Morning Prayer 1.14.09

revdrsharonwatkins

There’s been a fair amount of hoopla about who’s giving what prayers at President-elect Obama’s inauguration, so don’t let this get lost: the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, President and General Minister of the Christian Church-Disciples of Christ, will become the first woman ever to preach at the National Prayer Service Jan. 21, held at the National Cathedral. Billy Graham preached for President Bush’s second term. Dr. Watkins was the first woman chosen to head a mainline U.S. denomination in 2005, a year before Katharine Jefferts Schori was elected Presiding Bishop of TEC. In honor of Ms. Watkins’ selection, we will handle the Creed a little differently today, one time only; see below. The Disciples historically have professed “no Creed but the Bible,” but their mission statement is very similar.

Holy Spirit, let me be aware of your presence and that of countless others as together we pray your Divine Office in love.

I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:6b

INVITATORY & 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 forever. Amen.

The Lord has shown forth his glory: Come let us adore him.

“Jubilate” (Psalm 100)

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

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

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

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

Psalm 119:1-24

Happy are they whose way is blameless, *
who walk in the law of the LORD!
Happy are they who observe his decrees *
and seek him with all their hearts!
Who never do any wrong, *
but always walk in his ways.
You laid down your commandments, *
that we should fully keep them.
Oh, that my ways were made so direct *
that I might keep your statutes!
Then I should not be put to shame, *
when I regard all your commandments.
I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, *
when I have learned your righteous judgments.
I will keep your statutes; *
do not utterly forsake me.

How shall a young man cleanse his way? *
By keeping to your words.
With my whole heart I seek you; *
let me not stray from your commandments.
I treasure your promise in my heart, *
that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD; *
instruct me in your statutes.
With my lips will I recite *
all the judgments of your mouth.
I have taken greater delight in the way of your decrees *
than in all manner of riches.
I will meditate on your commandments *
and give attention to your ways.
My delight is in your statutes; *
I will not forget your word.

Deal bountifully with your servant, *
that I may live and keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may see *
the wonders of your law.
I am a stranger here on earth; *
do not hide your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed at all times *
with longing for your judgments.
You have rebuked the insolent; *
cursed are they who stray from your commandments!
Turn from me shame and rebuke, *
for I have kept your decrees.
Even though rulers sit and plot against me, *
I will meditate on your statutes.
For your decrees are my delight, *
and they are my counselors.

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 LESSONS
Isaiah 41:1-16 (NRSV)

Listen to me in silence,
O coastlands;
let the peoples renew their strength;
let them approach, then let them speak;
let us together draw near for judgment.

Who has roused a victor from the east,
summoned him to his service?
He delivers up nations to him,
and tramples kings under foot;
he makes them like dust with his sword,
like driven stubble with his bow.
He pursues them and passes on safely,
scarcely touching the path with his feet.
Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the LORD, am first, and will be with the last.
The coastlands have seen and are afraid,
the ends of the earth tremble;
they have drawn near and come.
Each one helps the other,
saying to one another, “Take courage!”
The artisan encourages the goldsmith,
and the one who smooths with the hammer encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.
But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, “You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
do not fear, for I am with you,
do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Yes, all who are incensed against you
shall be ashamed and disgraced;
those who strive against you
shall be as nothing and shall perish.
You shall seek those who contend with you,
but you shall not find them;
those who war against you
shall be as nothing at all.
For I, the LORD your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Do not fear,
I will help you.”

Do not fear, you worm Jacob,
you insect Israel!
I will help you, says the LORD;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
Now, I will make of you a threshing sledge,
sharp, new, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff.
You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
Then you shall rejoice in the LORD;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.

Canticle: Third Song of Isaiah
Surge, illuminare
Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19

Arise, shine, for your light has come, *
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land; *
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise, *
and his glory will appear upon you.
Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut.
They will call you, The City of the Lord, *
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Violence will no more be heard in your land, *
ruin or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls, Salvation, *
and all your portals, Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day; *
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.
The Lord will be your everlasting light, *
and your God will be your glory.

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.

Ephesians 2:1-10 (NRSV)

You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.

But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Canticle: Song of Zechariah
Benedictus Dominus Deus
Luke 1:68-79

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers *
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

TWO CREEDAL STATEMENTS
One or the other, as conscience may permit

A Disciples Affirmation

As members of the Christian Church,

We confess that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God, and we proclaim him Lord and Savior of the World.

In Christ’s name and by his grace we accept our mission of witness and service to all people.

We rejoice in God, maker of heaven and earth, and in the covenant of love which binds us to God and one another.

