Morning Prayer 12.24.15, Thursday of Advent 4

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Look toward the east, O Jerusalem,
and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

Manger Square in Bethlehem a few days ago: empty. (Jim Hollander/European Pressphoto Agency)

Manger Square in Bethlehem a few days ago: empty. (Jim Hollander/European Pressphoto Agency)

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. Isaiah 40:5

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

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. Alleluia.

Psalm 95:1-7
Venite

Come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before God’s presence with thanksgiving;
and raise to the Lord a shout with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God;
you are great above all gods.
In your hand are the caverns of the earth;
and the heights of the hills are yours also.
The sea is yours, for you made it,
and your hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down and bend the knee,
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For you are our God,
and we are the people of your pasture, and the sheep of your hand.
Oh, that today we would hearken to your voice!

Psalm 45

1  My heart is stirring with a noble song;
let me recite what I have fashioned for the king; *
my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.
2  You are the fairest of men; *
grace flows from your lips,
because God has blessed you for ever.
3  Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior, *
in your pride and in your majesty.
4  Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth *
and for the sake of justice.
5  Your right hand will show you marvelous things; *
your arrows are very sharp, O mighty warrior.
6  The peoples are falling at your feet, *
and the king’s enemies are losing heart.
7  Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, *
a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your reign;
you love righteousness and hate iniquity.
8  Therefore God, your God, has anointed you *
with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
9  All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, *
and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
10  Kings’ daughters stand among the ladies of the court; *
on your right hand is the queen,
adorned with the gold of Ophir.
11  ”Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; *
forget your people and your father’s house.
12  The king will have pleasure in your beauty; *
he is your master; therefore do him honor.
13  The people of Tyre are here with a gift; *
the rich among the people seek your favor.”
14  All glorious is the princess as she enters; *
her gown is cloth-of-gold.
15  In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; *
after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
16  With joy and gladness they are brought, *
and enter into the palace of the king.
17  “In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; *
you shall make them princes over all the earth.
18  I will make your name to be remembered
from one generation to another; *
therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever.”

Psalm 46

1  God is our refuge and strength, *
a very present help in trouble.
2  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *
and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
3  Though its waters rage and foam, *
and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
4  The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

5  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, *
the holy habitation of the Most High.
6  God is in the midst of the city;
it shall not be overthrown; *
God shall help it at the break of day.
7  The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; *
God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.
8  The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

9  Come now and look upon the works of the LORD, *
what awesome things God has done on earth.
10  It is the LORD who makes war to cease in all the world; *
who breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire.
11  ”Be still, then, and know that I am God; *
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth.”
12  The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

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.

THE LESSONS
Baruch 4:36-5:9 (NRSV)

Look toward the east, O Jerusalem,
and see the joy that is coming to you from God.
Look, your children are coming, whom you sent away;
they are coming, gathered from east and west,
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing in the glory of God.

Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.
Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting;
for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.
For God will give you evermore the name,
“Righteous Peace, Godly Glory.”

Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height;
look toward the east,
and see your children gathered from west and east
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that God has remembered them.
For they went out from you on foot,
led away by their enemies;
but God will bring them back to you,
carried in glory, as on a royal throne.
For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low
and the valleys filled up, to make level ground,
so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.
The woods and every fragrant tree
have shaded Israel at God’s command.
For God will lead Israel with joy,
in the light of his glory,
with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.

Canticle: The Song of Moses
Exodus 15:1-6, 11-13, 17-18

I will sing to the Lord, for he is lofty and uplifted; *
the horse and its rider has he hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my refuge; *
the Lord has become my Savior.
This is my God and I will praise him, *
the God of my people and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a mighty warrior; *
Yahweh is his Name.
The chariots of Pharaoh and his army has he hurled into the sea;
the finest of those who bear armor have been drowned in the Red Sea.
The fathomless deep has overwhelmed them; *
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in might; *
your right hand, O Lord, has overthrown the enemy.
Who can be compared with you, O Lord, among the gods? *
who is like you, glorious in holiness,
awesome in renown, and worker of wonders?
You stretched forth your right hand; *
the earth swallowed them up.
With your constant love you led the people you redeemed; *
with your might you brought them in safety to your holy dwelling.
You will bring them in and plant them *
on the mount of your possession,
The resting-place you have made for yourself, O Lord, *
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hand has established.
The Lord shall reign *
for ever and for ever.

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.

A wall runs hundreds of miles through the Occupied Territories in the West Bank, separating apartment buildings for Israeli settlers from the Shuafat refugee camp near Jerusalem, above. The wall is unfinished, but Bethlehem and its holy sites are surrounded. (Ammar Award/Reuters)

A wall runs hundreds of miles through the Occupied Territories in the West Bank, separating apartment buildings for Israeli settlers from the Shuafat refugee camp near Jerusalem, above left. The wall is unfinished, but Bethlehem and its holy sites are surrounded. (Ammar Awad/Reuters)

Galatians 3:23 – 4:7 (NRSV)

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

My point is this: heirs, as long as they are minors, are no better than slaves, though they are the owners of all the property; but they remain under guardians and trustees until the date set by the father. So with us; while we were minors, we were enslaved to the elemental spirits of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

Canticle: Song of the Redeemed
Revelation 15:3-4

O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done, *
surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth, *
O King of all the ages.

Who can fail to do you homage, Lord
and sing the praises of your Name? *
for you only are the Holy One.
All nations will draw near and fall down before you *
because your just and holy works have been revealed.

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.

(artist unknown)

(artist unknown)

Matthew 1:18-25 (NRSV)

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

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

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray.

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.

V.  Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
R.  Govern and uphold them, now and always.
V.  Day by day we bless you;
R.  We praise your Name for ever.
V.  Lord, keep us from all sin today;
R.  Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
V.  Lord, show us your love and mercy;
R.  For we put our trust in you.
V.  In you, Lord, is our hope;
R.  And we shall never hope in vain.

Palestinian security forces on a drill Tuesday near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (Majdi Mohammed/Associated Press)

Palestinian security forces on a drill Tuesday near the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (Majdi Mohammed/Associated Press)

Collect of the Day: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Collect for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Diocese of York, with Beverley, Hull, Selby and Whitby, England

Ceiling of the Chapter House at York Minster. (Michael Wilson)

Ceiling of the Chapter House at York Minster. (Michael Wilson)

Thursday Morning Prayer List

In Places of War, Political Unrest & Violence
Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, México, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela, Yemen

For peace in these nations
For military personnel
For civilians in danger zones
For first responders and emergency workers

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

Prayer for Mission

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfil now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

God’s blessing be with us,
Christ’s peace be with us,
the Spirit’s outpouring be with us,
now and always. Amen.++

VIDEO: O come, O come, Emmanuel (Plainsong, Mode 1, 15th C.; adapt. Thomas Helmore; Latin, c. 9th C., tr. John Mason Neale) – Enya, with footage from the film “Son of God” (2014)

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