Morning Prayer 27.2.21, George Herbert, Priest & Poet, 1633

Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you.”

Broadway producer, director and actor Douglas Turner Ward has died, the co-founder of the Negro Ensemble Company, which brought together Black artists in high-quality off-Broadway productions that had a wide impact on American theater. Necessity was the mother of invention; there was no work for Black playwrights and actors in 1967, so he created his own venue with a grant from the Ford Foundation. They rented space at the St. Mark’s Playhouse in New York City and proceeded to showcase a parade of African-American stars, including Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson, in plays by Charles Fuller, Lonne Elder III and Joseph A. Walker. Above: actor Robert Hooks, NEC’s executive director, and Mr. Ward, artistic director. (Don Hogan Charles, The New York Times)

Rend your hearts, and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, who is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Joel 2:13

GENERAL CONFESSION

God of all mercy,
we confess that we have sinned against you,
opposing your will in our lives.
We have denied your goodness in each other,
in ourselves, and in the world you have created.
We repent of the evil that enslaves us,
the evil we have done,
and the evil done on our behalf.
Forgive, restore, and strengthen us
through our Savior Jesus Christ,
that we may abide in your love
and serve only your will. Amen.

Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us all our sins through the grace of 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.

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 55

1 Hear my prayer, O God; *
do not hide yourself from my petition.
2 Listen to me and answer me; *
I have no peace, because of my cares.
3 I am shaken by the noise of the enemy *
and by the pressure of the wicked;
4 For they have cast an evil spell upon me *
and are set against me in fury.
5 My heart quakes within me, *
and the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
6 Fear and trembling have come over me, *
and horror overwhelms me.
7 And I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! *
I would fly away and be at rest.
8 I would flee to a far-off place *
and make my lodging in the wilderness.
9 I would hasten to escape *
from the stormy wind and tempest.”
10 Swallow them up, O Lord;
confound their speech; *
for I have seen violence and strife in the city.
11 Day and night the watchmen make their rounds upon its walls, *
but trouble and misery are in the midst of it.
12 There is corruption at its heart; *
its streets are never free of oppression and deceit.
13 For had it been an adversary who taunted me,
then I could have borne it; *
or had it been enemies who vaunted themselves against me,
then I could have hidden from them.
14 But it was you, my companion, *
my own familiar friend, dear to my own heart.
15 We took sweet counsel together, *
and walked with the throng in the house of God.
16 Let death come upon them suddenly;
let them go down alive into the grave; *
for wickedness is in their dwellings, in their very midst.
17 But I will call upon God, *
and the LORD will deliver me.
18 In the evening, in the morning, and at noonday,
I will complain and lament, *
and the LORD will hear my voice.
19 God will bring me safely back from the battle waged against me; *
for there are many who fight me.
20 God, who is enthroned of old, will hear me and bring them down; *
they never change; they do not fear God.
21 My companion stretched forth a hand against a comrade; *
and broke a covenant.
22 The speech of my companion is softer than butter, *
but with war at heart.
23 The words of my comrade are smoother than oil, *
but they are drawn swords.
24 Cast your burden upon the LORD,
who will sustain you; *
the LORD will never let the righteous stumble.
25 For you will bring the bloodthirsty and deceitful *
down to the pit of destruction, O God.
26 They shall not live out half their days, *
but I will put my trust in you.

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.

Jewish men tie phylacteries or tfillin around their heads and their arms, opposite the heart, during morning prayers. These boxes contain copies of four Torah quotations commanding their use. The intent is to keep God’s word nearest one’s mind and heart. Women never wear phylacteries because, the theory goes, women “always” have God on their minds and hearts.

THE LESSONS
Deuteronomy 11:18-28 (NRSV)

You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your ancestors to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.

If you will diligently observe this entire commandment that I am commanding you, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and mightier than yourselves. Every place on which you set foot shall be yours; your territory shall extend from the wilderness to Lebanon and from the River, the river Euphrates, to the Western Sea. No one will be able to stand against you; the LORD your God will put the fear and dread of you on all the land on which you set foot, as he promised you.

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn from the way that I am commanding you today, to follow other gods that you have not known.

