Morning Prayer 12.1.19, First Sunday of Advent

Live from St. Philip’s Cathedral, Atlanta: 11:15 a.m. Eastern Time. Click the altar.

For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals.

Dr. Scott Warren, an Arizona college instructor accused of a Federal misdemeanor for helping migrants and refugees who have made it across the southern border, has been acquitted – based on his claim that his progressive faith made him welcome the stranger. (He works with a Unitarian group, No More Deaths, but did not cite a denominational affiliation.) It’s the first known use by a progressive of a 1991 law promoted by conservatives to boost religious liberty, which has frequently been cited to deny women access to birth control and to justify anti-Gay discrimination. Warren challenged the government’s “attempt to criminalize basic human kindness.” His specific offense: he left water for people who made it across the desert. (Josh Galemore/Arizona Daily Star)

Watch, for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning, lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. Mark 13:35-36

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 100

Be joyful in the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness
and come before his presence with a song.

Know this: The Lord himself is God;
he himself has made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.

For the Lord is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Psalm 146

1 Hallelujah!
Praise the LORD, O my soul! *
I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
2 Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, *
for there is no help in them.
3 When they breathe their last, they return to earth, *
and in that day their thoughts perish.
4 Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! *
whose hope is in the LORD their God;
5 Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; *
who keeps faith for ever;
6 Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, *
and food to those who hunger.
7 The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind; *
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
8 The LORD loves the righteous
and cares for the stranger; *
the LORD sustains the orphan and widow,
but frustrates the way of the wicked.
9 The LORD shall reign for ever, *
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Hallelujah!

Psalm 147

1 Hallelujah!
How good it is to sing praises to our God! *
how pleasant it is to honor the LORD with praise!
2 The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem *
and gathers the exiles of Israel.
3 The LORD heals the brokenhearted *
and binds up their wounds.
4 The LORD counts the number of the stars *
and calls them all by their names.
5 Great is our LORD and mighty in power; *
whose wisdom is beyond limit.
6 The LORD lifts up the lowly, *
but casts the wicked to the ground.
7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; *
make music to our God upon the harp.
8 God covers the heavens with clouds *
and prepares rain for the earth;
9 God makes grass to grow upon the mountains *
and green plants to serve humankind.
10 God provides food for flocks and herds *
and for the young ravens when they cry.
11 The LORD is not impressed by the might of a horse *
and has no pleasure in the strength of a man;
12 But the LORD has pleasure in the God-fearing, *
in those who await God’s gracious favor.
13 Worship the LORD, O Jerusalem; *
praise your God, O Zion;
14 For God has strengthened the bars of your gates *
and blessed your children within you.
15 God has established peace on your borders *
and satisfies you with the finest wheat.
16 God’s command is sent out to the earth, *
and the word of the LORD runs very swiftly.
17 God gives snow like wool *
and scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
18 God scatters hail like bread crumbs; *
who can stand against the cold of the LORD?
19 God’s word is sent forth and melts them; *
God’s stormwinds blow, and the waters flow.
20 God’s word is declared to Jacob, *
God’s statutes and judgments to Israel.
21 The LORD has not done so to any other nation; *
to them God’s judgments have not been revealed.
Hallelujah!

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 prophet Amos, a Judean farmer in the 8th century B.C., denounced the injustice and lavish wealth of Israel in vivid language, bitterly describing decadent opulence, immorality and the smug piety of elites who “trampled the head of the poor into the dust of the earth.” His prophecy makes a great introduction to the Old Testament – for many students, better than Genesis, Exodus or the Ten Commandments – because the LORD’s demand for justice for the poor and oppressed is made so clear. God rescued the Israelites and gave them an Exodus because they were enslaved and oppressed. God did not want them to turn around and do the same thing to someone else. (iconographer unknown)

THE LESSONS
Amos 1:1-5, 13-2:8 (NRSV)

The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah and in the days of King Jeroboam son of Joash of Israel, two years before the earthquake. And he said:

The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds wither,
and the top of Carmel dries up.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Damascus,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron.
So I will send a fire on the house of Hazael,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.
I will break the gate bars of Damascus,
and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven,
and the one who holds the scepter from Beth-eden;
and the people of Aram shall go into exile to Kir,
says the Lord.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of the Ammonites,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead
in order to enlarge their territory.
So I will kindle a fire against the wall of Rabbah,
fire that shall devour its strongholds,
with shouting on the day of battle,
with a storm on the day of the whirlwind;
then their king shall go into exile,
he and his officials together,
says the Lord.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Moab,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because he burned to lime
the bones of the king of Edom.
So I will send a fire on Moab,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Kerioth,
and Moab shall die amid uproar,
amid shouting and the sound of the trumpet;
I will cut off the ruler from its midst,
and will kill all its officials with him,
says the Lord.

Thus says the Lord:
For three transgressions of Judah,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have rejected the law of the Lord,
and have not kept his statutes,
but they have been led astray by the same lies
after which their ancestors walked.
So I will send a fire on Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.

Thus says the Lord: For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals—
they who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
and push the afflicted out of the way;
father and son go in to the same girl,
so that my holy name is profaned;
they lay themselves down beside every altar
on garments taken in pledge;
and in the house of their God they drink
wine bought with fines they imposed.

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.

A thief in the night.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (NRSV)

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.

So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Canticle: We Praise You, O God
Te Deum laudamus

We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
All creation worships you,
the Father everlasting.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
the cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you took our flesh to set us free
you humbly chose the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come to be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

Ercole de’ Roberti, 15th C.: Destruction of Jerusalem

Luke 21:5-19 (NRSV)

When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, Jesus said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.

“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.”

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

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.

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

Washington National Cathedral, 2015 (Chris Garten)

Collect of the Day: First Sunday of Advent

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Collect for Sundays

O God, you make us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord: Give us this day such blessing through our worship of you, that the week to come may be spent in your favor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Protection

Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of your servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by your gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday Morning Prayer List

The Daily Office is presented in 2019-20 by the following donors. Bless you!
as of 11.30.19

Joan Cesare
Jill Littlefield
Gordon Kubanek
Maisie Moses
Chad Strawn
Lynne Sharp
Mary Barrett
Sally Stevens-Taylor
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Barrett Fisher

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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.

The General Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

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: Prepare the way, O Zion (#65, Bereden väg för Herran, Swedish, 1697; Franz Mikael Franzen, tr. Augustus Nelson) – Choir of First-Plymouth UCC, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2013

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