Through baptism into Christ we enter into newness of life and are made one with the whole people of God.

In the communion of the Holy Spirit we are joined together in discipleship and in obedience to Christ.

At the table of the Lord we celebrate with thanksgiving the saving acts and presence of Christ.

Within the universal church, we receive the gift of ministry and the light of scripture.

In the bonds of Christian faith we yield ourselves to God that we may serve the One whose kingdom has no end.

Blessing, glory and honor be to God forever. Amen.

Preamble to the Design of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Apostles’ Creed
1st to 5th Century, A.D.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He 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,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

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

Collect of the Day: First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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.

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.++

Evening Prayer 12.26.08, St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr

Stephen preaches in the synagogue

Begin with awareness that you are praying with others around the world; this is the Common Prayer of the Church.

Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

INVITATORY & 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 forever. Amen.

It is good to light a candle here.

Hymn: Phos hilaron

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 118

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; *
his mercy endures for ever.
Let Israel now proclaim, *
“His mercy endures for ever.”
Let the house of Aaron now proclaim, *
“His mercy endures for ever.”
Let those who fear the LORD now proclaim, *
“His mercy endures for ever.”
I called to the LORD in my distress; *
the LORD answered by setting me free.
The LORD is at my side, therefore I will not fear; *
what can anyone do to me?
The LORD is at my side to help me; *
I will triumph over those who hate me.
It is better to rely on the LORD *
than to put any trust in flesh.
It is better to rely on the LORD *
than to put any trust in rulers.
All the ungodly encompass me; *
in the Name of the LORD I will repel them.
They hem me in, they hem me in on every side; *
in the name of the LORD I will repel them.
They swarm about me like bees;
they blaze like a fire of thorns; *
in the name of the LORD I will repel them.
I was pressed so hard that I almost fell, *
but the LORD came to my help.

The LORD is my strength and my song, *
and he has become my salvation.
There is a sound of exultation and victory *
in the tents of the righteous:
The right hand of the LORD has triumphed! *
the right hand of the LORD is exalted!
the right hand of the LORD has triumphed!�
I shall not die, but live, *
and declare the works of the LORD.
The LORD has punished me sorely, *
but he did not hand me over to death.

Open for me the gates of righteousness; *
I will enter them;
I will offer thanks to the LORD.
“This is the gate of the LORD; *
he who is righteous may enter.”
I will give thanks to you, for you answered me *
and have become my salvation.
The same stone which the builders rejected *
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the LORD’S doing, *
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
On this day the LORD has acted; *
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Hosanna, LORD, hosanna! *
LORD, send us now success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; *
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
God is the LORD; he has shined upon us; *
form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.
“You are my God, and I will thank you; *
you are my God, and I will exalt you.”
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; *
his mercy endures 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 LESSONS
Wisdom 4:7-15 (BRSV)

But the righteous, though they die early, will be at rest.
For old age is not honored for length of time,
or measured by number of years;
but understanding is grey hair for anyone,
and a blameless life is ripe old age.

There were some who pleased God and were loved by him,
and while living among sinners were taken up.
They were caught up so that evil might not change their understanding
or guile deceive their souls.
For the fascination of wickedness obscures what is good,
and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Being perfected in a short time, they fulfilled long years;
for their souls were pleasing to the Lord,
therefore he took them quickly from the midst of wickedness.
Yet the peoples saw and did not understand,
or take such a thing to heart,
that God’s grace and mercy are with his elect,
and that he watches over his holy ones.

Canticle: A Song of Praise
Bendictus es, Domine
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.

Acts 7:59—8:8 (NRSV)

While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

And Saul approved of their killing him. That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.

Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralyzed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.

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

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations shall call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
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
You may omit the Creed if you said it this morning.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
He 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, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
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.

That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may depart this life in your faith and fear,
and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ,
We entreat you, O Lord.
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,
We entreat you, O Lord.

Collect of the Day: Feast of St. Stephen

We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

A Prayer for A Best Friend
[Dr. Stephen Helmreich]
By Josh Thomas

Dear God, I give you praise and thanks for my friend N, who has graced my life with wisdom, love and laughter since we met. When my life is going well, I can’t wait to tell him; when I am hurting, he consoles me, and when I have failed, he accepts me. You have made my friend a bearer of your love for me; I see the light you made to shine in him. Shower my friend with blessings today, O Lord; make me worthy to receive the gifts he brings each time we’re together, and help me return in full measure the love I feel for him. You have made us one in your Spirit, O Lord; thanks be to God, Amen.