Canticle: A Song of Creation
Song of the Three Young Men, 35-65

Invocation

Glorify the Lord, all you works of the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
In the high vault of heaven, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.

I The Cosmic Order

Glorify the Lord, you angels and all powers of the Lord, *
O heavens and all waters above the heavens.
Sun and moon and stars of the sky, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, every shower of rain and fall of dew, *
all winds and fire and heat.
Winter and Summer, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold, *
drops of dew and flakes of snow.
Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O nights and days, *
O shining light and enfolding dark.
Storm clouds and thunderbolts, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.

American bison and baby at Kankakee Sands Prairie Restoration in Newton County, Indiana, about 60 miles south of Chicago. A herd of 23 buffalo was introduced on the property in 2016, and the next spring ten calves were born. (Natural Bloomington)

II The Earth and its Creatures

Let the earth glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills,
and all that grows upon the earth, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas, and streams, *
O whales and all that move in the waters.
All birds of the air, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild, *
and all you flocks and herds.
O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.

III The People of God

Let the people of God glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O priests and servants of the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O spirits and souls of the righteous, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
You that are holy and humble of heart, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.

Doxology

Let us glorify the Lord: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; *
sing praise and give honor for ever.
In the high vault of heaven, glorify the Lord, *
sing praise and give honor for ever.

Christ the High Priest (Living Orthodox Theology)

Hebrews 5:1-10 (NRSV)

Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;

as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Canticle: Song of the Redeemed
Revelation 15:3-4

O ruler of the universe, Lord God,
great deeds are they that you have done, *
surpassing human understanding.
Your ways are ways of righteousness and truth, *
O King of all the ages.

Who can fail to do you homage, Lord
and sing the praises of your Name? *
for you only are the Holy One.
All nations will draw near and fall down before you *
because your just and holy works have been revealed.

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.

Carracci: Christ and the Samaritan Woman. Jews despised Samaritans and avoided all contact with women, but he stayed with them two whole days.

Annibale Carracci (d. 1609): Christ and the Samaritan Woman (Brera Art Gallery, Milan)

John 4:1-26 (NRSV)

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, “Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John”—although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized—he left Judea and started back to Galilee. But he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.

A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?” (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” The woman said to him, “Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?” Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.” The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water.”

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!” The woman said to him, “Sir, I see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

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

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.

Robert White, 1674: George Herbert. He was an English country parson of saintly disposition whose motto, “Nothing is little in God’s service,” reminds us that everything in daily life can be a means of serving and worshiping God. We all have spoken his words many times without knowing it.

Collect of the Day: George Herbert, Priest and Poet, 1633

Almighty God, who called your servant George Herbert from the pursuit of worldly honors to be a poet and a pastor of souls: Give us grace, we pray, joyfully to dedicate all our powers to your service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for Ember Day: For those to be ordained
Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, in your divine providence you have appointed various orders in your Church: Give your grace, we humbly pray, to all who are called to any office and ministry for your people; and so fill them with the truth of your doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before you, to the glory of your great Name and for the benefit of your holy Church; 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.

Prayer for a Pandemic
© Daily Office Network

O God, our creator and preserver, we cry out to you along with our brothers and sisters throughout the world who are struggling to overcome the coronavirus epidemic, where so many lives have been lost already and millions more are threatened. We pray for your grace and mercy that an end to this disease will come soon; and that life, labor, community and human touch will be restored. Give us courage and strength to amend our ways of living in the face of this great human tragedy, cooperating with medical authorities to preserve our own health and safeguard others. Help us overcome our fears and give us confidence to ask this in the Name of your most blessed Son, who came and gave his life so that we might live fully, Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.

A Collect for Saturdays

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and sanctified a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared for the service of your sanctuary, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Saturday Morning Prayer List

For Those Seeking God’s Will
Christine
Jodi
Leah
Shirley
Diocesan Commissions on Ministry

For Religious Orders
Society of St. John the Evangelist, Massachusetts & UK
Society of the Holy Cross, Korea
Society of the Precious Blood, UK, Lesotho & South Africa
Society of the Sisters of Bethany, UK

You’re invited to add your own prayers here.

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.

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.

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: Waters of Babylon (Traditional Jewish melody; Philip Hayes, based on Ps. 137) – Don McLean, 1971

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