Morning Prayer 9.24.20, Anna Alexander, Deaconess & Teacher, 1947

Some excellent readings again today:

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All the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.

The Rev. Robert Graetz (center) has died, a Lutheran pastor in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 when Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus to a White man, kicking off the Montgomery Bus Boycott and launching the civil rights ministry of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pastor Gaetz was 27 years old and newly ordained when he was called to pastor all-Black Trinity Lutheran in Montgomery six months before the boycott began. He’d caught the civil rights bug at Capital University in Ohio and joined the NAACP, but he was naive about how entrenched Southern racism was in Alabama, where Whites for civil rights were even more despised than the Black population. He endorsed the bus boycott from the pulpit the Sunday after Mrs. Parks was arrested, the day before the boycott began. He spent that Monday giving free rides to Black folk headed to work, then attended Mrs. Parks’ court date, where police prevented him from sitting in the “Colored” section with his parishioners. His house was firebombed twice, in 1956 and 1957, and the church was also targeted, but Pastor Graetz and his wife Jeannie kept on keeping on. Above: with the Rev. Dr. Ralph David Abernathy, left, and Dr. King in 1957. When the Graetzes finally left for a new call in Ohio, Martin and Coretta King gave them a silver tray to commemorate their work; it remains today on display in the parsonage at Trinity Lutheran to honor what the whole congregation did for the Lord when it counted. (AP)

The Lord is in the holy temple; let all the earth keep silence. Habakkuk 2:20

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 116

1 I love the LORD, because the LORD has heard the voice of my supplication, *
and inclined an ear to me whenever I cried out.
2 The cords of death entangled me;
the grip of the grave took hold of me; *
I came to grief and sorrow.
3 Then I called upon the Name of the LORD: *
“O LORD, I pray you, save my life.”
4 Gracious is the LORD and righteous; *
our God is full of compassion.
5 The LORD watches over the innocent; *
I was brought very low, and the LORD helped me.
6 Turn again to your rest, O my soul, *
for the LORD has treated you well.
7 For you have rescued my life from death, *
my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
8 I will walk in the presence of the LORD *
in the land of the living.
9 I believed, even when I said,
“I have been brought very low.” *
In my distress I said, “No one can be trusted.”
10 How shall I repay you, O LORD, *
for all the good things you have done for me?
11 I will lift up the cup of salvation *
and call upon the Name of the LORD.
12 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD *
in the presence of all the chosen people.
13 Precious in your sight, O LORD, *
is the death of your servants.
14 O LORD, I am your servant; *
I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
you have freed me from my bonds.
15 I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and call upon the Name of the LORD.
16 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD *
in the presence of all the people,
17 In the courts of the LORD’s house, *
in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Hallelujah!

Psalm 117

1 Praise the LORD, all you nations; *
give praise, all you peoples.
2 For the loving-kindness of the LORD toward us is great, *
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures for ever.
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.

Queen Esther, by an unknown artist

THE LESSONS
Esther 7:1-10 (NRSV)

So the king and Haman went in to feast with Queen Esther. On the second day, as they were drinking wine, the king again said to Esther, “What is your petition, Queen Esther? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Queen Esther answered, “If I have won your favor, O king, and if it pleases the king, let my life be given me—that is my petition—and the lives of my people—that is my request. For we have been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated. If we had been sold merely as slaves, men and women, I would have held my peace; but no enemy can compensate for this damage to the king.” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther, “Who is he, and where is he, who has presumed to do this?” Esther said, “A foe and enemy, this wicked Haman!” Then Haman was terrified before the king and the queen. The king rose from the feast in wrath and went into the palace garden, but Haman stayed to beg his life from Queen Esther, for he saw that the king had determined to destroy him. When the king returned from the palace garden to the banquet hall, Haman had thrown himself on the couch where Esther was reclining; and the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the words left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs in attendance on the king, said, “Look, the very gallows that Haman has prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king, stands at Haman’s house, fifty cubits high.” And the king said, “Hang him on that.” So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the anger of the king abated.

