Morning Prayer 4.3.19, Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253

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Thus says the LORD: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you.

People in Penang, Malaysia found themselves wondering “What the heck is that?” Monday as a huge waterspout formed offshore, made land, then quickly dispersed, leaving behind 50 damaged homes and businesses. Weather forecasters worldwide rushed to explain with all their charts, scientific jargon, animation and videos, but afterward most people looked at each other and said, “What the heck is that?” No injuries were reported. (Eric De Smet/Reuters)

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

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

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 101

1 I will sing of mercy and justice; *
to you, O LORD, will I sing praises.
2 I will strive to follow a blameless course;
oh, when will you come to me? *
I will walk with sincerity of heart within my house.
3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; *
I hate the doers of evil deeds;
they shall not remain with me.
4 A crooked heart shall be far from me; *
I will not know evil.
5 Those who in secret slander their neighbors I will destroy; *
those who have a haughty look and a proud heart I cannot abide.
6 My eyes are upon the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me, *
and only those who lead a blameless life shall be my servants.
7 Those who act deceitfully shall not dwell in my house, *
and those who tell lies shall not continue in my sight.
8 I will soon destroy all the wicked in the land, *
that I may root out all evildoers from the city of the LORD.

Psalm 109:1-4, 20-30

1 Hold not your tongue, O God of my praise; *
for the mouth of the wicked,
the mouth of the deceitful, is opened against me.
2 They speak to me with a lying tongue; *
they encompass me with hateful words
and fight against me without a cause.
3 Despite my love, they accuse me; *
but as for me, I pray for them.
4 They repay evil for good, *
and hatred for my love.

20 But you, O Lord my GOD,
oh, deal with me according to your Name; *
for your tender mercy’s sake, deliver me.
21 For I am poor and needy, *
and my heart is wounded within me.
22 I have faded away like a shadow when it lengthens; *
I am shaken off like a locust.
23 My knees are weak through fasting, *
and my flesh is wasted and gaunt.
24 I have become a reproach to them; *
they see and shake their heads.
25 Help me, O LORD my God; *
save me for your mercy’s sake.
26 Let them know that this is your hand, *
that you, O LORD, have done it.
27 They may curse, but you will bless; *
let those who rise up against me be put to shame,
and your servant will rejoice.
28 Let my accusers be clothed with disgrace *
and wrap themselves in their shame as in a cloak.
29 I will give great thanks to you, O LORD, with my mouth; *
in the midst of the multitude will I praise you;
30 Because you stand at the right hand of the needy, *
to save their life from those who would condemn them.

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.

If a pot goes bad, the potter has to start over. (Artist unknown)

THE LESSONS
Jeremiah 18:1-11 (NRSV)

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Then the word of the LORD came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the LORD. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it. Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the LORD: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.

Canticle: A Song of Penitence
Prayer of Manasseh, 1-2, 4, 6-7, 11-15

O Lord and Ruler of the hosts of heaven, *
God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
and of all their righteous offspring:
You made the heavens and the earth, *
with all their vast array.
All things quake with fear at your presence; *
they tremble because of your power.
But your merciful promise is beyond all measure; *
it surpasses all that our minds can fathom.
O Lord, you are full of compassion, *
long-suffering, and abounding in mercy.
You hold back your hand; *
you do not punish as we deserve.
In your great goodness, Lord,
you have promised forgiveness to sinners, *
that they may repent of their sin and be saved.
And now, O Lord, I bend the knee of my heart, *
and make my appeal, sure of your gracious goodness.
I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned, *
and I know my wickedness only too well.
Therefore I make this prayer to you: *
Forgive me, Lord, forgive me.
Do not let me perish in my sin, *
nor condemn me to the depths of the earth.
For you, O Lord, are the God of those who repent, *
and in me you will show forth your goodness.
Unworthy as I am, you will save me,
in accordance with your great mercy, *
and I will praise you without ceasing all the days of my life.
For all the powers of heaven sing your praises, *
and yours is the glory to ages of ages. Amen.

Undergraduate choir at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee. (college photo)

Romans 8:1-11 (NRSV)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

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.

The bread of life (Corbert Gauthier)

John 6:27-40 (NRSV)

Jesus said, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

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. Richard was a humble ascetic, scholar and professor; as bishop he was an able administrator committed both to disciplining the clergy and protecting them during periodic clashes with King Henry III. As the Roman demand for celibacy finally came into full force, many clergy were secretly living with their wives; Richard enforced celibacy and disinherited the women. (Alchetron)

Collect of the Day: Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253

We thank you, Lord God, for all the benefits you have given us in your Son Jesus Christ, our most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, and for all the pains and insults he has borne for us; and we pray that, following the example of your saintly bishop Richard of Chichester, we may see Christ more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect for Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Lent

O Lord our God, you sustained your ancient people in the wilderness with bread from heaven: Feed now your pilgrim flock with the food that endures to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. 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.

For joy in God’s creation: a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in California. Created in 1968 and completed in 1996, the trail runs through three states for 2,650 miles between Mexico and British Columbia over some of the highest elevations in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges. The Pacific Crest is  part of the “Triple Crown of Hiking” along with the Continental Divide Trail through the Rocky Mountains and the much-loved Appalachian Trail in the eastern U.S. (Nicholas Kristof/The New York Times)

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

Honorary Deacon Clint, safe passage
Yvonne, facing surgery
Norma Jean, toddler with brain cancer; parents Alex & Caroline
Willie G. Allen, diabetic complications, amputations
Mary Smith Wright, cancer
AJ, knee injury has become MS
Kristen, health and PTSD
Arthur, advanced Parkinson’s
Jill’s sister Kay, completed chemotherapy
Barbara Hughes, breast cancer
Leesa, recovery from childbirth; baby is well
Charlotte, cancer
Mark Johnson, open-heart surgery postponed
Deacon Dorothy Saucedo, leukemia
Edward, stroke
Jonathan, car accident
Fr. Ed, recovering from stroke
Kara Haney, cerebral palsy, heart and more
Fr. Jack Haney, multiple issues
Judith, ovarian cancer
Beth, health issues

For Caregivers
Jena
Linda
Watt

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: Da Pacem Domine (Charles Gounod) – William & Mary Women’s Chorus, 2010

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