For the Diocese of Western New York and Province II

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel in the Diocese of Western New York and all of Province II, for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach them in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide them to perceive what is right, and grant them both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.

A Collect for Mission

O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your presence: Send forth upon us the Spirit of love, that in companionship with one another your abounding grace may increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Please offer your own intercessions and thanksgivings here.

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.++

Morning Prayer 12.26.08, St. Stephen, Deacon & Martyr

ststephenicon

Aidan Hart

Holy Spirit, let me be aware of your presence and that of countless others, as together we pray your Divine Office in love.

Behold, the dwelling of God is with mankind. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them, and be their God. Revelation 21:3

INVITATORY & 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 forever. Amen.

Alleluia. To us a child is born: Come let us adore him.

“Venite” (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 his presence with thanksgiving;
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God;
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth;
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands have molded the dry land.

Come, let us bow down and bend the knee,
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Psalm 28

O LORD, I call to you;
my Rock, do not be deaf to my cry; *
lest, if you do not hear me,
I become like those who go down to the Pit.
Hear the voice of my prayer when I cry out to you, *
when I lift up my hand to your holy of holies.
Do not snatch me away with the wicked or with the evildoers, *
who speak peaceably with their neighbors,
while strife is in their hearts.
Repay them according to their deeds, *
and according to the wickedness of their actions.
According to the work of their hands repay them, *
and give them their just deserts.
They have no understanding of the LORD’s doings,
nor of the works of his hands; *
therefore he will break them down and not build them up.
Blessed is the LORD! *
for he has heard the voice of my prayer.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; *
my heart trusts in him, and I have been helped;
Therefore my heart dances for joy, *
and in my song will I praise him.
The LORD is the strength of his people, *
a safe refuge for his anointed.
Save your people and bless your inheritance; *
shepherd them and carry them for ever.

Psalm 30

I will exalt you, O LORD,
because you have lifted me up *
and have not let my enemies triumph over me.
O LORD my God, I cried out to you, *
and you restored me to health.
You brought me up, O LORD, from the dead; *
you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.
Sing to the LORD, you servants of his; *
give thanks for the remembrance of his holiness.
For his wrath endures but the twinkling of an eye, *
his favor for a lifetime.
Weeping may spend the night, *
but joy comes in the morning.
While I felt secure, I said,
“I shall never be disturbed. *
You, LORD, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains.”
Then you hid your face, *
and I was filled with fear.
I cried to you, O LORD; *
I pleaded with the Lord, saying,
“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the Pit? *
will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me; *
O LORD, be my helper.”
You have turned my wailing into dancing; *
you have put off my sack-cloth and clothed me with joy.
Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing; *
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks 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 LESSONS
2 Chronicles 24:17-22 (NRSV)

Now after the death of Jehoiada the officials of Judah came and did obeisance to the king; then the king listened to them. They abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and served the sacred poles and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. Yet he sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD; they testified against them, but they would not listen.

Then the spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada; he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has also forsaken you.” But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD. King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. As he was dying, he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!”

Canticle: Second Song of Isaiah
Quaerite Dominum
Isaiah 55:6-11

Seek the Lord while he wills to be found; *
call upon him when he draws near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways *
and the evil ones their thoughts;
And let them turn to the Lord, and he will have compassion, *
and to our God, for he will richly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, *
nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, *
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as rain and snow fall from the heavens *
and return not again, but water the earth,
Bringing forth life and giving growth, *
seed for sowing and bread for eating,
So is my word that goes forth from my mouth; *
it will not return to me empty;
But it will accomplish that which I have purposed, *
and prosper in that for which I sent it.

Acts 6:1-7 (NRSV)

Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.

The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Canticle: A Song to the Lamb
Dignus es
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.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He 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,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
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.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
Govern and uphold them, now and always.
Day by day we bless you;
We praise your Name for ever.
Lord, keep us from all sin today;
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
Lord, show us your love and mercy;
For we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope;
And we shall never hope in vain.

Collect of the Day: Feast of St. Stephen

We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. 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.

Prayer for Mission

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within 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.

(Please offer your own prayers and supplications here.)

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.++

Evening Prayer 12.25.08, Christmas Night

madonnachildlamblinn2

Linn: Madonna, Child and Lamb

Begin with awareness that you are praying with others around the world; this is the Common Prayer of the Church.

Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

INVITATORY & 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 forever. Amen.

(You may wish to light a candle here.)

