Wednesday morning December 16

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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.


To Thee, Great God of Love, I Bow

Charles Wesley
To thee, great God of love, I bow,
And prostrate in thy sight adore;
By faith I see thee passing now;
I have, but still I ask for more,
A glimpse of love cannot suffice,
My soul for all thy presence cries.

I cannot see thy face and live,
Then let me see thy face and die!
Now, Lord, my gasping spirit receive,
Give me on eagles' wings to fly,
With eagles' eyes on thee to gaze,
And plunge into the glorious blaze.

The fullness of my vast reward
A blest eternity shall be;
But hast thou not on earth prepared
Some better thing than this for me?
What, but one drop! One transient sight!
I want a sun, a sea of light.

Moses thy backward parts might view,
But not a perfect sight obtain;
The gospel doth thy fullness show
To us, by the commandment slain;
The dead to sin shall find the grace,
The pure in heart shall see thy face.

More favored than the saints of old,
Who now by faith approach to thee
Shall all with open face behold
In Christ the glorious Deity;
Shall see, and put the Godhead on,
The nature of thy sinless Son.

This, this is our high calling's prize!
Thine image in thy Son I claim;
And still to higher glories rise,
Till all transformed I know thy name,
And glide to all my heaven above,
My highest heaven in Jesus’ love.

Confession of sin

When we cry out to the Lord in our distress,
he will save us from our desperate circumstances.

God will bring us out of darkness
and out of the shadow of death.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

A time of silence and self-examination may be kept.

May the Father forgive us
by the death of his Son
and strengthen us
to live in the power of the Spirit
all our days.

Let us thank the Lord for his faithful love,
and his wondrous works for all people.

Let us offer thanksgiving sacrifices
and declare what God has done in songs of joy.

cf Psalm 107

The Word of God

Psalm 75

It is God who is the judge.

We give thanks to you, God. Yes, we give thanks!
    Your name is near. Your marvelous deeds are declared.
God says, “When I decide the time is right,
    I will establish justice just so.
    The earth and all its inhabitants will melt,
    but I will keep its pillars steady.” 
I said to the arrogant,
    “Don’t be arrogant!”
To the wicked I said,
    “Don’t exalt your strength!
        Don’t exalt your strength so highly.
        Don’t speak so arrogantly against the rock.”
Because what exalts someone
    doesn’t come from the east or west;
    it’s not from the south either.
Rather it is God who is the judge.
    He brings this person down,
        but that person he lifts up.
Indeed, there’s a cup in the Lord’s hand
    full of foaming wine, mixed with spice.
    He will pour it out,
    and all of the earth’s wicked people
    must drink it;
    they must drink every last drop!
But I will rejoice always;
    I will sing praises to Jacob’s God!
God says:
“I will demolish every bit of the wicked’s power,
    but the strength of the righteous will be lifted up.”

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.

It is God who is the judge.

Psalm prayer

Judge of all the earth,
restrain the ambition of the proud
and establish among us the reign of the Messiah,
who drained for us the cup of judgment
and is alive with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Psalm 96

Bow down to the Lord in his holy splendor!

Sing to the Lord a new song!
    Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord! Bless his name!
    Share the news of his saving work every single day!
Declare God’s glory among the nations;
    declare his wondrous works among all people
    because the Lord is great and so worthy of praise.
He is awesome beyond all other gods
    because all the gods of the nations are just idols,
        but it is the Lord who created heaven!
Greatness and grandeur are in front of him;
    strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Give to the Lord, all families of the nations—
    give to the Lord glory and power!
Give to the Lord the glory due his name!
    Bring gifts!
    Enter his courtyards!
Bow down to the Lord in his holy splendor!
    Tremble before him, all the earth!
Tell the nations, “The Lord rules!
    Yes, he set the world firmly in place;
    it won’t be shaken.
    He will judge all people fairly.”
Let heaven celebrate! Let the earth rejoice!
    Let the sea and everything in it roar!
    Let the countryside and everything in it celebrate!
    Then all the trees of the forest too
        will shout out joyfully
        before the Lord because he is coming!
He is coming to establish justice on the earth!
    He will establish justice in the world rightly.
    He will establish justice among all people fairly.

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.

Bow down to the Lord in his holy splendor!

Psalm prayer

Lord God, you draw us by your beauty
and transform us by your holiness;
let our worship echo all creation’s praise
and declare your glory to the nations;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 39

At that time, Babylon’s King Merodach-baladan, Baladan’s son, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been ill and had recovered. Hezekiah was pleased, and he showed them his treasury—the silver and the gold, the spices and fine oil—and everything in his armory, all that was found in his storerooms. There wasn’t a thing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah didn’t show them.

Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, “What did these men say? Where did they come from?”

Hezekiah replied, “They came to me from a distant land, from Babylon.”

So Isaiah said, “What did they see in your house?”

Hezekiah said, “They saw everything in my house. There was nothing in my storerooms that I didn’t show them.”

Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the Lord of heavenly forces: Days are coming when all that is in your house, which your ancestors have stored up until this day, will be carried to Babylon. Nothing will be left, says the Lord. Some of your sons, your own descendants whom you fathered, will be taken to become eunuchs in the king of Babylon’s palace.”

Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The Lord’s word that you delivered is good,” since he thought, That means there will be peace and security in my lifetime.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 17:14-21

When they came to the crowd, a man met Jesus. He knelt before him, saying, “Lord, show mercy to my son. He is epileptic and suffers terribly, for he often falls into the fire or the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they couldn’t heal him.”

Jesus answered, “You faithless and crooked generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Then Jesus spoke harshly to the demon. And it came out of the child, who was healed from that time on.

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and said, “Why couldn’t we throw the demon out?”

“Because you have little faith,” he said. “I assure you that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Go from here to there,’ and it will go. There will be nothing that you can’t do.”

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


In faith we pray
We pray to you, our God.

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.