Evening Prayer 5.2.13: St. Athanasius, Defender of Christ’s Humanity & Divinity

“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.”

Jesus heals the Gerasene demoniac. (artist unknown)

Jesus heals the Gerasene demoniac. (artist unknown)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:2

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, be not far from us.
Come quickly to help us, O God.

Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

Hymn: Light of the World
Phos hilaron

Light of the world in grace and beauty,
Mirror of God’s eternal face,
Transparent flame of love’s free duty,
You bring salvation to our race.
Now, as we see the lights of evening,
We raise our voice in hymns of praise;
Worthy are you of endless blessing,
Sun of our night, lamp of our days.

Psalm 74 (PCP)

O God, why have you utterly cast us off? *
why is your wrath so hot against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation that you purchased long ago, *
the tribe you redeemed to be your inheritance,
and Mount Zion where you dwell.
Turn your steps toward the endless ruins; *
the enemy has laid waste everything in your sanctuary.
Your adversaries roared in your holy place; *
they set up their banners as tokens of victory.
Like those who come with axes to a grove of trees; *
they broke down all your carved work with hatchets and hammers.
They set fire to your holy place; *
they defiled the dwelling-place of your Name
and razed it to the ground.
They said to themselves, “Let us destroy them altogether.” *
They burned down all the meeting-places of God in the land.
There are no signs for us to see;
there is no prophet left; *
there is not one among us who knows how long.
How long, O God, will the adversary scoff? *
will the enemy blaspheme your Name for ever?
Why do you draw back your hand? *
why is your right hand hidden in your bosom?
Yet God is my Sovereign from ancient times, *
victorious in the midst of the earth.
You divided the sea by your might *
and shattered the heads of the dragons upon the waters;
You crushed the heads of Leviathan *
and gave it to the people of the desert for food.
You split open spring and torrent; *
you dried up ever-flowing rivers.
Yours is the day, yours also the night; *
you established the moon and the sun.
You fixed all the boundaries of the earth; *
you made both summer and winter.
Remember, O LORD, how the enemy scoffed, *
how a foolish people despised your Name.
Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts; *
never forget the lives of your poor.
Look upon your covenant; *
the dark places of the earth are haunts of violence.
Let not the oppressed turn away ashamed; *
let the poor and needy praise your Name.
Arise, O God, maintain your cause; *
remember how fools revile you all day long.
Forget not the clamor of your adversaries, *
the unending tumult of those who rise up against you.

Praise to the holy and undivided Trinity, one God:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE LESSON
Luke 8:26-39 (NRSV)

Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. As Jesus stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me” –  for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Canticle: The Song of Mary
Magnificat
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in you, O God my Savior, *
for you have looked with favor on your lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,
and holy is your Name.
You have mercy on those who fear you *
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm, *
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones, *
and lifting up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things, *
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel, *
for you have remembered your promise of mercy,
The promise made to our forebears, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.

Show us your mercy, O Lord;
And grant us your salvation.
Clothe your ministers with righteousness;
Let your people sing with joy.
Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
For only in you can we live in safety.
Lord, keep this nation under your care;
And guide us in the way of justice and truth.
Let your way be known upon earth;
Your saving health among all nations.
Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten;
Nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Create in us clean hearts, O God;
And sustain us by your Holy Spirit.

The Council of Nicaea, which produced the Creed we say at the Eucharist, was called because of the argument Athanasius led against a priest named Arius over the meaning of Christ’s Incarnation. The Council sided with Athanasius, which is why we say that Christ is “of one Being with the Father.”

The Council of Nicaea, which produced the Creed we say at the Eucharist, was called because of the argument Athanasius led against a priest named Arius over the meaning of Christ’s Incarnation. The Council sided with Athanasius, which is why we say that Christ is “of one Being with the Father.”

Collect of the Day: Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, 373

Uphold your Church, O God of truth, as you upheld your servant Athanasius, to maintain and proclaim boldly the catholic faith against all opposition, trusting solely in the grace of your eternal Word, who took upon himself our humanity that we might share his divinity; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

In Times of Conflict

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Mission

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.++

A recurring dream: Christ stands at the entrance of the cave, beckoning me in. I've made it three steps so far.

A recurring dream: Christ stands at the entrance of a cave, beckoning me in. I’ve made it three steps so far – into a far more beautiful cave than this.

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