Morning Prayer 3.2.21, Chad of Lichfield, Bishop, 672

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For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.

Politics isn’t the only area where conspiracy theories run riot; churches deal with them too, including the claim that Pope Benedict XVI didn’t “really resign” eight years ago today and therefore Pope Francis’ election was illegitimate. The conspiracy theory masks its origins among right-wing prelates and theologians who oppose Francis’ liberalizing trend, especially among the marginalized and poor. Pope Benedict, in an interview published Sunday, said, “Some of my more ‘fanatical’ friends” refuse to accept his resignation in 2013. “It was a difficult decision. But I did it fully conscious and I think I did the right thing.” (Gregorio Borgia/AP, 2014)

I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Luke 15:18-19

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 61

1 Hear my cry, O God, *
and listen to my prayer.
2 I call upon you from the ends of the earth
with heaviness in my heart; *
set me upon the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge, *
a strong tower against the enemy.
4 I will dwell in your house for ever; *
I will take refuge under the cover of your wings.
5 For you, O God, have heard my vows; *
you have granted me the heritage of those who fear your Name.
6 Add length of days to our ruler’s life; *
with years extending over many generations.
7 Let our ruler sit enthroned before God for ever; *
watched over by your love and faithfulness.
8 So will I always sing the praise of your Name, *
and day by day I will fulfill my vows.

Psalm 62

1 For God alone my soul in silence waits; *
from God comes my salvation.
2 God alone is my rock and my salvation, *
my stronghold, so that I shall not be greatly shaken.
3 How long will you assail me to crush me,
all of you together, *
as if you were a leaning fence, a toppling wall?
4 They seek only to bring me down from my place of honor; *
lies are their chief delight.
5 They bless with their lips, *
but in their hearts they curse.
6 For God alone my soul in silence waits; *
truly, my hope is in God.
7 God alone is my rock and my salvation, *
my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken.
8 In God is my safety and my honor; *
God is my strong rock and my refuge.
9 Put your trust in God always, O people, *
pour out your hearts before God, who is our refuge.
10 Those of high degree are but a fleeting breath, *
even those of low estate cannot be trusted.
11 On the scales they are lighter than a breath, *
all of them together.
12 Put no trust in extortion;
in robbery take no empty pride; *
though wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.
13 God has spoken once, twice have I heard it, *
that power belongs to God.
14 Steadfast love is yours, O Lord, *
for you repay all people according to their deeds.

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 cracked clay pot of Mohawk Iroquois origin, c. 1600, in the collection of the New York State Museum. The clay does not degrade when buried, but the pot itself, with its rounded bottom, is fragile and easily broken.

THE LESSONS
Jeremiah 2:1-13 (NRSV)

The word of the LORD came to me, saying: Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD:

I remember the devotion of your youth,
your love as a bride,
how you followed me in the wilderness,
in a land not sown.
Israel was holy to the LORD,
the first fruits of his harvest.
All who ate of it were held guilty;
disaster came upon them,
says the LORD.

Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the LORD:

What wrong did your ancestors find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
They did not say, “Where is the LORD
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that no one passes through,
where no one lives?”
I brought you into a plentiful land
to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, “Where is the LORD?”
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulers transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after things that do not profit.

Therefore once more I accuse you,
says the LORD,
and I accuse your children’s children.
Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has ever been such a thing.
Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for something that does not profit.
Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
says the LORD,
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living water,
and dug out cisterns for themselves,
cracked cisterns
that can hold no water.

Canticle: A Song of Praise
Song of the Three Young Men, 29-34

Glory to you, Lord God of our fathers; *
you are worthy of praise; glory to you.
Glory to you for the radiance of your holy name; *
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you in the splendor of your temple; *
on the throne of your majesty, glory to you.
Glory to you, seated between the Cherubim; *
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Glory to you, beholding the depths; *
in the high vault of heaven, glory to you.
Glory to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
we will praise you and highly exalt you for ever.

Holy Comforter, Spring, Texas (parish photo)

Romans 1:16-25 (NRSV)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Canticle: A Song to the Lamb
Revelation 4:11, 5:9-10, 13

Splendor and honor and kingly power *
are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is, *
and by your will they were created and have their being;
And yours by right, O Lamb that was slain, *
for with your blood you have redeemed for God,
From every family, language, people, and nation, *
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
And so, to him who sits upon the throne, *
and to Christ the Lamb,
Be worship and praise, dominion and splendor, *
for ever and for evermore.

Jesus Heals an Official’s Son (artist unknown)

John 4:43-54 (NRSV)

When the two days were over, he went from that place to Galilee (for Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in the prophet’s own country). When he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, since they had seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the festival; for they too had gone to the festival.

Then he came again to Cana in Galilee where he had changed the water into wine. Now there was a royal official whose son lay ill in Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my little boy dies.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started on his way. As he was going down, his slaves met him and told him that his child was alive. So he asked them the hour when he began to recover, and they said to him, “Yesterday at one in the afternoon the fever left him.” The father realized that this was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” So he himself believed, along with his whole household. Now this was the second sign that Jesus did after coming from Judea to Galilee.

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. Help us, O God our Savior;
R. Deliver us and forgive us our sins.
V. Look upon your congregation;
R. Give to your people the blessing of peace.
V. Declare your glory among the nations;
R. And your wonders among all peoples.
V. Do not let the oppressed be shamed and turned away;
R. Never forget the lives of your poor.
V. Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you;
R. And your favor to those who are true of heart.
V. Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning;
R. So shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

Aidan Hart (detail): St. Chad. He was one of four brothers dedicated to the Church and trained in the Celtic tradition by St. Aidan. Chad was an abbot, later appointed Bishop of York. When a new Archbishop of Canterbury showed up, insisting on Roman conformity in ordination, Chad offered to resign. Theodore reordained him as Bishop of Lichfield – and then had to keep him from making all his visitations on foot like Christ’s own apostles.

Collect of the Day: Chad of Lichfield, Bishop, 672

Heavenly Father, whose Son our Lord Jesus Christ took the form of a servant for the sake of his brothers and sisters: Strengthen us with the prayers and example of your servant Chad, who became the least of all to minister to all; through the same Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns, with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

In Times of Conflict

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Codebreaking WAVE Turns 100 with a Parade Today

A U.S. Navy WAVE and codebreaker from World War II turns 100 today in Pittsburgh, and friends are giving her a parade outside her house. Julia Parsons used to hunt for German submarines when they would resurface to contact headquarters. She said the German High Command was so proud of its “unbreakable” Enigma code that it ignored all evidence to the contrary. Once she heard a U-boat commander say, “Every time I surface, within a half hour there’s an airplane overhead. I think they’re reading our code,” Parsons said. She dutifully sent a plane to his location. Her parade will be made up of veterans, current servicemembers, local police and firefighters, and then there’s a virtual 100th Birthday Party to which the public is invited. (Veterans Breakfast Club of Pittsburgh)

For Those We Love on Active Duty
LeeLee Denton
Michael
Kali
Peter
Krystle + Jordan
Molly + Chris
Patrick
Logan

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.
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: The royal banners forward go (#162, Gonfalon Royal, Percy Carter Buck; Venantius Honorius Fortunatus) – BBC’s “Songs of Praise,” 2013

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