Morning Prayer 3.9.17, Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, c. 394

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You have been rebellious against the LORD as long as he has known you.

Day Without a Woman yesterday at Washington Square Park, New York City. The one-day strike shut down courts in Providence, Rhode Island and schools in three states; 10 organizers were arrested in NYC for blocking traffic. (Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Rend your hearts, and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Joel 2:13

CONFESSION OF SIN

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

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.

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 you are 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 50

1  The LORD, the God of gods, has spoken; *
and has called the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2  Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, *
God shines forth in glory.
3  Our God will come and will not keep silence; *
before God there is a consuming flame,
and round about a raging storm.
4  God calls the heavens and the earth from above *
to witness the judgment of the chosen people.
5  Gather before me my loyal followers, *
those who have made a covenant with me
and sealed it with sacrifice.”
6  Let the heavens declare the rightness of God’s cause; *
for it is God who is judge.

7  Hear, O my people, and I will speak:
“O Israel, I will bear witness against you; *
for I am God, your God.
8  I do not accuse you because of your sacrifices; *
your offerings are always before me.
9  I will take no bull-calf from your stalls, *
nor he-goats out of your pens;
10  For all the beasts of the forest are mine, *
the herds in their thousands upon the hills.
11  I know every bird in the sky, *
and the creatures of the fields are in my sight.
12  If I were hungry, I would not tell you, *
for the whole world is mine and all that is in it.
13  Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls, *
or drink the blood of goats?
14  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and make good your vows to the Most High.
15  Call upon me in the day of trouble; *
I will deliver you, and you shall honor me.”

16  But to the wicked God says: *
“Why do you recite my statutes,
and take my covenant upon your lips;
17  Since you refuse discipline, *
and toss my words behind your back?
18  When you see thieves, you make them your friends, *
and you cast in your lot with adulterers.
19  You have loosed your lips for evil, *
and harnessed your tongue to a lie.
20  You are always speaking evil of your kin *
and slandering your own flesh and blood.
21  These things you have done, and I kept still, *
and you thought that I am like you.”

22  ”I have made my accusation; *
I have put my case in order before your eyes.
23  Consider this well, you who forget God, *
lest I rend you and there be none to deliver you.
24  Whoever offers me the sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me; *
but to those who keep in my way will I show the salvation of God.”

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
Deuteronomy 9:23 – 10:5 (NRSV)

And when the LORD sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, “Go up and occupy the land that I have given you,” you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God, neither trusting him nor obeying him. You have been rebellious against the LORD as long as he has known you.

Throughout the forty days and forty nights that I lay prostrate before the LORD when the LORD intended to destroy you, I prayed to the LORD and said, “Lord GOD, do not destroy the people who are your very own possession, whom you redeemed in your greatness, whom you brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; pay no attention to the stubbornness of this people, their wickedness and their sin, otherwise the land from which you have brought us might say, ‘Because the LORD was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to let them die in the wilderness.’ For they are the people of your very own possession, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.”

At that time the LORD said to me, “Carve out two tablets of stone like the former ones, and come up to me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood. I will write on the tablets the words that were on the former tablets, which you smashed, and you shall put them in the ark.” So I made an ark of acacia wood, cut two tablets of stone like the former ones, and went up the mountain with the two tablets in my hand. Then he wrote on the tablets the same words as before, the ten commandments that the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain out of the fire on the day of the assembly; and the LORD gave them to me. So I turned and came down from the mountain, and put the tablets in the ark that I had made; and there they are, as the LORD commanded me.

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.

Lafayette Cemetery #1 in the Garden District of New Orleans. The city is below sea level and bodies are laid above ground. (saveourcemeteries.org)

Hebrews 4:1-10 (NRSV)

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

“As in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest,'”

though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day— “today”—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his.

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.

A march for gender equality yesterday in Seoul, South Korea. (Jean Chung/Getty Images)

John 3:16-21 (NRSV)

Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”

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 power of 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.

Gregory’s older brother Basil (the Great) forced him into becoming a bishop because Basil needed the help; he was waging a fierce battle for the trinitarian Nicene faith against the heretical Emperor Valens, who sought to undercut him by dividing his metropolitan See of Cappodocia. Thus Basil took on Gregory as his suffragan bishop of Nyssa, ten miles away. Gregory was awful at being a bishop, but he picked up the fight – and when Basil died suddenly at a young age, followed by their older sister Macrina, who taught them everything they knew, he was ready to defend the Trinitarian belief. Valens and the other Arians thought Jesus was a lesser person than God the Father, and if they had prevailed, it’s doubtful the Church would have survived. Christ would have been relegated to “prophet” or “great teacher” status, not the reconciling Son and Savior we worship today. (Iconographer unknown)

Collect of the Day: Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, c. 394

Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace that, like your bishop Gregory of Nyssa, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect for Thursday in the First Week of Lent

Strengthen us, O Lord, by your grace, that in your might we may overcome all spiritual enemies, and with pure hearts serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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.

Thursday Morning Prayer List

12 Deadliest Places of War, Political Unrest & Violence, 2016
Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, Somalia/Kenya, Nigeria/Cameroon/Niger/Chad, Libya, South Sudan, Turkey, Sudan, Yemen/Saudi Arabia, Egypt

For peace in these nations
Civilians in danger zones
Peacemakers and military personnel
First responders, emergency workers and civilian volunteers
Doctors Without Borders

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: Scenes from St. Gregory of Nyssa Church, San Francisco – Tony Lorenzen, 2010

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