Canticle: A Song of Wisdom
Wisdom 10:15-19,20b-21

Wisdom freed from a nation of oppressors *
a holy people and a blameless race.
She entered the soul of a servant of the Lord, *
withstood dread rulers with wonders and signs.
To the saints she gave the reward of their labors, *
and led them by a marvelous way;
She was their shelter by day *
and a blaze of stars by night.
She brought them across the Red Sea, *
she led them through mighty waters;
But their enemies she swallowed in the waves *
and spewed them out from the depths of the abyss.
And then, Lord, the righteous sang hymns to your Name, *
and praised with one voice your protecting hand;
For Wisdom opened the mouths of the mute, *
and gave speech to the tongues of a new-born people.

Paul talks with synagogue leaders. (Daniel Training Network)

Acts 19:1-10 (NRSV)
postponed from yesterday

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied—altogether there were about twelve of them.

He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.

Canticle: A Song of True Motherhood
by Julian of Norwich

God chose to be our mother in all things *
and so made the foundation of his work,
most humbly and most pure, in the Virgin’s womb.
God, the perfect wisdom of all, *
arrayed himself in this humble place.
Christ came in our poor flesh *
to share a mother’s care.
Our mothers bear us for pain and for death; *
our true mother, Jesus, bears us for joy and endless life.
Christ carried us within him in love and travail, *
until the full time of his passion.
And when all was completed and he had carried us so for joy, *
still all this could not satisfy the power of his wonderful love.
All that we owe is redeemed in truly loving God, *
for the love of Christ works in us;
Christ is the one whom we love.

Ethiopian: Jesus reads Isaiah. (vievioparapija.eu)

Luke 4:14-30 (NRSV)

Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” He said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Doctor, cure yourself!’ And you will say, ‘Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'” And he said, “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.” When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

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.

St. Simons Island, off the Atlantic coast of southeast Georgia, is now a resort for the wealthy and a colony of million dollar vacation homes, but since slavery days it has always been a place where rich Whites and poor Blacks co-existed. Isolation has helped African-Americans maintain their own foods, culture, Gullah dialect and spirituality. The settlement of Pennick was the location of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, right, and the ministry field of the only Black deaconess ever ordained, Anna E.B. Alexander. (Since 1976, the term is “deacon.”) She built the school for area children in an illiterate population, and lived in a loft above it. She was a no-nonsense disciplinarian full of compassion who taught children reading, writing and arithmetic, and saw many of them graduate from college. (Brittany Tate/The Brunswick News)

Collect of the Day: Anna Ellison Butler Alexander, Deaconess and Teacher, 1947

O God, who called Anna Alexander as a deaconess in your church: Grant us the humility to go wherever you send and the wisdom to teach the word of Christ to whomever we meet, that all may come to the enlightenment which you intend for your people; through Jesus Christ, our Teacher and Savior. Amen.

A Collect for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

U.S. Gun Toll Coninues a Modest, 2-Week Decline

Week of September 17-23, 2020
Source: Gun Violence Archive

Last Week’s Gun Toll as of 9.23.20

844 total gun deaths last week (vs. 858)
382 murders and unintentional deaths (vs. 396)
462 suicides (est. weekly average)

710 people injured (vs. 819)
13 mass shootings (vs. 10)
0 mass murders (vs. 0)

8 young children killed (vs. 4)
11 young children injured (vs. 22)
20 teenagers killed (vs. 17)
65 teenagers injured (vs. 44)

0 police officers killed (vs. 1)
5 officers injured (vs. 8)
18 persons killed by police (vs. 22)
18 persons injured by police (vs. 21)

26 defensive use incidents (vs. 27)
44 unintentional shootings (vs. 43)
8 murder-suicides (vs. 9)

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

For the Mission of the Church

Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself: We praise and bless you for those whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the Gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and that in every place your servants call upon your Name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours for ever. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

God’s blessing be with us,
Christ’s peace be with us,
the Spirit’s outpouring be with us,
now and always. Amen.++

VIDEO: Robert Graetz – House Bombing – A&E’s “Biography,” 2014

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