Morning Prayer 2.7.20, Moses the Black, Monastic & Martyr, c. 400

But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the LORD says, that is what I must do’?”

Five Demands, Not 1 Less: Hong Kong, Wednesday. (Vincent Yu/AP)

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

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 131

1 O LORD, I am not proud; *
I have no haughty looks.
2 I do not occupy myself with great matters, *
or with things that are too hard for me.
3 But I still my soul and make it quiet,
like a child upon its mother’s breast; *
my soul is quieted within me.
4 O Israel, wait upon the LORD, *
from this time forth for evermore.

Psalm 132

1 LORD, remember David, *
and all the hardships he endured;
2 How he swore an oath to the LORD *
and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “I will not come under the roof of my house, *
nor climb up into my bed;
4 I will not allow my eyes to sleep, *
nor let my eyelids slumber;
5 Until I find a place for the LORD, *
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6 “The ark! We heard it was in Ephratah; *
we found it in the fields of Jearim.
7 Let us go to God’s dwelling place; *
let us fall upon our knees before God’s footstool.”
8 Arise, O LORD, into your resting-place, *
you and the ark of your strength.
9 Let your priests be clothed with righteousness; *
let your faithful people sing with joy.
10 For your servant David’s sake, *
do not turn away the face of your anointed.
11 The LORD has sworn an oath to David; *
and in truth will not break it:
12 “A son, the fruit of your body *
will I set upon your throne.
13 If your children keep my covenant
and my testimonies that I shall teach them, *
their children will sit upon your throne for evermore.”
14 For the LORD has chosen Zion, *
and desired it for the holy habitation:
15 “This shall be my resting-place for ever; *
here will I dwell, for in Zion I delight.
16 I will surely bless the provisions of Zion, *
and satisfy its poor with bread.
17 I will clothe its priests with salvation, *
and its faithful people will rejoice and sing.
18 There will I make the horn of David flourish; *
I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
19 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.

Balaam Blesses the Israelites’ Camp (source on file)

THE LESSONS
Numbers 23:11-26 (NRSV)

Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have done nothing but bless them.” He answered, “Must I not take care to say what the LORD puts into my mouth?”

So Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only part of them, and shall not see them all; then curse them for me from there.” So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah. He built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offerings, while I meet the LORD over there.” The LORD met Balaam, put a word into his mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you shall say.” When he came to him, he was standing beside his burnt offerings with the officials of Moab. Balak said to him, “What has the LORD said?”

Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:
“Rise, Balak, and hear;
listen to me, O son of Zippor:
God is not a human being, that he should lie,
or a mortal, that he should change his mind.
Has he promised, and will he not do it?
Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
See, I received a command to bless;
he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob;
nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The LORD their God is with them,
acclaimed as a king among them.
God, who brings them out of Egypt,
is like the horns of a wild ox for them.
Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,
no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
‘See what God has done!’
Look, a people rising up like a lioness,
and rousing itself like a lion!
It does not lie down until it has eaten the prey
and drunk the blood of the slain.”

Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the LORD says, that is what I must do’?”

Canticle: The Song of Moses
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 Pharaoh 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 to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

(Jesus College Chapel, University of Cambridge, England)

Romans 8:1-11 (NRSV)

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

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.

Parable of the Wedding Banquet; artists often focus more on one guest’s inappropriate apparel than the king’s order sending his servants into the streets to invite more guests. So why is the one without a wedding robe cursed? “Many are called, but few are chosen.” (artist unknown)

Matthew 22:1-14 (NRSV)

Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

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. 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.

Moses the Black, also called Moses of Ethiopia, lived at a desert monastery in Lower Egypt after a life of violence and wantonness. Once when his monks met to punish an errant brother, he arrived carrying a basket of sand with holes in it on his back. He explained that the grains represented his sins, which were now behind him. The monks forgave their sinning brother and everyone went back to their cells. (Iconographer unknown)

Collect of the Day: Moses the Black, Monastic and Martyr, c. 400

Almighty God, whose blessed Son guides our footsteps in the way of peace: Deliver us from paths of hatred and violence, that we, following the example of your servant Moses, may serve you with singleness of heart and attain to the tranquility of the world to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for 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.

U.S. Gun Violence Dips Slightly but Remains Very High

America’s Gun Toll
June 25 – July 1, 2020
Source: Gun Violence Archive

Last Week’s Gun Toll as of 7.1.20

879 total gun deaths last week (vs. 875)
417 murders and unintentional deaths (vs. 413)
462 suicides (est. weekly average)

976 people injured (vs. 1103)
18 mass shootings (vs. 27)
0 mass murders (vs. 1)

10 young children killed (vs. 7)
11 young children injured (vs. 19)
21 teenagers killed (vs. 22)
65 teenagers injured (vs. 68)

1 police officers killed (vs. 0)
6 officers injured (vs. 5)
22 persons killed by police (vs. 23)
12 persons injured by police (vs. 10)

37 defensive use incidents (vs. 23)
40 unintentional shootings (vs. 49)
14 murder-suicides (vs. 8)

A Prayer to End Gun Violence

O Lord our God, we pray for the victims of the other pandemic, as gun violence ravages our homes, our streets, our businesses, schools and houses of worship. We pray for the children killed and injured, for their families and classmates. We pray for teenagers gunned down before their lives have really started. We pray for police officers who keep fighting a never-ending battle, while trying to keep themselves and everyone else safe; and we pray for an end to racial discrimination in law enforcement. We pray for all who are depressed or mentally ill, wanting to hurt themselves or others, in a nation where guns are everywhere. We pray for the victims of crime who are forced to defend themselves and their loved ones. We pray for anti-violence activists and community leaders, in a time when new methods of protest and reform must be created. Let your demands for justice and cries for peace be heard, O Lord, in our legislative chambers and in our hearts; may your healing grace overtake this land, through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

For the Mission of the Church

Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself: We praise and bless you for those whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the Gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and that in every place your servants call upon your Name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours for ever. 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: Wayfaring Stranger (American folk tune, 19th C.) – Trace Adkins, Johnny Cash tribute at the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, 2011

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