Evening Prayer 9.25.20, Sergius of Radonezh, Monastic, 1392

They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority.

A man went to a state park over Labor Day weekend and came home with this: a 9-carat diamond, weighed and certified by the State of Arkansas. The park is called Crater of Diamonds, so that’s a clue right there, and it’s near Murfreesboro. Kevin Kinard, a bank manager in Little Rock, grew up nearby and has been going there since he was a kid, but he’d never found anything and he didn’t expect to this time either. The park enjoys a steady stream of visitors, many of them with soil sifters, equipment and a whole routine; the park even plows sections of the diamond field to make it easy to find one. You walk between the rows, keep your eyes peeled and when something catches them, pick it up and toss it in your backpack; you can look at it later at the diamond verification stand. The park averages one or two finds a day, and Kinard went home with the second-biggest rock ever found at Crater of Diamonds, plus a signed card certifying the date and weight. People have found about 250 diamonds so far this year weighing almost 60 carats. How many retirees with sifters and sunhats and $99 diamond detectors do you figure pass through in an average week? (Arkansas Department of Parks)

Seek the One who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night; who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the surface of the earth: The Lord is his name. Amos 5:8

GENERAL CONFESSION

God of all mercy,
we confess that we have sinned against you,
opposing your will in our lives.
We have denied your goodness in each other,
in ourselves, and in the world you have created.
We repent of the evil that enslaves us,
the evil we have done,
and the evil done on our behalf.
Forgive, restore, and strengthen us
through our Savior Jesus Christ,
that we may abide in your love
and serve only your will. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep us in eternal life. Amen.

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

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.

If possible, light a candle here.

Hymn: O Gracious Light

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Psalm 91

1 You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, *
abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 You shall say to the LORD,
“You are my refuge and my stronghold, *
my God in whom I put my trust.”
3 God shall deliver you from the snare of the hunter *
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 God’s pinions will cover you,
and you shall find refuge under the wings of the LORD; *
whose faithfulness shall be a shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of any terror by night, *
nor of the arrow that flies by day;
6 Of the plague that stalks in the darkness, *
nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.
7 A thousand shall fall at your side
and ten thousand at your right hand, *
but it shall not come near you.
8 Your eyes have only to behold *
to see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD your refuge, *
and the Most High your habitation,
10 There shall no evil happen to you, *
neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
11 For God shall give the holy angels charge over you, *
to keep you in all your ways.
12 They shall bear you in their hands, *
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; *
you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.
14 Because they are bound to me in love,
therefore will I deliver them; *
I will protect them, because they know my Name.
15 They shall call upon me, and I will answer them; *
I am with them in trouble;
I will rescue them and bring them to honor.
16 With long life will I satisfy them, *
and show them my salvation.

Psalm 92

1 It is a good thing to give thanks to the LORD, *
and to sing praises to your Name, O Most High;
2 To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning *
and of your faithfulness in the night season;
3 On the psaltery, and on the lyre, *
and to the melody of the harp.
4 For you have made me glad by your acts, O LORD; *
and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands.
5 LORD, how great are your works! *
your thoughts are very deep.
6 The dullard does not know,
nor does the fool understand, *
that though the wicked grow like weeds,
and all the workers of iniquity flourish,
7 They flourish only to be destroyed for ever; *
but you, O LORD, are exalted for evermore.
8 For lo, your enemies, O LORD,
lo, your enemies shall perish, *
and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
9 But my horn you have exalted like the horns of wild bulls; *
I am anointed with fresh oil.
10 My eyes also gloat over my enemies, *
and my ears rejoice to hear the doom of the wicked who rise up against me.
11 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, *
and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.
12 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD *
shall flourish in the courts of our God;
13 They shall still bear fruit in old age; *
they shall be green and succulent;
14 That they may show how upright the LORD is, *
my Rock, in whom there is no fault.

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.

Jesus Drives Out an Unclear Spirit, from the Très Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry, c. 1400s. (Musée Condé, Chantilly, France)

THE LESSON
Luke 4:31-37 (NRSV)

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

Canticle: The Song of Simeon
Luke 2:29-32

Lord, you now have set your servant free *
to go in peace as you have promised;
For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, *
whom you have prepared for all the world to see:
A Light to enlighten the nations, *
and the glory of your people Israel.

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 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.

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.

