Tuesday morning December 15

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Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.
Reveal among us the light of your presence
that we may behold your power and glory.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God of all,
to you be praise and glory forever.
In your tender compassion
the dawn from on high is breaking upon us
to dispel the lingering shadows of night.
As we look for your coming among us this day,
open our eyes to behold your presence
and strengthen our hands to do your will,
that the world may rejoice and give you praise.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


Arm of the Lord, Awake, Awake!

Charles Wesley
Arm of the Lord, awake, awake!
thine own immortal strength put on;
with terror clothed, hell's kingdom shake
and cast thy foes with fury down.

As in the ancient days appear;
the sacred annals speak thy fame:
be now omnipotently near,
to endless ages still the same.

Thine arm, Lord, is not shortened now;
it lacks not now the power to save;
still present with thy people, thou
bearest them through life's disparted wave.

By death and hell pursued in vain,
to thee the ransomed seed shall come,
shouting, their heavenly Zion gain,
and pass through death triumphant home.

Where pure essential joy is found,
the Lord's redeemed their heads shall raise,
with everlasting gladness crowned,
and filled with love, and lost in praise.

Confession of sin

The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
very patient, and full of faithful love.
He doesn’t deal with us according to our sin
or repay us according to our wrongdoing.
Because as high as heaven is above the earth,
that’s how large God’s faithful love is for those who honor him.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Holy God,
Holy and strong,
Holy and immortal,
have mercy upon us.

As far as east is from west—
that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.

Let my whole being bless the Lord.
Let everything inside me bless his holy name.

Let my whole being bless the Lord,
and never forget all his good deeds.

The Word of God

Psalm 70

Hurry, God, to deliver me;
    hurry, Lord, to help me!
Let those who seek my life be ashamed and humiliated!
    Let them fall back and be disgraced—
        those people who delight in my downfall!
Let those who say, “Aha! Aha!”
    stop because of their shameful behavior.
But let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you,
    and let those who love your saving help say again and again:
        “God is great!”
But me? I’m poor and needy.
    Hurry to me, God!
You are my helper and my deliverer.
    Oh, Lord, don’t delay!

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Psalm prayer

O God, our helper and defender,
deliver us in our weakness,
answer our longings
and vindicate our faith,
that we may see your glory
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 74

God, why have you abandoned us forever?
    Why does your anger smolder
    at the sheep of your own pasture?
Remember your congregation
    that you took as your own long ago,
    that you redeemed to be the tribe of your own possession—
    remember Mount Zion, where you dwell.
March to the unending ruins,
    to all that the enemy destroyed in the sanctuary.
Your enemies roared in your own meeting place;
    they set up their own signs there!
It looked like axes raised
    against a thicket of trees.
And then all its carvings
    they hacked down with hatchet and pick.
They set fire to your sanctuary, burned it to the ground;
    they defiled the dwelling place of your name.
They said in their hearts, We’ll kill all of them together!
    They burned all of God’s meeting places in the land.
We don’t see our own signs anymore.
    No prophet is left.
        And none of us know how long it will last.
How long, God, will foes insult you?
    Are enemies going to abuse your name forever?
Why do you pull your hand back?
    Why do you hold your strong hand close to your chest?
Yet God has been my king from ancient days—
    God, who makes salvation happen in the heart of the earth!
        You split the sea with your power.
        You shattered the heads of the sea monsters on the water.
        You crushed Leviathan’s heads.
        You gave it to the desert dwellers for food!
        You split open springs and streams;
        you made strong-flowing rivers dry right up.
        The day belongs to you! The night too!
        You established both the moon and the sun.
        You set all the boundaries of the earth in place.
        Summer and winter? You made them!
So remember this, Lord:
    how enemies have insulted you,
    how unbelieving fools have abused your name.
Don’t deliver the life of your dove to wild animals!
    Don’t forget the lives of your afflicted people forever!
Consider the covenant!
    Because the land’s dark places are full of violence.
Don’t let the oppressed live in shame.
    No, let the poor and needy praise your name!
God, rise up! Make your case!
    Remember how unbelieving fools insult you all day long.
Don’t forget the voices of your enemies,
    the racket of your adversaries that never quits.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Psalm prayer

Redeeming God,
renew your broken people
with your Holy Spirit,
that they may walk your narrow way,
and greet your coming dawn
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 38:9-20

A composition by Judah’s King Hezekiah when he was sick and then recovered from his sickness:

I thought, I must depart in the prime of my life;
    I have been relegated to the gates of the underworld for the rest of my life.
I thought, I won’t see the Lord.
    The Lord is in the land of the living.
I won’t look upon humans again
    or be with the inhabitants of the world.
My lifetime is plucked up
    and taken from me like a shepherd’s tent.
My life is shriveled like woven cloth;
    God cuts me off from the loom.
Between daybreak and nightfall
    you carry out your verdict against me.
I cried out until morning:
    “Like a lion God crushes all my bones.
Between daybreak and nightfall
    you carry out your verdict against me.
Like a swallow I chirp;
    I moan like a dove.
My eyes have grown weary looking to heaven.
    Lord, I’m overwhelmed; support me!”

What can I say?
    God has spoken to me;
    he himself has acted.
I will wander my whole life
    with a bitter spirit.
The Lord Most High is the one who gives life to every heart,
    who gives life to the spirit!
Look, he indeed exchanged my bitterness for wholeness.

You yourself have spared my whole being
        from the pit of destruction,
    because you have cast all my sins
        behind your back.
The underworld can’t thank you,
        nor can death praise you;
    those who go down to the pit
        can’t hope for your faithfulness.
The living, the living can thank you, as I do today.
    Parents will tell children about your faithfulness.
The Lord has truly saved me,
    and we will make music at the Lord’s house all the days of our lives.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 17:1-13

Six days later Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them to the top of a very high mountain. He was transformed in front of them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.

Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Jesus. Peter reacted to all of this by saying to Jesus, “Lord, it’s good that we’re here. If you want, I’ll make three shrines: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

While he was still speaking, look, a bright cloud overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!” Hearing this, the disciples fell on their faces, filled with awe.

But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Don’t tell anybody about the vision until the Human One is raised from the dead.”

The disciples asked, “Then why do the legal experts say that Elijah must first come?”

Jesus responded, “Elijah does come first and will restore all things. In fact, I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they didn’t know him. But they did to him whatever they wanted. In the same way the Human One is also going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples realized he was telling them about John the Baptist.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Jerusalem, look to the east and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

Bless the Lord God of Israel
because he has come to help and has delivered his people.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
He has brought salvation from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted that we would be rescued
from the power of our enemies
so that we could serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
for as long as we live.
You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
You will tell his people how to be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”

Luke 1:68-79

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen.

Jerusalem, look to the east and see the joy that is coming to you from God.

Brief silence.

The Apostle’s Creed

Let us unite in this historic confession of the Christian faith: 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his 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,
is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and 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.


Intercession and thanksgiving

Prayers are offered
for the day and its tasks
for the world and its needs
for the Church and her life


Lord, hear your people
and answer our prayers.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

O Lord Jesus Christ,
who at your first coming sent your messenger
to prepare your way before you:
grant that the ministers and stewards of your mysteries
may likewise so prepare and make ready your way
by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
that at your second coming to judge the world
we may be found an acceptable people in your sight;
for you are alive and reign with the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.   

The Lord’s Prayer

Awaiting his coming in glory,
as our Savior taught us, so we 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.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and forever.


May the Lord, when he comes,
find us watching and waiting.