Hymn: Phos hilaron

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 110:1-5

The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, *
until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The LORD will send the scepter of your power out of Zion, *
saying, “Rule over your enemies round about you.
Princely state has been yours from the day of your birth; *
in the beauty of holiness have I begotten you,
like dew from the womb of the morning.”
The LORD has sworn and he will not recant: *
“You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
The Lord who is at your right hand
will smite kings in the day of his wrath; *
he will rule over the nations.

Psalm 132

LORD, remember David, *
and all the hardships he endured;
How he swore an oath to the LORD *
and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
“I will not come under the roof of my house, *
nor climb up into my bed;
I will not allow my eyes to sleep, *
nor let my eyelids slumber;
Until I find a place for the LORD, *
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
“The ark! We heard it was in Ephratah; *
we found it in the fields of Jearim.
Let us go to God’s dwelling place; *
let us fall upon our knees before his footstool.”
Arise, O LORD, into your resting-place, *
you and the ark of your strength.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness; *
let your faithful people sing with joy.
For your servant David’s sake, *
do not turn away the face of your Anointed.
The LORD has sworn an oath to David; *
in truth, he will not break it:
“A son, the fruit of your body *
will I set upon your throne.
If your children keep my covenant
and my testimonies that I shall teach them, *
their children will sit upon your throne for evermore.”
For the LORD has chosen Zion; *
he has desired her for his habitation:
“This shall be my resting-place for ever; *
here will I dwell, for I delight in her.
I will surely bless her provisions, *
and satisfy her poor with bread.
I will clothe her priests with salvation, *
and her faithful people will rejoice and sing.
There will I make the horn of David flourish; *
I have prepared a lamp for my Anointed.
As for his enemies, I will clothe them with shame; *
but as for him, his crown will shine.”

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 LESSON
John 3:31-36 (NRSV)

The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.

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

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations shall call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
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
(You may omit the Creed if you said it this morning.)

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
He 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, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
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.

That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That your holy angels may lead us in paths of peace and goodwill,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may be pardoned and forgiven for our sins and offenses,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That there may be peace to your Church and to the whole world,
We entreat you, O Lord.
That we may depart this life in your faith and fear,
and not be condemned before the great judgment seat of Christ,
We entreat you, O Lord.
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,
We entreat you, O Lord.

Collect of the Day: Christmas

O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

A Collect for Peace

Most holy God, the source of all good desires, all right judgments, and all just works: Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of your will, and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies, may live in peace and quietness; through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen.

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.

(Please add your own prayers here.)

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.++

Morning Prayer 12.25.08, Nativity of Our Lord

Holy Family

Holy Spirit, let me be aware of your presence and that of countless others, as together we pray your Divine Office in love.

Behold, the dwelling of God is with mankind. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them, and be their God. Revelation 21:3

INVITATORY & 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 forever. Amen.

Alleluia. To us a child is born: Come let us adore him. Alleluia.

“Venite” (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 his presence with thanksgiving;
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God;
and a great King above all gods.
In his hand are the caverns of the earth;
and the heights of the hills are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands have molded the dry land.

Come, let us bow down and bend the knee,
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Psalm 2

Why are the nations in an uproar? *
Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?
Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt,
and the princes plot together, *
against the LORD and against his Anointed?
“Let us break their yoke,” they say; *
“let us cast off their bonds from us.”
He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; *
the Lord has them in derision.
Then he speaks to them in his wrath, *
and his rage fills them with terror.
“I myself have set my king *
upon my holy hill of Zion.”
Let me announce the decree of the LORD: *
he said to me, “You are my Son;
this day have I begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance *
and the ends of the earth for your possession.
You shall crush them with an iron rod *
and shatter them like a piece of pottery.”
And now, you kings, be wise; *
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Submit to the LORD with fear, *
and with trembling bow before him;
Lest he be angry and you perish; *
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are they all *
who take refuge in him!

Psalm 85

You have been gracious to your land, O LORD, *
you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of your people *
and blotted out all their sins.
You have withdrawn all your fury *
and turned yourself from your wrathful indignation.
Restore us then, O God our Savior; *
let your anger depart from us.
Will you be displeased with us for ever? *
will you prolong your anger from age to age?
Will you not give us life again, *
that your people may rejoice in you?
Show us your mercy, O LORD, *
and grant us your salvation.
I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, *
for he is speaking peace to his faithful people
and to those who turn their hearts to him.
Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, *
that his glory may dwell in our land.
Mercy and truth have met together; *
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring up from the earth, *
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, *
and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before him, *
and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.

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.

