Morning Prayer 25.9.18, Sergius, Abbot of Holy Trinity, Moscow, 1392

Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet that I have prepared for the king.”

British-born Episcopal priest David Boase, who serves two churches in Alton, Illinois, is likely to be deported on a felony charge of voting as a non-citizen in a federal election in 2006. It was an accident, his lawyer says; he got a driver’s license and Illinois offered to register him to vote, then the next year a local levy came up to support firefighters, and he voted for it. Until a recent change in U.S. policy, prosecutors had discretion about charging an ineligble voter with a good record of service to the community, but now the government wants to make an example of him. (parish photo)

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

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 78:1-39

1 Hear my teaching, O my people; *
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; *
I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
3 That which we have heard and known,
and what our ancestors have told us, *
we will not hide from their children.
4 We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the LORD, *
and the wonderful works God has done.
5 God set up decrees for Jacob
and established a law for Israel, *
commanding them to teach it to their children;
6 That the generations to come might know,
and the children yet unborn; *
that they in their turn might tell it to their children;
7 So that they might put their trust in God, *
and not forget the deeds of God,
but keep God’s commandments;
8 And not be like their ancestors,
a stubborn and rebellious generation, *
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
and whose spirit was not faithful to God.

9 The people of Ephraim, armed with the bow, *
turned back in the day of battle;
10 They did not keep the covenant of God, *
and refused to walk in God’s law;
11 They forgot what God had done, *
and the wonders shown to them.
12 God worked marvels in the sight of their ancestors, *
in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 God split open the sea and let them pass through; *
making the waters stand up like walls.
14 God led them with a cloud by day, *
and all the night through with a glow of fire.
15 God split the hard rocks in the wilderness *
and gave them drink as from the great deep.
16 God brought streams out of the cliff, *
and the waters gushed out like rivers.
17 But they went on sinning against the LORD, *
rebelling in the desert against the Most High.

18 They tested God in their hearts, *
demanding food for their craving.
19 They railed against God and said, *
“Can God set a table in the wilderness?
20 True, God struck the rock, the waters gushed out, and the gullies overflowed; *
but is God able to give bread
or to provide meat for this people?”
21 Hearing this, the LORD was full of wrath; *
a fire was kindled against Jacob,
the LORD’s anger mounted against Israel;
22 For they had no faith in God, *
nor did they put their trust in the LORD’s saving power.
23 So God commanded the clouds above *
and opened the doors of heaven.
24 God rained down manna upon them to eat *
and gave them grain from heaven.
25 So mortals ate the bread of angels; *
God provided for them food enough.
26 God caused the east wind to blow in the heavens *
and mightily led out the south wind.
27 God rained down flesh upon them like dust *
and wingèd birds like the sand of the sea.
28 God let it fall in the midst of their camp *
and round about their dwellings.
29 So they ate and were well filled, *
for the LORD gave them what they craved.

30 But they did not stop their craving, *
though the food was still in their mouths.
31 So God’s anger mounted against them; *
God slew their strongest
and laid low the youth of Israel.
32 In spite of all this, they went on sinning *
and had no faith in God’s wonderful works.
33 So God brought their days to an end like a breath *
and their years in sudden terror.
34 Whenever God slew them, they would repent, *
and they would diligently search for God.
35 They would remember that God was their rock, *
and the Most High God their redeemer.
36 But they flattered God with their mouths *
and lied to God with their tongues.
37 Their heart was not steadfast toward God, *
and they were not faithful to the covenant.
38 But being so merciful, God forgave their sins
and did not destroy them; *
many times God held back anger
and did not permit divine wrath to be roused.
39 For the LORD remembered that they were but flesh, *
a breath that goes forth and does not return.

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.

Giovanni Andras Sirani, c. 1630s: Esther before Ahaseurus (Budapest Museum of Fine Art)

THE LESSONS
Esther 5:1-14 (NRSV)

On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace, opposite the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne inside the palace opposite the entrance to the palace. As soon as the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favor and he held out to her the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther approached and touched the top of the scepter. The king said to her, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? It shall be given you, even to the half of my kingdom.” Then Esther said, “If it pleases the king, let the king and Haman come today to a banquet that I have prepared for the king.” Then the king said, “Bring Haman quickly, so that we may do as Esther desires.” So the king and Haman came to the banquet that Esther had prepared. While they were drinking wine, the king said to Esther, “What is your petition? It shall be granted you. And what is your request? Even to the half of my kingdom, it shall be fulfilled.” Then Esther said, “This is my petition and request: If I have won the king’s favor, and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet that I will prepare for them, and then I will do as the king has said.”