Sergius is the patron saint of Russia; his support of Prince Dimitri Donskoi helped rally the Russians against their Tartar overlords, which is how the nation became independent. His devotion to the Orthodox faith continues to inspire people today. He was simple and gentle in nature, mystical in termperament. (iconographer unknown)

Collect of the Day: Sergius of Radonezh, Monastic, 1392

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we, through his poverty, might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Sergius, may serve you with singleness of heart and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For Social Justice

Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Prayer in an Epidemic
© Daily Office Network

O God, our creator and preserver, we cry out to you along with our brothers and sisters throughout the world who are struggling to overcome the coronavirus epidemic, where so many lives have been lost already and millions more are threatened. We pray for your grace and mercy that an end to this disease will come soon; and that life, labor, community and human touch will be restored. Give us courage and strength to amend our ways of living in the face of this great human tragedy, cooperating with medical authorities to preserve our own health and safeguard others. Help us overcome our fears and give us confidence to ask this in the Name of your most blessed Son, who came and gave his life so that we might live fully, Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.

A Collect for Fridays

Lord Jesus Christ, by your death you took away the sting of death: Grant to us your servants so to follow in faith where you have led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in you and wake up in your likeness; for your tender mercies’ sake. Amen.

Friday Evening Prayer List: For the Church

For the Peace of Jerusalem
For Peace among Christians, Jews & Muslims throughout the Middle East
Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel and Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen

For Church Unity
World Methodism

For the Anglican Communion
Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Diocese of Central Zambia

Primates of the Anglican Communion
Joel A. Pachao, Philippines
Onesphore Rwaje, Rwanda
David Chillingworth, Scotland
Datuk Bolly anak Lapok, South East Asia
Thomas Oommen, South India

For Ecumenical Partners
Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome
Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America
Robert T. Fuentes, Moderator, The Old Catholic Church USA
The Moravian Church

Our Candidate for Ordination
Stephen, ELCA Rocky Mountain Synod, this fall

Our Seminarians & Their Schools
David and Wendy, Nashotah House, Wisconsin
Greg, Christian Leaders Institute

Andhra Christian Theological College, India
Berkeley Divinity School, Connecticut
Bexley-Seabury Federation, Ohio and Illinois
Bishop Hannington Institute, Kenya
Brite Divinity School, Texas

Please add your own prayers and supplications here.

Prayer for Mission

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplication to you; and you have promised through your well-beloved Son that when two or three are gathered together in his Name you will be in the midst of them: Fulfil now, O Lord, our desires and petitions as may be best for us; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the age to come life everlasting. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Romans 15:13++

VIDEO: Nunc dimittis (Rachmaninoff) – Voces8, 2016

Morning Prayer 9.25.20, Euphrosyn of Alexandria, Monastic, 5th C.

Combined attendance 53 today:

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“Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” The city was filled with the confusion; and people rushed together to the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travel companions.

Most art museums display only 5 to 10% of their acquisitions due to lack of space and programming requirements, but Museum Bojimans Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, is changing that – building this mirrored dome in a park on its campus. When it opens next year visitors will be able to see artworks long hidden and gain access to curators and conservators as they work; but don’t expect fancy displays, it’s workspace. On top of the building is a forest garden and observation deck to make up for the parkland lost by the building; the ground floor is smaller than the dome to minimize its footprint. Winy Maas is the architect; the museum holds 151,000 objects. (Mike Corder/AP)

The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. John 4:23

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. 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 88

1 O LORD, my God, my Savior, *
by day and night I cry to you.
2 Let my prayer enter into your presence; *
incline your ear to my lamentation.
3 For I am full of trouble; *
my life is at the brink of the grave.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the Pit; *
I have become like one who has no strength;
5 Lost among the dead, *
like the slain who lie in the grave,
6 Whom you remember no more, *
for they are cut off from your hand.
7 You have laid me in the depths of the Pit, *
in dark places, and in the abyss.
8 Your anger weighs upon me heavily, *
and all your great waves overwhelm me.
9 You have put my friends far from me;
you have made me to be abhorred by them; *
I am in prison and cannot get free.
10 My sight has failed me because of trouble; *
LORD, I have called upon you daily;
I have stretched out my hands to you.
11 Do you work wonders for the dead? *
will those who have died stand up and give you thanks?
12 Will your loving-kindness be declared in the grave? *
your faithfulness in the land of destruction?
13 Will your wonders be known in the dark? *
or your righteousness in the country where all is forgotten?
14 But as for me, O LORD, I cry to you for help; *
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
15 LORD, why have you rejected me? *
why have you hidden your face from me?
16 Ever since my youth, I have been wretched and at the point of death; *
I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind.
17 Your blazing anger has swept over me; *
your terrors have destroyed me;
18 They surround me all day long like a flood; *
they encompass me on every side.
19 My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, *
and darkness is my only companion.