Zechariah 2:10-13 (NRSV)

Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will come and dwell in your midst, says the LORD. Many nations shall join themselves to the LORD on that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in your midst. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all people, before the LORD; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Canticle: The Song of Moses
Cantemus Domino
Exodus 15:1-6, 11-13, 17-18

I will sing to the Lord, for he is lofty and uplifted; *
the horse and its rider has he hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my refuge; *
the Lord has become my Savior.
This is my God and I will praise him, *
the God of my people and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a mighty warrior; *
Yahweh is his Name.
The chariots of Pharoah and his army has he hurled into the sea
the finest of those who bear armor have been drowned in the Red Sea.
The fathomless deep has overwhelmed them; *
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in might; *
your right hand, O Lord, has overthrown the enemy.
Who can be compared with you, O Lord, among the gods? *
who is like you, glorious in holiness,
awesome in renown, and worker of wonders?
You stretched forth your right hand; *
the earth swallowed them up.
With your constant love you led the people you redeemed; *
with your might you brought them in safety to your holy dwelling.
You will bring them in and plant them *
on the mount of your possession,
The resting-place you have made for yourself, O Lord, *
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hand has established.
The Lord shall reign *
for ever and for ever.

Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

1 John 4:7-16 (NRSV)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

Canticle: Glory to God
Gloria in excelsis

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He 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,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

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

Collect of the Day: The Nativity of Our Lord

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born this day of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

For Peace Among the Nations

Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

For the Unity of the Church

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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.

(Please offer your own prayers and supplications here.)

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++

Morning Prayer 12.24.08, Last Day of Advent

cyanistes_caeruleus

All dressed up and ready for the end of Advent, Cyanistes caeruleus, the blue titmouse.

Holy Spirit, let me be aware of your presence and that of countless others as together we pray your Divine Office in love.

In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3

INVITATORY & 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 forever. Amen.

The earth is the Lord’s, for he made it: Come let us adore him.

“Jubilate” (Psalm 100)

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

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

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

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

Psalm 45

My heart is stirring with a noble song;
let me recite what I have fashioned for the king; *
my tongue shall be the pen of a skilled writer.
You are the fairest of men; *
grace flows from your lips,
because God has blessed you for ever.
Strap your sword upon your thigh, O mighty warrior, *
in your pride and in your majesty.
Ride out and conquer in the cause of truth *
and for the sake of justice.
Your right hand will show you marvelous things; *
your arrows are very sharp, O mighty warrior.
The peoples are falling at your feet, *
and the king’s enemies are losing heart.
Your throne, O God, endures for ever and ever, *
a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom;
you love righteousness and hate iniquity.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you *
with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
All your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia, *
and the music of strings from ivory palaces makes you glad.
Kings’ daughters stand among the ladies of the court; *
on your right hand is the queen,
adorned with the gold of Ophir.
“Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; *
forget your people and your father’s house.
The king will have pleasure in your beauty; *
he is your master; therefore do him honor.
The people of Tyre are here with a gift; *
the rich among the people seek your favor.”
All glorious is the princess as she enters; *
her gown is cloth-of-gold.
In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; *
after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
With joy and gladness they are brought, *
and enter into the palace of the king.
“In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; *
you shall make them princes over all the earth.
I will make your name to be remembered
from one generation to another; *
therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever.”

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, *
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved, *
and though the mountains be toppled into the depths of the sea;
Though its waters rage and foam, *
and though the mountains tremble at its tumult.
The LORD of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, *
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her;
she shall not be overthrown; *
God shall help her at the break of day.
The nations make much ado, and the kingdoms are shaken; *
God has spoken, and the earth shall melt away.
The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Come now and look upon the works of the LORD, *
what awesome things he has done on earth.
It is he who makes war to cease in all the world; *
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,
and burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, then, and know that I am God; *
I will be exalted among the nations;
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us; *
the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

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 LESSONS
Isaiah 35:1-10 (NRSV)

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly,
and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the LORD,
the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,
and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,
the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

A highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,
but it shall be for God’s people;
no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Canticle: Third Song of Isaiah
Surge, illuminare
Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19

Arise, shine, for your light has come, *
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land; *
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise, *
and his glory will appear upon you.
Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut.
They will call you, The City of the Lord, *
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Violence will no more be heard in your land, *
ruin or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls, Salvation, *
and all your portals, Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day; *
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.
The Lord will be your everlasting light, *
and your God will be your glory.

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.

Revelation 22:12-17, 21 (NRSV)

“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.

Canticle: Song of Zechariah
Benedictus Dominus Deus
Luke 1:68-79

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers *
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He 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,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.

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

Collect of the Day: Fourth Sunday of Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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.

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.++