Morning Prayer 6.22.21, Alban, Martyr, c. 304

41 people from 3 nations today – tell your friends, everyone’s invited!

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“If this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”

The summer solstice arrived at Stonehenge in the wee hours Monday morning, and local Druid wannabes flocked to it, despite being closed for the pandemic. Hundreds of people showed up, most without masks, not knowing what they were looking at, only that big old rocks, from as early as 3000 B.C., have a mystical power. (Ben Birchall/PA)

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1

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 97

1 The LORD is Sovereign;
let the earth rejoice; *
let the multitude of the isles be glad.
2 Clouds and darkness are round about you, *
righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne.
3 A fire goes before you *
and burns up your enemies on every side.
4 Your lightnings light up the world; *
the earth sees it and is afraid.
5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, *
at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare your righteousness, O LORD, *
and all the peoples see your glory.
7 Confounded be all who worship carved images
and delight in false gods! *
Bow down before the LORD, all you gods.
8 Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice, *
because of your judgments, O LORD.
9 For you are the LORD,
most high over all the earth; *
you are exalted far above all gods.
10 The LORD loves those who hate evil; *
the LORD preserves the lives of the faithful
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light has sprung up for the righteous, *
and joyful gladness for those who are truehearted.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, *
and to the holy Name of the LORD give your praise.

Psalm 99

1 The LORD is Sovereign;
let the people tremble; *
the LORD is enthroned upon the cherubim;
let the earth shake.
2 The LORD is great in Zion; *
and is high above all peoples.
3 Let them confess the Name of the LORD,
which is great and awesome; *
the LORD is the Holy One.
4 “O mighty Sovereign, lover of justice,
you have established equity; *
you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.”
5 Proclaim the greatness of the LORD our God, *
and fall down before the footstool of the Holy One.
6 Moses and Aaron among your priests,
and Samuel among those who call upon your Name, *
they called upon the LORD, and you answered them.
7 You spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; *
they kept your testimonies and the decree that you gave them.
8 O LORD our God, you answered them indeed; *
you were a God who forgave them,
yet punished them for their evil deeds.
9 Proclaim the greatness of the LORD our God
and worship him upon God’s holy hill; *
for the LORD our God is the Holy One.

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 Philistines return the Ark of the Covenant; artist unknown.

THE LESSONS
1 Samuel 6:1-16 (NRSV)

The ark of the LORD was in the country of the Philistines seven months. Then the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the LORD? Tell us what we should send with it to its place.” They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and will be ransomed; will not his hand then turn from you?” And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five gold tumors and five gold mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for the same plague was upon all of you and upon your lords. So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps he will lighten his hand on you and your gods and your land. Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had made fools of them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? Now then, get ready a new cart and two milch cows that have never borne a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. Take the ark of the LORD and place it on the cart, and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off, and let it go its way. And watch; if it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm; but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance.”

The men did so; they took two milch cows and yoked them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. They put the ark of the LORD on the cart, and the box with the gold mice and the images of their tumors. The cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went; they turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh.

Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they went with rejoicing to meet it. The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh, and stopped there. A large stone was there; so they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the LORD. The Levites took down the ark of the LORD and the box that was beside it, in which were the gold objects, and set them upon the large stone. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and presented sacrifices on that day to the LORD. When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron.

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.

Gamaliel Speaking to the Council; artist unknown.

Acts 5:27-42 (NRSV)

When they had brought the apostles, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”

They were convinced by him, and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.

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.

James Tissot, c. 1894: Judas Iscariot (Brooklyn Museum)

Luke 21:37—22:13 (NRSV)

Every day Jesus was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple.

Now the festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?” “Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.” So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

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.

Alban was a Roman soldier stationed 20 miles north of London in a town now called St. Albans. He sheltered a Christian priest being persecuted, dressed in his clothes and gave himself up when soldiers came to seize him. Sacrifice of self, after Christ’s own example, is the hallmark of the Christian religion.

Collect of the Day: Alban, Martyr, c. 304

Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Alban triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death: Grant us, who now remember him in thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world that we may receive with him the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and 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.

Dad & Son Go Airborne on Father’s Day

Two soldiers, father and son, spent Father’s Day airborne. Sgt. Major Jason Towns, right, command sergeant major of 3rd Special Forces Group’s support battalion, had one last jump coming before retirement, training infantrymen on a new parachute, the MC-6, which has steering functionality; the 82nd Airborne uses the T-11. He asked, the chain of command approved the request, and his son Sgt. Jaden Towns was the first one out the door of a C-27 Spartan transport aircraft. They jumped Thursday over Fort Bragg, N.C.

For Those We Love on Active Duty
Mike H., near retirement but deployed again
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: I love thy kingdom, Lord (#524, St. Thomas (Williams), Aaron Williams; Timothy Dwight) – Washington National Cathedral, 2010

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