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.

Pieter Pietersz Lastman, 1624: The Triumph of Mordecai

THE LESSONS
Esther 8:1-8, 15-17 (NRSV)

On that day King Ahasuerus gave to Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews; and Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told what he was to her. Then the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. So Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. Then Esther spoke again to the king; she fell at his feet, weeping and pleading with him to avert the evil design of Haman the Agagite and the plot that he had devised against the Jews. The king held out the golden scepter to Esther, and Esther rose and stood before the king. She said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have won his favor, and if the thing seems right before the king, and I have his approval, let an order be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote giving orders to destroy the Jews who are in all the provinces of the king. For how can I bear to see the calamity that is coming on my people? Or how can I bear to see the destruction of my kindred?” Then King Ahasuerus said to Queen Esther and to the Jew Mordecai, “See, I have given Esther the house of Haman, and they have hanged him on the gallows, because he plotted to lay hands on the Jews. You may write as you please with regard to the Jews, in the name of the king, and seal it with the king’s ring; for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring cannot be revoked.”

Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king, wearing royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a mantle of fine linen and purple, while the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced. For the Jews there was light and gladness, joy and honor. In every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict came, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a festival and a holiday. Furthermore, many of the peoples of the country professed to be Jews, because the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them.

Canticle: A Song of Jonah
Jonah 2:2-7, 9

I called to you, O God, out of my distress, and you answered me; *
out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, *
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and billows passed over me.
Then I said, “I am driven away from your sight; *
how shall I ever look again upon your holy temple?”
The waters closed in over me, the deep was round about me; *
weeds were wrapped around my head at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land beneath the earth, *
yet you brought up my life from the depths, O God.
As my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, O God, *
and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.
With the voice of thanksgiving, I will sacrifice to you; *
what I have vowed I will pay, for deliverance belongs to the Lord!

A 1st Century statue of Artemis of Ephesus (Ephesus Archaelogical Museum)

Acts 19:21-41 (NRSV)

Now after these things had been accomplished, Paul resolved in the Spirit to go through Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go on to Jerusalem. He said, “After I have gone there, I must also see Rome.” So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed for some time longer in Asia.

About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. A man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the artisans. These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and said, “Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.”

When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” The city was filled with the confusion; and people rushed together to the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travel companions. Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; even some officials of the province of Asia, who were friendly to him, sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theater. Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed forward. And Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a defense before the people. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours all of them shouted in unison, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” But when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple keeper of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven? Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. You have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. If there is anything further you want to know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

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 Unclean Spirit (artist unknown)

Luke 4:31-37 (NRSV)

Jesus went down to Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching them on the sabbath. They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Let us alone! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” When the demon had thrown him down before them, he came out of him without having done him any harm. They were all amazed and kept saying to one another, “What kind of utterance is this? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and out they come!” And a report about him began to reach every place in the region.

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.

Anonymous fresco: St. Euphrosyn of Alexandria. She was so eager to avoid marrying that she disguised herself as a man, called herself Smaragdus, joined a monastery and lived an ascetic’s life. In time her father became ill – a loving father who desired her to marry in the first place – and she took care of him in the monastery, not revealing who she was until her deathbed confession. The story is almost surely based on a Hellenistic romance novel. (Wikipedia)

Collect of the Day: Euphrosyne/Smaragdus of Alexandria, Monastic, 5th century

Merciful God, who places all of your children in families, we confess that those whom we love the most are often strangers to us. Give to all parents and children, we pray, the grace to see one another as they truly are and as you have called them to be. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our only mediator and advocate. Amen.

