Morning Prayer 3.2.16, Anskar, Archbishop & Missionary to Scandinavia, 865

The angel said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

Caravaggio: The Sacrifice of Isaac. This is one of the most difficult stories in the Bible, though it prefigures the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, in which God offered "his son, his only son."

Caravaggio: The Sacrifice of Isaac. This is one of the most difficult (and unpopular) stories in the Bible, and many scholars believe it went through many rewrites and edits before coming down in the form in which we have it today. Some believe it is a heavily veiled prohibition of the widespread practice in ancient times of human sacrifice. God appears to demand the child’s death, then prevents it by an angel’s intervention. Most agree that it is an example of God putting Abraham to the ultimate test of faith; Abraham demonstrates his worthiness and obedience, becoming the “father of many nations” and of the three great Abrahamic religions. In Christian terms it can be said to prefigure the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, in which God offered “his son, his only son,” a test Jesus proved able to meet. Today’s lesson is typically featured in the great “history of salvation” readings at both Christmas and Easter; its theme is the triumph of faith.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

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
Venite

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 the Lord is 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 72

1  Give the king your justice, O God, *
and your righteousness to the king’s son;
2  That he may rule your people righteously *
and the poor with justice;
3  That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
and the little hills bring righteousness.
4  He shall defend the needy among the people, *
and shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.
5  He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, *
from one generation to another.
6  He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, *
like showers that water the earth.
7  In his time shall the righteous flourish; *
there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.
8  He shall rule from sea to sea, *
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9  His foes shall bow down before him, *
and his enemies lick the dust.
10  The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall pay tribute, *
and the rulers of Arabia and Saba offer gifts.
11  All kings shall bow down before him, *
and all the nations do him service.
12  For he shall deliver the poor who cries out in distress, *
and the oppressed who has no helper.
13  He shall have pity on the lowly and poor; *
and shall preserve the lives of the needy.
14  He shall redeem their lives from oppression and violence, *
and dear shall their blood be in his sight.
15  Long may he live!
and may there be given to him gold from Arabia; *
may prayer be made for him always,
and may they bless him all the day long.
16  May there be abundance of grain on the earth,
growing thick even on the hilltops; *
may its fruit flourish like Lebanon,
and its grain like grass upon the earth.
17  May his name remain for ever
and be established as long as the sun endures; *
may all the nations bless themselves in him and call him blessed.

18  Blessed be the Lord GOD, the God of Israel, *
who alone does wondrous deeds!
19  And blessed be God’s glorious Name for ever! *
and may all the earth be filled with the glory of the LORD.
Amen. Amen.

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
Genesis 22:1-18 (NRSV)

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the LORD: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”

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.

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.

Hebrews 11:23-31 (NRSV)

By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered abuse suffered for the Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

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.

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.

John 6:52-59 (NRSV)

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

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 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.

Engelbert Peiffer: St. Anskar statue in Hamburg, Germany, where he was Archbishop before he became a missionary. Anskar received two visions from God telling him to "Go and declare the work of God to the nations," but his monastic brothers in Germany thought he was crazy for wanting to go and evangelize the barbarous Vikings of Denmark and Sweden. He tried his best, but the results were meager, two churches, a school and one priest. A century later, however, times changed, and people remembered his efforts.

Engelbert Peiffer: St. Anskar statue in Hamburg, Germany, where he was Archbishop before he became a missionary. He received two visions from God telling him to “Go and declare the work of God to the nations,” but his monastic brothers thought he was crazy for wanting to evangelize the barbarous Vikings of Denmark and Sweden. He tried his best, but the results were meager: two churches, a school and one priest. A century later, however, times changed, and people revered him for his efforts.

Collect of the Day: Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden, 865

Almighty and everlasting God, you sent your servant Anskar as an apostle to the people of Scandinavia, and enabled him to lay a firm foundation for their conversion, though he did not see the results of his labors: Keep your Church from discouragement in the day of small things, knowing that when you have begun a good work you will bring it to a faithful conclusion; 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 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.

For joy in God's creation: Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona. (Matt York/Associated Press)

For joy in God’s creation: Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona. The river, 1450 miles long, flows through seven U.S. states and two in Mexico. (Matt York/Associated Press)

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
Special intention today: Vilma, 89, surgery

Rebecca, cataracts
John, depression
Joan
Herb, rehab hospital
Isabella, hospitalized
The Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester
John, cancer
Louie B., ALS
Alison Demarest, coma recovery
Jack
Regina, hospice care
Lily, healing
Elliott, surgery
Dave, surgery
Bob H., Parkinson’s
Hunter
Jacque, cancer
Harry K., bone marrow/vision
Chuck
Fr. Tim Murphy
Dina
Krystle
Michele, cancer
Al, cancer
Honorary Deacon Clint, soul-medic

For Caregivers & Families
Rav
Brooke
Peggy
Paul

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.

A Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, you have given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications 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 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: Caravaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac – Shauna Stadnik, 2010

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