Morning Prayer 2.2.17, Thursday of Epiphany 4

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.

The lovely interior of Christ Church, Rochester, New York - where our Vicar is glad not to have to preach under that sounding board. (parish photo)

The lovely interior of Christ Church, Rochester, New York – where our Vicar is glad not to have to preach under that sounding board unless he could review the weekly inspection reports. The fellow at the lectern has the right idea. (parish photo)

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
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 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 71

1  In you, O LORD, have I taken refuge; *
let me never be ashamed.
2  In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; *
incline your ear to me and save me.
3  Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *
you are my crag and my stronghold.
4  Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, *
from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.
5  For you are my hope, O Lord GOD, *
my confidence since I was young.
6  I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
from my mother’s womb you have been my strength; *
my praise shall be always of you.
7  I have become a portent to many; *
but you are my refuge and my strength.
8  Let my mouth be full of your praise *
and your glory all the day long.
9  Do not cast me off in my old age; *
forsake me not when my strength fails.
10  For my enemies are talking against me, *
and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together.
11  They say that God has forsaken me,
that they will come after me and seize me; *
because there is none who will save.
12  O God, be not far from me; *
come quickly to help me, O my God.
13  Let those who set themselves against me be put to shame and be disgraced; *
let those who seek to do me evil be covered with scorn and reproach.
14  But I shall always wait in patience, *
and shall praise you more and more.
15  My mouth shall recount your mighty acts
and saving deeds all day long; *
though I cannot know the number of them.
16  I will begin with the mighty works of the Lord GOD; *
I will recall your righteousness, yours alone.
17  O God, you have taught me since I was young, *
and to this day I tell of your wonderful works.

18  And now that I am old and gray-headed, O God, do not forsake me, *
till I make known your strength to this generation
and your power to all who are to come.
19  Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens; *
you have done great things;
who is like you, O God?
20  You have showed me great troubles and adversities, *
but you will restore my life
and bring me up again from the deep places of the earth.
21  You strengthen me more and more; *
you enfold and comfort me.
22  Therefore I will praise you upon the lyre for your faithfulness, O my God; *
I will sing to you with the harp, O Holy One of Israel.
23  My lips will sing with joy when I play to you, *
and so will my soul, which you have redeemed.
24  My tongue will proclaim your righteousness all day long, *
for they are ashamed and disgraced who sought to do me harm.

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.

Myrtle growing wild on lower Mt Hermon, near the Saar waterfall in Israel. It's an endangered species now, protected by the government, and it figures in the first lesson. (Ori Fragman-Sapir, Jerusalem Botanical Garden)

Myrtle growing wild on lower Mt Hermon, near the Saar waterfall in Israel. It’s an endangered species now, protected by the government, and it figures in today’s first lesson. (Ori Fragman-Sapir, Jerusalem Botanical Garden)

THE LESSONS
Isaiah 55:1-13 (NRSV)

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are 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 the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the LORD for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

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.

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.

Galatians 5:1-15 (NRSV)

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.

You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

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.

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.

William Hole: Jesus Rebukes Peter

William Hole: Jesus Rebukes Peter

Mark 8:27 – 9:1 (NRSV)

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him. Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

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.

Br. John Huebner, CG, of our U.S. congregation has been busy renovating and creating a new worship space for the Church of the Advocate, a mission to homeless and vulnerable street people in Asheville, North Carolina. As you can see, it's already a holy place by all the love and care that went into it.

Br. John Huebner, CG, of our U.S. congregation has been busy renovating and creating a new worship space for the Church of the Advocate, a mission to homeless and vulnerable street people in Asheville, North Carolina. As you can see, it’s already a holy place by all the love and care that went into it.

Collect of the Day: Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; 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 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.

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.

Thursday Morning Prayer List

12 Deadliest Places of War, Political Unrest & Violence, 2016
Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico, Somalia/Kenya, Nigeria/Cameroon/Niger/Chad, Libya, South Sudan, Turkey, Sudan, Yemen/Saudi Arabia, Egypt

For peace in these nations
Civilians in danger zones
Peacemakers and military personnel
First responders, emergency workers and civilian volunteers
Doctors Without Borders

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.

God’s blessing be with us,
Christ’s peace be with us,
the Spirit’s outpouring be with us,
now and always. Amen.++

VIDEO: Fairest Lord Jesus (#383, St. Elizabeth, German, 1842; German composite) – Maranatha!, Celtic Hymns, 2000

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