For the Human Family

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for Fridays

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

Collect for Mission

O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all time and now and for ever. Amen. Jude 24-25++

VIDEO: Jesus shall reign where’er the sun (#544, Duke Street, John Hatton; Isaac Watts, alt.) – University of Nebraska-Lincoln Choir at First-Plymouth Church, 2014

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

The Vicar reads Evening Prayer:

 

Jesus stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, said Wednesday the state will eliminate automobile emissions by 2035 – the first American state to do so, and the most populous. Newsom says he can accomplish this by executive order; the Golden State will join Germany, France and 13 other nations to make such a pledge. California won the right decades ago to set stricter pollution control standards than the Federal government, and automakers want to sell vehicles in the world’s fifth-largest economy. Newsom said, “If you want to reduce asthma, if you want to mitigate the rise of sea level, if you want to mitigate a loss of ice sheets around the globe, then this is a policy for other states to follow.” (Daniel Kim/The Sacramento Bee)

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me, night after night. I have set the Lord always before me; because God is at my right hand, I shall not fall. Psalm 16:7-8

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

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.

Hymn: Light of the World

Light of the world in grace and beauty,
Mirror of God’s eternal face,
Transparent flame of love’s free duty,
You bring salvation to our race.
Now, as we see the lights of evening,
We raise our voice in hymns of praise;
Worthy are you of endless blessing,
Sun of our night, lamp of our days.

Psalm 85

1 You have been gracious to your land, O LORD, *
you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
2 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people *
and blotted out all their sins.
3 You have withdrawn all your fury *
and turned yourself from your wrathful indignation.
4 Restore us then, O God our Savior; *
let your anger depart from us.
5 Will you be displeased with us for ever? *
will you prolong your anger from age to age?
6 Will you not give us life again, *
that your people may rejoice in you?

7 Show us your mercy, O LORD, *
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen, O LORD God, to what you are saying, *
for you are speaking peace to your faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to you.
9 Truly, your salvation is very near to those who fear you, *
that your glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth have met together; *
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring up from the earth, *
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 O LORD, you will indeed grant prosperity, *
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before you, *
and peace shall be a pathway for your feet.

Psalm 86

1 Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me, *
for I am poor and in misery.
2 Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; *
save your servant, for I put my trust in you.
3 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for you are my God; *
I call upon you all the day long.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant, *
for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving, *
and great is your love toward all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer, *
and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7 In the time of my trouble I will call upon you, *
for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O LORD, *
nor anything like your works.
9 All nations you have made will come and worship you, O LORD, *
and glorify your Name.
10 For you are great;
you do wondrous things; *
and you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD,
and I will walk in your truth; *
knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name.
12 I will thank you, O LORD my God, with all my heart, *
and glorify your Name for evermore.
13 For great is your love toward me; *
you have delivered me from the nethermost Pit.
14 The arrogant rise up against me, O God,
and a violent mob seeks my life; *
they have not set you before their eyes.
15 But you, O LORD, are gracious and full of compassion, *
slow to anger, and full of kindness and truth.
16 Turn to me and have mercy upon me; *
give your strength to your servant;
and save the child of your handmaid.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; *
because you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.

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.

Christ reads the scroll of Isaiah. (Domini Canes)

THE LESSON
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.

Canticle: A Song of Our True Nature
Julian of Norwich

Christ revealed our frailty and our falling, *
our trespasses and our humiliations.
Christ also revealed his blessed power, *
his blessed wisdom and love.
He protects us as tenderly and as sweetly when we are in greatest need; *
he raises us in spirit
and turns everything to glory and joy without ending.
God is the ground and the substance, the very essence of nature; *
God is the true father and mother of natures.
We are all bound to God by nature, *
and we are all bound to God by grace.
And this grace is for all the world, *
because it is our precious mother, Christ.
For this fair nature was prepared by Christ
for the honor and nobility of all, *
and for the joy and bliss of salvation.

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 by your Holy Spirit.

Deaconess Anna Alexander; iconographer unknown. Many of the Episcopal Church’s early deaconesses adopted a version of a nun’s habit; it may have caused occasional confusion, but it got them recognized as women religious leaders.

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.

In Time of Calamity

O most mighty and merciful God, in this time of hurricanes, fires, protests and viruses, we flee to you for succor. Deliver the people, we beseech you, from their peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the needy; prosper the means of their safety; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we all may apply our hearts unto your heavenly wisdom which leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Collect for the Presence of Christ

Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past; be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in Scripture and the breaking of bread. Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen.

Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Dioceses of Central Solomons, Melanesia; Central Tanganyika, Tanzania; Panyana, South Sudan

Thursday Evening Prayer List

For Sobriety & Recovery
Everyone missing their 12-step groups
Men of Reconciliation House
Jon
Stacey
Ian
Talmadge
Martin
Perry
Blake
Beth
Phoebe

For Those with Addictions

O blessed Lord, you ministered to all who came to you: Look with compassion on all who through addiction have lost their health and freedom. Restore to them the assurance of your unfailing mercy; remove from them the fears that beset them; strengthen them in the work of their recovery; and to those who care for them, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.

For Mental Health & Family Harmony
Samantha
Scotty
Adam
Lyle
Beth

For those with mental illness
by Josh Thomas

O heavenly Father, look with your love on all your children who are living with mental illness; bless them with kindness and patience. Give them true friends who understand them and knowledgable therapists with competence and compassion. Soothe their worries, lift their spirits, help them to trust others, quiet their negative thinking, help them care for themselves and give them peace; through the infinite mercy of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Please add your own prayers 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.

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.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine; Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21++

VIDEO: In Christ there is no east or west (#529, McKee, African-American Spiritual; John Oxenham) – Mavis Staples, 2010

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

Evening Prayer 9.23.20, Thecla of Iconium, Proto-Martyr among Women, c. 70

The Vicar reads Evening Prayer:


The devil said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”

The Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem, also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, in a recent photo; the scaffolds around the tomb have been removed after decades of renovations, and crowds are sparse, not shoulder-to-shoulder, because of virus restrictions. It’s a vast improvement. (via Fr. Michael Hartney)

Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

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.

Hymn: O Gracious Light

O gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises, O God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.

Psalm 81

1 Sing with joy to God our strength *
and raise a loud shout to the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song and sound the timbrel, *
the merry harp, and the lyre.
3 Blow the ram’s-horn at the new moon, *
and at the full moon, the day of our feast.
4 For this is a statute for Israel, *
a law of the God of Jacob.
5 God laid it as a solemn charge upon Joseph, *
when the people came out of the land of Egypt.
6 I heard an unfamiliar voice saying, *
“I eased their shoulder from the burden;
their hands were set free from bearing the load.”
7 You called on me in trouble, and I saved you; *
I answered you from the secret place of thunder
and tested you at the waters of Meribah.
8 Hear, O my people, and I will admonish you: *
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9 There shall be no strange god among you; *
you shall not worship a foreign god.
10 I am the LORD your God,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt and said, *
“Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”
11 And yet my people did not hear my voice, *
and Israel would not obey me.
12 So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their hearts, *
to follow their own devices.
13 Oh, that my people would listen to me! *
that Israel would walk in my ways!
14 I should soon subdue their enemies *
and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before me, *
and their punishment would last for ever.
16 But Israel would I feed with the finest wheat *
and satisfy them with honey from the rock.

Psalm 82

1 God arises in the council of heaven; *
and gives judgment in the midst of the gods:
2 ”How long will you judge unjustly, *
and show favor to the wicked?
3 Save the weak and the orphan; *
defend the humble and needy;
4 Rescue the weak and the poor; *
deliver them from the power of the wicked.
5 They do not know, neither do they understand;
they go about in darkness; *
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 Now I say to you, ‘You are gods, *
and all of you children of the Most High;
7 Nevertheless, you shall die like mortals, *
and fall like any leader.’”
8 Arise, O God, and rule the earth, *
for you shall take all nations for your own.

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.

James Tissot: Jesus Tempted in the Wilderness (Brooklyn Museum)

THE LESSON
Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.'” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Canticle: The Song of Mary
Luke 1:46-55

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in you, O God my Savior, *
for you have looked with favor on your lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
you, the Almighty, have done great things for me,
and holy is your Name.
You have mercy on those who fear you *
from generation to generation.
You have shown strength with your arm, *
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones, *
and lifting up the lowly.
You have filled the hungry with good things, *
and sent the rich away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel, *
for you have remembered your promise of mercy,
The promise made to our forebears, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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 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.

V. That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful,
R. We entreat you, O Lord.
V. That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill,
R. We entreat you, O Lord.
V. That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses,
R. We entreat you, O Lord.
V. That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world,
R. We entreat you, O Lord.
V. That we may depart this life in your faith and fear,
and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ,
R. We entreat you, O Lord.
V. That we may be bound together by your Holy Spirit
in the communion of all your saints,
entrusting one another and all our life to Christ,
R. We entreat you, O Lord.

