Morning Prayer 7.11.18, Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 540

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I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land.

Safe on dry land: all 12 boys trapped in that flooded cave in Thailand have been rescued, along with their coach, a nearly miraculous ending to their three-week ordeal. Above: rushing one of the last evacuees to a waiting helicopter for medical attention. They’re expected to be in quarantine for another week; parents can see them through a window. God bless the rescuers, including the one who died trying to save these boys. (Vincent Thian/Associated Press)

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Psalm 43:3

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

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 119:1-24

1 Happy are they whose way is blameless, *
who walk in the law of the LORD!
2 Happy are they who observe your decrees *
and seek you with all their hearts!
3 Who never do any wrong, *
but always walk in your ways.
4 You laid down your commandments, *
that we should fully keep them.
5 Oh, that my ways were made so direct *
that I might keep your statutes!
6 Then I should not be put to shame, *
when I regard all your commandments.
7 I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, *
when I have learned your righteous judgments.
8 I will keep your statutes; *
do not utterly forsake me.

9 How shall the young cleanse their way? *
By keeping to your words.
10 With my whole heart I seek you; *
let me not stray from your commandments.
11 I treasure your promise in my heart, *
that I may not sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, O LORD; *
instruct me in your statutes.
13 With my lips will I recite *
all the judgments of your mouth.
14 I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees *
than in all manner of riches.
15 I will meditate on your commandments *
and give attention to your ways.
16 My delight is in your statutes; *
I will not forget your word.

17 Deal bountifully with your servant, *
that I may live and keep your word.
18 Open my eyes, that I may see *
the wonders of your law.
19 I am a stranger here on earth; *
do not hide your commandments from me.
20 My soul is consumed at all times *
with longing for your judgments.
21 You have rebuked the insolent; *
cursed are they who stray from your commandments!
22 Turn from me shame and rebuke, *
for I have kept your decrees.
23 Even though rulers sit and plot against me, *
I will meditate on your statutes.
24 For your decrees are my delight, *
and they are my counselors.

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.

Sandro Botticelli, 1482: The Trials of Moses

THE LESSONS
Deuteronomy 1:1-18 (NRSV)

These are the words that Moses spoke to all Israel beyond the Jordan—in the wilderness, on the plain opposite Suph, between Paran and Tophel, Laban, Hazeroth, and Di-zahab. (By the way of Mount Seir it takes eleven days to reach Kadesh-barnea from Horeb.) In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the Israelites just as the LORD had commanded him to speak to them. This was after he had defeated King Sihon of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, and King Og of Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei. Beyond the Jordan in the land of Moab, Moses undertook to expound this law as follows:

The LORD our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Resume your journey, and go into the hill country of the Amorites as well as into the neighboring regions—the Arabah, the hill country, the Shephelah, the Negeb, and the seacoast—the land of the Canaanites and the Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you; go in and take possession of the land that I swore to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their descendants after them.”

At that time I said to you, “I am unable by myself to bear you. The LORD your God has multiplied you, so that today you are as numerous as the stars of heaven. May the LORD, the God of your ancestors, increase you a thousand times more and bless you, as he has promised you! But how can I bear the heavy burden of your disputes all by myself? Choose for each of your tribes individuals who are wise, discerning, and reputable to be your leaders.” You answered me, “The plan you have proposed is a good one.” So I took the leaders of your tribes, wise and reputable individuals, and installed them as leaders over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officials, throughout your tribes. I charged your judges at that time: “Give the members of your community a fair hearing, and judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien. You must not be partial in judging: hear out the small and the great alike; you shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. Any case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.” So I charged you at that time with all the things that you should do.

Canticle: Third Song of Isaiah
Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19

Arise, shine, for your light has come, *
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land; *
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise, *
and his glory will appear upon you.
Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut.
They will call you, The City of the Lord, *
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Violence will no more be heard in your land, *
ruin or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls, Salvation, *
and all your portals, Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day; *
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.
The Lord will be your everlasting light, *
and your God will be your glory.

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.

Romans 9:1-18 (NRSV)

I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all Israelites truly belong to Israel, and not all of Abraham’s children are his true descendants; but “It is through Isaac that descendants shall be named for you.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as descendants. For this is what the promise said, “About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son.” Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, not by works but by his call) she was told, “The elder shall serve the younger.” As it is written,

“I have loved Jacob,
but I have hated Esau.”

What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

So it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who shows mercy. For the scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he chooses, and he hardens the heart of whomever he chooses.

Canticle: Song of Zechariah
Luke 1:68-79

Blessed are you, Lord, the God of Israel; *
you have come to your people and set them free.
You have raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of your servant David.
Through your holy prophets you promised of old
to save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
To show mercy to our forebears, *
and to remember your holy covenant.
This was the oath you swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship you without fear, *
holy and righteous before you
all the days of our life.
And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way,
To give God’s people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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.

Tombs in the Kidron Valley (Generation Word)

Matthew 23:27-39 (NRSV)

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell?

“Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you, desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

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

St. Benedict, father of Western monasticism. He was a solitary monk in a cave west of Rome who never intended to start a religious order at all; but gradually a community developed around him, attracted by his wisdom and simplicity, so he wrote a Rule for them to live by. The highlights of his communal approach to humanity’s quest for spiritual union with God are prayer, labor and hospitality. (artist unknown)

Collect of the Day: St. Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 540

Everlasting God, we give you thanks for the purity and humility with which you endowed your servant Benedict: Grant us grace, in union with his example and prayers, to hallow and conform our souls and bodies to the purpose of your most holy will; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Grace

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power; that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the General Convention

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in General Convention for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Crepe myrtle, Louisiana, 2013. (June Butler)

For Joy in God’s Creation

O heavenly Father, you have filled the world with beauty: Open our eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that, rejoicing in your whole creation, we may learn to serve you with gladness; for the sake of him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday Morning Prayer List: Healing of Body, Mind & Soul
special intention today: Keith Parr, departed

Mother Debbie, MDS
Honorary Deacon Clint, cancer
Barry Smith, cancer
Aaron, Cancer
Solange, calciphylaxis
Nancy, surgeries
Dana V., follicular lymphoma
Nicky C., cancer
Judith, ovarian cancer
Natalie
Kristen, health and PTSD
Susanne, high risk pregnancy
Norma C., severe leg infection
Tobias, post-surgery
Emily Faulkenberry, leukemia
Sharon L., cancer
Tom’s Aunt Paulette

For Caregivers
Teresa
Linda
Watt
Wendy

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.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the blessing of the God of Abraham and Sarah, and of Jesus Christ born of our sister Mary, and of the Holy Spirit, who broods over the world as a mother over her children, be upon us and remain with us always. Amen.++

VIDEO: God, my King, thy might confessing (#414, Stuttgart, German, 1715; Richard Mant, para. Ps. 145:1-12) – St. John’s, Detroit, 2016

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