayer of Penitence

Look down from heaven and see,
 from your holy and glorious habitation.
Where are your zeal and your might?
 The yearning of your heart and your compassion?
 They are withheld from me.
For you are our father,
 though Abraham does not know us
 and Israel does not acknowledge us;
you, O Lord, are our father;
 our Redeemer from of old is your name.
Why, O Lord, do you make us stray from your ways
 and harden our heart, so that we do not fear you?
Turn back for the sake of your servants,
 for the sake of the tribes that are your heritage.
Your holy people took possession for a little while;
 but now our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary.
We have long been like those whom you do not rule,
 like those not called by your name.

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
 so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
 and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
 so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
 you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
 no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
 who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right,
 those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
 because you hid yourself we transgressed.

Hebrews 2:11–18

For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying,

‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,
 in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.’

And again,

‘I will put my trust in him.’

And again,

‘Here am I and the children whom God has given me.’

Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

I John 3:2–17

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.

Love One Another

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be astonished, brothers and sisters, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another. Whoever does not love abides in death. All who hate a brother or sister are murderers, and you know that murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them. We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

St. Luke 1:24–38

After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, ‘This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favourably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.’

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

Prayers

Thematic Prayer

O God,
we rejoice in your salvation,
for your Spirit brought to life in Mary
the one who saves your people from their sins.
Send your Spirit on your church
to quicken all that is barren in us,
that we may give birth to Christ
for our world today. Amen.


Intercessory Prayer

O Loving One,
your daughter Mary prayed to be your faithful servant.
Hear the prayers of our hearts on behalf of your world.

Prayers of the People, concluding with:

Ever–surprising One,
as your messenger came to Mary
with words of your favour
and the pledge of wondrous new life,
may we, in our day,
prove ourselves
as ready to serve you,
and as willing to bear the life you offer,
for the blessing of our world. Amen.


Scripture Prayer

God of impossibilities,
you chose to enter human flesh
through the one who called herself lowly.
Teach us who daily receive announcements of Christ's coming
to live as Mary did,
trusting in your power
to bring your desire to fulfillment. Amen.


Prayer Focus

For the month of March we at GFA World are focusing our prayers for Water. Please join us in praying for those needing clean water.

Water is essential for life. Yet 663 million people across the globe don’t have access to safe drinking water.1 In many of these areas, water can be scarce, and locals are forced to travel miles, often by foot, to obtain it and then haul it back to their homes for everyday use. But the water is often contaminated, and the people forced to drink it suffer from waterborne diseases.

GFA is helping meet the need of water-starved people by providing Jesus Wells and BioSand water filters, thanks to which 37.5 million people in Asia now have access to clean water. These resources offer life and health to entire communities and testify of the Living Water.

But many remain in need.

Please join us in praying for clean water, and the people who need it, this month.

Please pray with us


1Mains, Karen Burton. Don’t Drink the Water! (Unless You Know What’s in It). GFA World. https://www.gfa.org/special-report/global-clean-water-crisis/#solutions-safe-water. July 7, 2020.


Source for Scripture Passages: Scripture texts are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Source for Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Reproduced from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers copyright © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Used by permission. A complete edition of the prayers is available through Augsburg Fortress.

Source for Art: Angelico, fra, approximately 1400-1455. Annunciation to Mary, from Art in the Christian Tradition a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=56337 [retrieved 15 February 2022]. Original source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Angelico,_prado.jpg.

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