Egyptian, 5th Century: St. Thecla and the Wild Beasts (Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri)

Collect of the Day: Thecla of Iconium, Proto-Martyr among Women, c.70

God of liberating power, empower courageous evangelists among us, that men and women everywhere may know the freedom that you offer; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for Protection

O God, the life of all who live, the light of the faithful, the strength of those who labor, and the repose of the dead: We thank you for the blessings of the day that is past, and humbly ask for your protection through the coming night. Bring us in safety to the morning hours; through him who died and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Lionesses and cubs at sunset in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. “Remember the days when Thecla used to let us lick her face?” (Thoughtco)

For the Beauty of the Earth

We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers. We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may safeguard them for our posterity. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever. Amen.

Anglican Cycle of Prayer: Dioceses of Central Philippines, and Pankshin, Nigeria

Wednesday Evening Prayer List

For Disaster & Terror Victims
31.4 million coronavirus cases worldwide; 968,000 deaths, 200,000 in USA
people confined to nursing homes, dormitories, group homes and retirement homes, jails, religious communities and onboard ships
World hot spots: U.S., India, Brazil, Russia
Hundreds of thousands in squalid refugee camps, especially those on Lesbos and Rohingyas in Bangladesh

For Prisoners
David
Cleave Thomas, last years of a 20-year sentence
Matthew
Children and families of prisoners
Prison chaplains and ministries, especially Kairos
Sr. Helen Prejean and all prison reformers
All who are condemned to die

Please offer your own prayers here.

Prayer for Mission

O God and Father of all, whom the whole heavens adore: Let the whole earth also worship you, all nations obey you, all tongues confess and bless you, and men and women everywhere love you and serve you in peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to God from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen.++

VIDEO: Creating God, your fingers trace (#394, King, David Hurd; Jeffery Rowthorn)- 2nd Sunday Jazz Vespers, arr. Ted Wilson, Christ Lutheran Church, Nashville, Tennessee, 2016

Morning Prayer 9.23.20, Thecla of Iconium, Proto-Martyr among Women, c. 70

The speaker in today’s video, Mark Rogers, is a member of our early congregation:

For our 7 a.m. service, click here and use password S@y7FBw^
To pray with us at 9 a.m., go here and enter password GS#o@2hx

While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman off to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Some 200,000 Americans have now died of Covid-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University count, and Monday the Covid Memorial Project planted thousands of miniature American flags on the national mall in Washington. We have no national testing policy, no national rollout plan for treatments or vaccines that might be developed, no PPE manufacturing strategy and not enough N95s, no international cooperation and a chief executive who says he isn’t responsible for any of it. No wonder Americans are at each other’s throats. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, and bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. Psalm 43:3

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 119:97-120

97 Oh, how I love your law! *
all the day long it is in my mind.
98 Your commandment has made me wiser than my enemies, *
and it is always with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, *
for your decrees are my study.
100 I am wiser than the elders, *
because I observe your commandments.
101 I restrain my feet from every evil way, *
that I may keep your word.
102 I do not shrink from your judgments, *
because you yourself have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste! *
they are sweeter than honey to my mouth.
104 Through your commandments I gain understanding; *
therefore I hate every lying way.

105 Your word is a lantern to my feet *
and a light upon my path.
106 I have sworn and am determined *
to keep your righteous judgments.
107 I am deeply troubled; *
preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.
108 Accept, O LORD, the willing tribute of my lips, *
and teach me your judgments.
109 My life is always in my hand, *
yet I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a trap for me, *
but I have not strayed from your commandments.
111 Your decrees are my inheritance for ever; *
truly, they are the joy of my heart.
112 I have applied my heart to fulfill your statutes *
for ever and to the end.

113 I hate those who have a divided heart, *
but your law do I love.
114 You are my refuge and shield; *
my hope is in your word.
115 Away from me, you wicked! *
I will keep the commandments of my God.
116 Sustain me according to your promise, that I may live, *
and let me not be disappointed in my hope.
117 Hold me up, and I shall be safe, *
and my delight shall be ever in your statutes.
118 You spurn all who stray from your statutes; *
their deceitfulness is in vain.
119 In your sight all the wicked of the earth are but dross; *
therefore I love your decrees.
120 My flesh trembles with dread of you; *
I am afraid of your judgments.

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.

