Wednesday morning December 23

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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.


Partners of a Glorious Hope

Charles Wesley
Partners of a glorious hope,
Lift your hearts and voices up!
Nobly let us bear the strife,
Keep the holiness, of life;

Still forget the things behind,
Follow Christ in heart and mind,
To the mark unwearied press,
Seize the crown of righteousness.

Jesus, fill us with thy love,
Never from our souls remove,
Heart to heart unite and bless,
Keep us in thy perfect peace!

In our lives our faith be known,
Faith by holy actions shown;
Faith that mountains can remove,
Faith that always works by 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 128

How abundant is your goodness, O Lord.

Everyone who honors the Lord,
        who walks in God’s ways, is truly happy!
You will definitely enjoy what you’ve worked hard for—
    you’ll be happy; and things will go well for you.
In your house, your wife will be like a vine full of fruit.
    All around your table, your children will be like olive trees, freshly planted.
That’s how it goes for anyone who honors the Lord:
    they will be blessed!
May the Lord bless you from Zion.
    May you experience Jerusalem’s goodness your whole life long.
    And may you see your grandchildren.
Peace be on Israel!

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.

How abundant is your goodness, O Lord.

Psalm prayer

O Christ, our true vine,
may we your branches
be ever fruitful in your service
and share your love and peace with all your children,
in the power of the Spirit and to the glory of the Father.

Psalm 129

The Lord ransoms the life of his servants.

From youth, people have constantly attacked me—
    let Israel now repeat!—
    from youth people have constantly attacked me—
    but they haven’t beaten me!
They plowed my back like farmers;
    they made their furrows deep.
But the Lord is righteous—
    God cut me free from the ropes of the wicked!

Let everyone who hates Zion be ashamed, thoroughly frustrated.
    Let them be like grass on a roof
    that dies before it can be pulled up,
    which won’t fill the reaper’s hand
        or fill the harvester’s arms.
Let no one who passes by say to them:
    “May the Lord’s blessing be on you!
        We bless you in the Lord’s name!”

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.

The Lord ransoms the life of his servants.

Psalm prayer

Jesus our redeemer,
you bore the cut of the lash
for us and our salvation;
help us to bear our sufferings
and to share in the affliction
of all who suffer for your holy name.

Psalm 130

My whole being waits for my Lord.

I cry out to you from the depths, Lord—
my Lord, listen to my voice!
    Let your ears pay close attention to my request for mercy!
If you kept track of sins, Lord—
    my Lord, who would stand a chance?
But forgiveness is with you—
    that’s why you are honored.

I hope, Lord.
My whole being hopes,
    and I wait for God’s promise.
My whole being waits for my Lord—
    more than the night watch waits for morning;
    yes, more than the night watch waits for morning!

Israel, wait for the Lord!
    Because faithful love is with the Lord;
    because great redemption is with our God!
He is the one who will redeem Israel
    from all its sin.

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.

My whole being waits for my Lord.

Psalm prayer

Father, we commend to your faithful love
those who are crying from the depths;
help them to watch and pray
through their time of darkness,
in sure hope of the dawn of your
forgiveness and redemption;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 131

Israel, wait for the Lord.

Lord, my heart isn’t proud;
        my eyes aren’t conceited.
    I don’t get involved with things too great or wonderful for me.
No. But I have calmed and quieted myself
    like a weaned child on its mother;
    I’m like the weaned child that is with me.
Israel, wait for the Lord—
    from now until forever from now!

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.

Israel, wait for the Lord.

Psalm prayer

Eternal God,
calm and quiet our souls;
keep us humble and full of wonder
and trusting as we live in your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Malachi 2:17-3:12

You have made the Lord tired with your words.
You say, “How have we made him tired?”
    When you say:
        “Anyone doing evil is good in the Lord’s eyes,”
        or “He delights in those doing evil,”
        or “Where is the God of justice?”

Look, I am sending my messenger who will clear the path before me;
        suddenly the Lord whom you are seeking will come to his temple.
        The messenger of the covenant in whom you take delight is coming,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.
Who can endure the day of his coming?
        Who can withstand his appearance?
He is like the refiner’s fire or the cleaner’s soap.
He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver.
        He will purify the Levites
            and refine them like gold and silver.
            They will belong to the Lord,
                presenting a righteous offering.
The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord
        as in ancient days and in former years.
I will draw near to you for judgment.
I will be quick to testify against the sorcerers,
    the adulterers, those swearing falsely,
        against those who cheat the day laborers out of their wages
        as well as oppress the widow and the orphan,
            and against those who brush aside the foreigner and do not revere me,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.
I am the Lord, and I do not change;
        and you, children of Jacob, have not perished.

Ever since the time of your ancestors,
        you have deviated from my laws
            and have not kept them.
Return to me and I will return to you,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.
But you say,
    “How should we return?”
Should a person deceive God?
        Yet you deceive me.
But you say,
    “How have we deceived you?”
With your tenth-part gifts and offerings.
You are being cursed with a curse,
        and you, the entire nation, are robbing me.
Bring the whole tenth-part to the storage house so there might be food in my house.
        Please test me in this,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.
See whether I do not open all the windows of the heavens for you
        and empty out a blessing until there is enough.
I will threaten the one who wants to devour you
        so that it doesn’t spoil the fruit of your fertile land,
            and so that the vine doesn’t abort its fruit in your field,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.
All the nations will consider you fortunate,
        for you will be a desirable land,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 19:16-30

A man approached him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?”

Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.”

The man said, “Which ones?”

Then Jesus said, “Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?”

Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.”

But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I assure you that it will be very hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”

When his disciples heard this, they were stunned. “Then who can be saved?” they asked.

Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible for human beings. But all things are possible for God.”

Then Peter replied, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you. What will we have?”

Jesus said to them, “I assure you who have followed me that, when everything is made new, when the Human One sits on his magnificent throne, you also will sit on twelve thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel. And all who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children, or farms because of my name will receive one hundred times more and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

Like the sun in the morning sky, 
the Savior of the world will dawn; 
like rain upon the meadows, 
the Christ will come down upon us.

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.

Like the sun in the morning sky, 
the Savior of the world will dawn; 
like rain upon the meadows, 
the Christ will come down upon us.

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

God our redeemer,
who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of your Son:
grant that, as she looked for his coming as our savior,
so we may be ready to greet him
when he comes again as our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
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.