Haman went out that day happy and in good spirits. But when Haman saw Mordecai in the king’s gate, and observed that he neither rose nor trembled before him, he was infuriated with Mordecai; nevertheless Haman restrained himself and went home. Then he sent and called for his friends and his wife Zeresh, and Haman recounted to them the splendor of his riches, the number of his sons, all the promotions with which the king had honored him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and the ministers of the king. Haman added, “Even Queen Esther let no one but myself come with the king to the banquet that she prepared. Tomorrow also I am invited by her, together with the king. Yet all this does me no good so long as I see the Jew Mordecai sitting at the king’s gate.” Then his wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him, “Let a gallows fifty cubits high be made, and in the morning tell the king to have Mordecai hanged on it; then go with the king to the banquet in good spirits.” This advice pleased Haman, and he had the gallows made.

Canticle: A Song of Pilgrimage
Ecclesiasticus 51:13-16, 20b-22

Before I ventured forth,
even while I was very young, *
I sought wisdom openly in my prayer.
In the forecourts of the temple I asked for her, *
and I will seek her to the end.
From first blossom to early fruit, *
she has been the delight of my heart.
My foot has kept firmly to the true path, *
diligently from my youth have I pursued her.
I inclined my ear a little and received her; *
I found for myself much wisdom and became adept in her.
To the one who gives me wisdom will I give glory, *
for I have resolved to live according to her way.
From the beginning I gained courage from her, *
therefore I will not be forsaken.
In my inmost being I have been stirred to seek her, *
therefore have I gained a good possession.
As my reward the Almighty has given me the gift of language,*
and with it will I offer praise to God.

St. Apollos is mentioned several times in the New Testament as a close associate of St. Paul. Apollos is not commemorated in our liturgical calendar, but he is in other churches, including Orthodox and some Lutherans. (intralex.net)

Acts 18:12-28 (NRSV)

But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, “This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law.” Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters.” And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things.

After staying there for a considerable time, Paul said farewell to the believers and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had his hair cut, for he was under a vow. When they reached Ephesus, he left them there, but first he himself went into the synagogue and had a discussion with the Jews. When they asked him to stay longer, he declined; but on taking leave of them, he said, “I will return to you, if God wills.” Then he set sail from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up to Jerusalem and greeted the church, and then went down to Antioch. After spending some time there he departed and went from place to place through the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.

Canticle: A Song of Faith
1 Peter 1:3-4, 18-21

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, *
by divine mercy we have a new birth into a living hope;
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, *
we have an inheritance that is imperishable in heaven.
The ransom that was paid to free us *
was not paid in silver or gold,
But in the precious blood of Christ, *
the Lamb without spot or stain.
God raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory *
so that we might have faith and hope in God.

Luke 3:15-22 (NRSV)

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people. But Herod the ruler, who had been rebuked by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things that Herod had done, added to them all by shutting up John in prison.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

I believe in God,
the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

THE PRAYERS

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray.

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

V. Help us, O God our Savior;
R. Deliver us and forgive us our sins.
V. Look upon your congregation;
R. Give to your people the blessing of peace.
V. Declare your glory among the nations;
R. And your wonders among all peoples.
V. Do not let the oppressed be shamed and turned away;
R. Never forget the lives of your poor.
V. Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you;
R. And your favor to those who are true of heart.
V. Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning;
R. So shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.

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

Collect of the Day: Sergius, Abbot of Holy Trinity, Moscow, 1392

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

For the Nation

Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

No U.S. Deaths in War Last Week; 1 Killed in Carrier Accident
They Have Names, compiled by Clint Gilliland since 2007
September 10-16, 2018
Source: iCasualties

Total War Deaths: 8,423

Iraq: Total Deaths: 4,866
-no U.S. or allied casualties reported this past week-

Afghanistan: Total Deaths: 3,557
-no U.S. or allied casualties reported this past week-

Navy officials have identified a sailor killed a week ago Monday, Airman Apprentice Joseph Min Naglak, hit by a propeller while securing an E-2C helicopter to the flight deck of the aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush. “Those aboard USS George H.W. Bush will mourn Naglak’s passing and remember him always for his devoted service and sacrifice to our nation,” a Navy statement said. Naglak, 21, of West Windsor, New Jersey, joined the Navy in April 2017. He served as an aviation boatswain’s mate (handling) airman apprentice. He attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and, according to his Facebook page, just this month became engaged.

For Those We Love on Active Duty
Patrick
Logan

For Those in the Armed Forces of our Country

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Peace

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

Collect for Mission

Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14++

VIDEO: Glorious things of thee are spoken (#523, Abbots Leigh, Cyril Vincent Taylor; John Newton) – Choir of Salisbury Cathedral, 2012

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