Richard McBee, 1996: Haman’s Fate

THE LESSONS
Esther 6:1-14 (NRSV)

On that night the king could not sleep, and he gave orders to bring the book of records, the annals, and they were read to the king. It was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had conspired to assassinate King Ahasuerus. Then the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him. So the king’s servants told him, “Haman is there, standing in the court.” The king said, “Let him come in.” So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?” Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” So Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king wishes to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and a horse that the king has ridden, with a royal crown on its head. Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials; let him robe the man whom the king wishes to honor, and let him conduct the man on horseback through the open square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.’” Then the king said to Haman, “Quickly, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to the Jew Mordecai who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.” So Haman took the robes and the horse and robed Mordecai and led him riding through the open square of the city, proclaiming, “Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.”

Then Mordecai returned to the king’s gate, but Haman hurried to his house, mourning and with his head covered. When Haman told his wife Zeresh and all his friends everything that had happened to him, his advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “If Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of the Jewish people, you will not prevail against him, but will surely fall before him.”

While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman off to the banquet that Esther had prepared.

Canticle: A Song of Ezekiel
Ezekiel 36:24-28

I will take you from among all nations; *
and gather you from all lands to bring you home.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you; *
and purify you from false gods and uncleanness.
A new heart I will give you *
and a new spirit put within you.
I will take the stone heart from your chest *
and give you a heart of flesh.
I will help you walk in my laws *
and cherish my commandments and do them.
You shall be my people, *
and I will be your God.

Acts 19:11-20 (NRSV)

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit said to them in reply, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. A number of those who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

Canticle: A Song of the Spirit
Revelation 22:12-17

“Behold, I am coming soon,” says the Lord,
“and bringing my reward with me, *
to give to everyone according to their deeds.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, *
the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who do God’s commandments,
that they may have the right to the tree of life, *
and may enter the city through the gates.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to you, *
with this testimony for all the churches.
“I am the root and the offspring of David, *
I am the bright morning star.”
“Come!” say the Spirit and the Bride; *
“Come!” let each hearer reply!
Come forward, you who are thirsty, *
let those who desire take the water of life as a gift.

Duccio di Buoninsegna, c. 1311: Temptation of Christ on the Mountain

Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.'” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

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.

One day in Iconium, Thecla heard a sermon on chastity by St. Paul that so moved her, she went on an immediate three-day fast, after which she broke off her engagement in favor of lifelong virginity. This displeased her fiancé, her wealthy family and the Roman governor, so she was put to death. Her cult began very quickly afterward, and she has always been seen as a prime example of the empowerment of women. This window hangs at the Basilica of Ars, France. (Biblical Archaeology)

Collect of the Day: Thecla of Iconium, Proto-Martyr among Women, c.70

God of liberating power, empower courageous evangelists among us, that men and women everywhere may know the freedom that you offer; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

On Racism and Injustice
© Daily Office Network

O God, call us into a deeper relationship to be your church for the sake of the world. Help us to see with new eyes the injustices within church and society. Call us to have a loving heart that respects and uplifts the humanity and dignity of every person; open our ears to listen and learn from the experiences of people whose skin is different from ours. Open our mouths to speak up about injustices. Join us with others to work for racial equity and inclusion for all people. 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.

“Nobody hurts our Thecla!” Legend says she was sentenced to die in the arena, but the lions refused to participate. (allswell.com)

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

WEEK ONE

Each of the 31.9 million cases of coronavirus worldwide; especially Zoe, Sarah & Henrietta
All who bravely put their lives on the line to serve and save others

Honorary Deacon Clint, safe passage
Martha, more freedom of movement, less pain
Padre Mickey, chemotherapy’s on hold
Jennifer’s MS
Nora, anxiety, mourning her mother
J. Huertas, heart problems
Marilyn, Jan’s sister, major illness
Yvonne, chemotherapy
Jon, diabetic macular edema and glaucoma: surgery complete, residual pain
Jimmy, stroke
Marsi, cancer
Cheryl D., car accident
Mark, pain after surgery
Paris, Jason & baby Brenden, complications of birth
Joanne, physical & mental health
Katheryn and son Robert, mild cognitive impairment
Marcella, nerve damage & intractable pain
Nora Jean, toddler with brain cancer; parents Alex & Caroline
Abby, age 11, health and healing

For Caregivers
Greg
Jena
Karen
Clare
Bill
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: Voices of Faith – Mark Rogers, Diocese of Western Masssachusetts, this week