Morning Prayer 7.12.18, Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, 397

What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor?
says the Lord GOD of hosts.

New Yorkers have been enchanted over the sudden appearance of a Mandarin duck on the lake at Central Park, with photographers and fans lining the shore for a glimpse. Ornithologists and birdwatchers, though, have been less moved, claiming their only interest is in birds that make their habitat locally, not foreigners imported from East Asia to live on the grounds of mansions in New Jersey, where this bird probably came from. They also profess no interest at all in birds that others deem pretty, because a rare sparrow is just as important – proving again that birders are weird, ’cause this boy is stop-traffic gorgeous. (Seth Wenig/AP)

The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. Isaiah 40:5

CONFESSION OF SIN

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

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

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

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

Psalm 95:1-7

Come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before God’s presence with thanksgiving;
and raise to the Lord a shout with psalms.
For you are a great God;
you are great above all gods.
In your hand are the caverns of the earth;
and the heights of the hills are yours also.
The sea is yours, for you made it,
and your hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down and bend the knee,
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For you are our God,
and we are the people of your pasture, and the sheep of your hand.
Oh, that today we would hearken to your voice!

Psalm 16

1 Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you; *
I have said to the LORD, “You are my Lord,
my good above all other.”
2 All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, *
upon those who are noble among the people.
3 But those who run after other gods *
shall have their troubles multiplied.
4 Their libations of blood I will not offer, *
nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.
5 O LORD, you are my portion and my cup; *
it is you who uphold my lot.
6 My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; *
indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
7 I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel; *
my heart teaches me, night after night.
8 I have set the LORD always before me; *
because you are at my right hand I shall not fall.
9 My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; *
my body also shall rest in hope.
10 For you will not abandon me to the grave, *
nor let your holy one see the Pit.
11 You will show me the path of life; *
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 17

1 Hear my plea of innocence, O LORD;
give heed to my cry; *
listen to my prayer, which does not come from lying lips.
2 Let my vindication come forth from your presence; *
let your eyes be fixed on justice.
3 Weigh my heart, summon me by night, *
melt me down; you will find no impurity in me.
4 I give no offense with my mouth as others do; *
I have heeded the words of your lips.
5 My footsteps hold fast to the ways of your law; *
in your paths my feet shall not stumble.
6 I call upon you, O God, for you will answer me; *
incline your ear to me and hear my words.
7 Show me your marvelous loving-kindness, *
O Savior of those who take refuge at your right hand
from those who rise up against them.
8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; *
hide me under the shadow of your wings,
9 From the wicked who assault me, *
from my deadly enemies who surround me.
10 They have closed their heart to pity, *
and their mouth speaks proud things.
11 They press me hard,
now they surround me, *
watching how they may cast me to the ground,
12 Like a lion, greedy for its prey, *
and like a young lion lurking in secret places.
13 Arise, O LORD; confront them and bring them down; *
deliver me from the wicked by your sword.
14 Deliver me, O LORD, by your hand *
from those whose portion in life is this world;
15 Whose bellies you fill with your treasure, *
who are well supplied with children
and leave their wealth to their little ones.
16 But at my vindication I shall see your face; *
when I awake, I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.

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.

Kansas City, Missouri lit up for Advent 1, 2012. (Eric Bowers)

THE LESSONS
Isaiah 3:8-15 (NRSV)

For Jerusalem has stumbled
and Judah has fallen,
because their speech and their deeds are against the LORD,
defying his glorious presence.

The look on their faces bears witness against them;
they proclaim their sin like Sodom,
they do not hide it.
Woe to them!
For they have brought evil on themselves.
Tell the innocent how fortunate they are,
for they shall eat the fruit of their labors.
Woe to the guilty! How unfortunate they are,
for what their hands have done shall be done to them.
My people — children are their oppressors,
and women rule over them.
O my people, your leaders mislead you,
and confuse the course of your paths.

The LORD rises to argue his case;
he stands to judge the peoples.
The LORD enters into judgment
with the elders and princes of his people:
It is you who have devoured the vineyard;
the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
What do you mean by crushing my people,
by grinding the face of the poor?
says the Lord GOD of hosts.

Canticle: Second Song of Isaiah
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.

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.

Popcorn tinsel with baked orange slices, tied with a coarse ribbon and hung from a Christmas tree: to some people, homemade decorations are better than store-bought. (Ladybird Cottage)

1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 (NRSV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from fornication; that each one of you know how to control your own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one wrong or exploit a brother or sister in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, just as we have already told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. Therefore whoever rejects this rejects not human authority but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you.

Now concerning love of the brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brothers and sisters throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, beloved, to do so more and more, to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one.

Canticle: A Song to the Lamb
Revelation 4:11, 5:9-10, 13

Splendor and honor and kingly power *
are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is, *
and by your will they were created and have their being;
And yours by right, O Lamb that was slain, *
for with your blood you have redeemed for God,
From every family, language, people, and nation, *
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
And so, to him who sits upon the throne, *
and to Christ the Lamb,
Be worship and praise, dominion and splendor, *
for ever and for evermore.

Liz Lemon Swindle: The Widow’s Mite

Luke 20:41 – 21:4 (NRSV)

Then Jesus said to them, “How can they say that the Messiah is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”‘ David thus calls him Lord; so how can he be his son?” In the hearing of all the people he said to the disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

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.

St. Ambrose, at the Church of San Giuseppe alla Lungara, Rome. He was the civil governor of Milan before being named bishop by acclamation in 374; he wasn’t even baptized at the time, and had to study theology after his consecration. He was Nicene in belief and opposed the Arian heresy without inciting violence, making him acceptable to both factions and in time very popular. Antiphonal chanting of the Psalter is attributed to him, and he was a composer of Advent hymns. (Wikipedia)

Collect of the Day: Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, 397

O God, you gave your servant Ambrose grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

A Meditation Attributed to St. Ambrose

Lord Jesus Christ,
you are for me medicine when I am sick;
you are my strength when I need help;
you are life itself when I fear death;
you are the way when I long for heaven;
you are light when all is dark;
you are my food when I need nourishment.

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.

Friday Morning Prayer List

For Those Looking for Work or a New Project
and Those Looking for More Employees
J.M., better use of qualifications
Jack A.
Dina, permanent position
John
Ian
Cathy
Paula
Ann’s husband
Brian
Jim

Financial Needs
For the Homeless
40,000 U.S. veterans (source: National Alliance to End Homelessness)
Residents of tent cities and refugee camps
Those living in shelters, motels, cars, on the streets and in the woods

For the Poor of every nation
For the cold and hungry, hot and thirsty
For those who minister among them
Parish food pantries, gardens and orchards

For Those Facing Danger & Oppression
Christians persecuted in Iraq, Syria, India and Pakistan
Muslims persecuted in China, India, Myanmar, Europe & North America
Jews persecuted in many places
All women and girls of the world
LGBTs in places of violence, especially youth worldwide
Victims of human trafficking

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

Collect for Mission

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

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

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

VIDEO: People Get Ready (Curtis Mayfield) – The Impressions, 1965

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