Morning Prayer 5.2.17, Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, 373

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In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

You may have seen the headlines about famine in South Sudan, and you may have prayed with us for the relief of the people there and an end to the fighting; none of what’s been said is an abstraction. Men, women and children are dying of starvation for no reason except human greed and hatred, while world politicians bicker, flail and change the subject. But this photo shows what God sees, and if we are followers of Christ, we must see it too. These folks are actually the lucky ones; they are still alive, but barely, and someone is trying to help. (Lauren Harnett/Oxfam International)

Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24

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.

Christ Our Passover
1 Cor. 5:7-8; Rom. 6:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:20-22

Alleluia.
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us; *
therefore let us keep the feast,
Not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, *
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia.

Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; *
death no longer has dominion over him.
The death that he died, he died to sin, once for all; *
but the life he lives, he lives to God.
So also consider yourselves dead to sin, *
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Alleluia.

Christ has been raised from the dead, *
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since by a man came death, *
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, *
so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Alleluia.

Psalm 26

1  Give judgment for me, O LORD,
for I have lived with integrity; *
I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.
2  Test me, O LORD, and try me; *
examine my heart and my mind.
3  For your love is before my eyes; *
I have walked faithfully with you.
4  I have not sat with the worthless, *
nor do I consort with the deceitful.
5  I have hated the company of evildoers; *
I will not sit down with the wicked.
6  I will wash my hands in innocence, O LORD, *
that I may go in procession round your altar,
7  Singing aloud a song of thanksgiving *
and recounting all your wonderful deeds.
8  LORD, I love the house in which you dwell *
and the place where your glory abides.
9  Do not sweep me away with sinners, *
nor my life with those who thirst for blood,
10  Whose hands are full of evil plots, *
and their right hand full of bribes.
11  As for me, I will live with integrity, *
redeem me, O LORD, and have pity on me.
12  My foot stands on level ground; *
in the full assembly I will bless the LORD.

Psalm 28

1  O LORD, I call to you;
my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry; *
lest, if you do not hear me,
I become like those who go down to the Pit.
2  Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, *
when I lift up my hand to your holy of holies.
3  Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers, *
who speak peaceably with their neighbors,
while strife is in their hearts.
4  Repay them according to their deeds, *
and according to the wickedness of their actions.
5  According to the work of their hands repay them, *
and give them their just deserts.
6  O LORD, they have no understanding of your doings,
nor of the works of your hands; *
therefore you will break them down and not build them up.
7  Blessed is the LORD! *
for you have heard the voice of my prayer.
8  The LORD is my strength and my shield; *
my heart trusts in you, and I have been helped;
9  Therefore my heart dances for joy, *
and in my song will I praise you.
10  You, O LORD, are the strength of your people, *
a safe refuge for your anointed.
11  Save your people and bless your inheritance; *
shepherd them and carry them 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.

William Blake: Nebuchadnezzar crawling on hands and knees. (Tate Gallery, London)

THE LESSONS
Daniel 4:28-37 (NRSV)

All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king said, “Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws. When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me.

I blessed the Most High,
and praised and honored the one who lives forever.
For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation.

All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does what he wills with the host of heaven
and the inhabitants of the earth.
There is no one who can stay his hand
or say to him, “What are you doing?”

At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counselors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven,

for all his works are truth,
and his ways are justice;
and he is able to bring low.

Canticle:  A Song of Pilgrimage
Ecclesiasticus 51:13-16, 20b-22

Before I ventured forth,
even while I was very young, *
I sought wisdom openly in my prayer.
In the forecourts of the temple I asked for her, *
and I will seek her to the end.
From first blossom to early fruit, *
she has been the delight of my heart.
My foot has kept firmly to the true path, *
diligently from my youth have I pursued her.
I inclined my ear a little and received her; *
I found for myself much wisdom and became adept in her.
To the one who gives me wisdom will I give glory, *
for I have resolved to live according to her way.
From the beginning I gained courage from her, *
therefore I will not be forsaken.
In my inmost being I have been stirred to seek her, *
therefore have I gained a good possession.
As my reward the Almighty has given me the gift of language,*
and with it will I offer praise to 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.

1 John 4:7-21 (NRSV)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

Canticle: A Song of Faith
1 Peter 1:3-4, 18-21

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, *
by divine mercy we have a new birth into a living hope;
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, *
we have an inheritance that is imperishable in heaven.
The ransom that was paid to free us *
was not paid in silver or gold,
But in the precious blood of Christ, *
the Lamb without spot or stain.
God raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory *
so that we might have faith and hope in 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.

Luke 4:31-37 (NRSV)

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

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 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.

Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria, was the greatest defender of Christ as both Son and Equal of God the Father. He wrote, “The Savior of us all, the Word of God, in his great love took to himself a body and moved as Man among men, meeting their senses, so to speak, halfway. He became himself an object for the senses, so that those who were seeking God in sensible things might apprehend the Father through the works which he, the Word of God, did in the body.” Athan battled with Arius, whose heresy denying Christ’s equality with God was probably the biggest threat to the catholic faith in all of history. (Carl Rohl-Smith, Frederikskirken, Copenhagen; Wikipedia)

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.

2 More Americans Killed in Afghan War Last Week
They Have Names, compiled since 2007 by Clint Gilliland

Total War Deaths: 8,371

Iraq: Total Deaths: 4,839
-no U.S. or allied casualties reported this past week

Afghanistan: Total Deaths: 3,532
RODGERS, Joshua P., 22, SGT, US Army, Bloomington, IL, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
THOMAS, Cameron H., 23, SGT, US Army, Kettering, OH, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

The two U.S. service members killed fighting ISIS in Afghanistan in April 2017 were both decorated Army Rangers from the American heartland who were on their third deployments. The U.S. Army has identified the soldiers as Sgt. Joshua P. Rodgers, 22, who was assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, and stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia and Sgt. Cameron H. Thomas, 23, who was assigned to Company D, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, also at Fort Benning. The Pentagon is investigating whether the men were killed by friendly fire, ABC News reported. The military said both were killed during combat operations against ISIS in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, in the area near where the U.S. recently dropped the “Mother of All Bombs” on the terrorist organization.

For Those in the Armed Forces of our Country

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Peace

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

Collect for Mission

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14++

VIDEO: I need thee every hour (I Need Thee, Robert Lowry; Annie S. Hawks, refrain by Robert Lowry) – Coon Rapids United Methodist Church, Michigan, 2014

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