Morning Prayer 5.9.17, Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople, 389

2 Live Webcasts Today, 7 & 9 a.m. Eastern

Good service today at 7 a.m.; watch here.
The 9 a.m. was wonderful too; go here.

Christ himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Diehard Maoists in Changsha, China, the Chairman’s hometown, are reportedly alarmed that a new, official Protestant Church is rising 260 feet tall (plus cross), higher than a giant statue of the Great Leader himself just ten miles away. One said, “It’s a threat to our ideological security,” whatever that means. China has 60 million Christians, most directed to the official Catholic and Protestant “patriotic societies,” while others worship underground in house churches. Meanwhile most local residents say they’re in favor of Jesus, in favor of Mao, and whatever else they’re supposed to be in favor of; apparently it’s all good in Changsha. (Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times)

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 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.”

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
Wisdom 3:1-9 (NRSV)

But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died,
and their departure was thought to be a disaster,
and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
For though in the sight of others they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good,
because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
like gold in the furnace he tried them,
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
and will run like sparks through the stubble.
They will govern nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord will reign over them forever.
Those who trust in him will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide with him in love,
because grace and mercy are upon his holy ones,
and he watches over his elect.

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.

Colossians 1:15-23 (NRSV)

Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

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.

Elsie Anna Wood: Sermon on the Mount

Luke 6:12-26 (NRSV)

Now during those days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.

“Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.

“Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.

“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.”

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.

Gregory was a bishop’s son, and though he was a committed Christian he did not want to become a priest, much less a bishop. But he was so effective at fighting the Arian heresy regarding the divinity of Christ that his friend St. Basil ordained him anyway; Gregory was furious and wouldn’t speak to him for years.

Collect of the Day: Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishop of Constantinople, 389

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 Nazianzus, 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.

Georgia Paratrooper Killed Last Week in Mosul Campaign
They Have Names, compiled since 2007 by Clint Gilliland

Total War Deaths: 8,372

Afghanistan: Total Deaths: 3,532
– no U.S. or allied casualties reported this past week

Iraq: Total Deaths: 4,840
LEE, Weston C., 25, 1st LT, US Army, Bluffton, GA, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division

Friends of a Georgia soldier killed in Iraq are making sure his sacrifice will not be forgotten. They said 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee paid the ultimate price after leaving a huge legacy at the University of North Georgia. Flags were at half-staff at the university; Lee was commissioned by UNG’s Military College in 2014. The Department of Defense said he was killed this past Saturday when an IED detonated during a patrol outside Mosul as part of advise and assist support group. Friends said Lee had an infectious spirit as a fraternity brother and at the campus barracks at the military college, where the older, wiser Lee was a leader. “He was really just a motivation, inspiration to us all. If you walked around with Wes on campus, everyone knew him. When I go into the service, he was an inspiration. I hope to be half the soldier he was,” said friend Paul Mitchell. Lee will soon be among other fallen services members etched on a campus memorial. His classmates have started a GoFundMe account to set up a scholarship in his name at UNG. Lt. Lee was from Bluffton, Georgia, but will be buried with honors at Arlington Cemetery. Awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutist Badge, and the Army Service Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal.. (Reportage: Fox 5, Atlanta)

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: Here I am to worship (Hillsong) – Randy Travis, 2005 (PG-13, violent images)

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