Monday morning December 28

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Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.
You laid the foundation of the earth
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, sovereign God,
creator of heaven and earth,
to you be praise and glory forever.
As your living Word, eternal in heaven,
assumed the frailty of our mortal flesh,
may the light of your love be born in us
to fill our hearts with joy as we sing:
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


Let Angels and Archangels Sing

Charles Wesley
Let angels and archangels sing
The wonderful Immanuel’s name,
Adore with us our newborn king,
And still the joyful news proclaim;
All earth and heaven be ever joined
To praise the Savior of mankind.

The everlasting God comes down
To sojourn with the sons of men;
Without his majesty or crown,
The great Invisible is seen;
Of all his dazzling glories shorn
The everlasting God is born!

Angels, behold that infant’s face,
With rapturous awe the Godhead own;
’Tis all your heaven on him to gaze,
And cast your crowns before his throne;
Though now he on his footstool lies,
Ye know he built both earth and skies.

By him into existence brought,
Ye sang the all-creating Word;
Ye heard him call our world from naught;
Again, in honor of your Lord,
Ye morning-stars your hymns employ,
And shout, ye sons of God, for joy.

Confession of sin

Come, Holy Spirit of God,
and search our hearts with the light of Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said:
The first commandment is this:
‘Israel, listen! Our God is the one Lord, 
and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, 
with all your being, with all your mind, 
and with all your strength.’

The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’
No other commandment is greater than these.
All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.

Amen. Lord, have mercy.

After a period of reflection

Come, let us return to the Lord and say:

Lord our God,
in our sin we have avoided your call.
Our love for you is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes away early.
Have mercy on us;
deliver us from judgment;
bind up our wounds and revive us;
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

cf Hosea 6

May almighty God,
who sent his Son into the world to save sinners,
bring us his pardon and peace, now and forever.

The Word of God

Psalm 36

Within you, God,  is the spring of life.

I know the sinful utterance of the wicked:
    No fear of God confronts their own eyes,
    because in their own eyes they are slick with talk
    about their guilt ever being found out and despised.
The words of their mouths are evil and dishonest.
    They have stopped being wise and stopped doing good.
They plot evil even while resting in bed!
    They commit themselves to a path that is no good.
    They don’t reject what is evil.
But your loyal love, Lord, extends to the skies;
    your faithfulness reaches the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the strongest mountains;
    your justice is like the deepest sea.
        Lord, you save both humans and animals.
Your faithful love is priceless, God!
    Humanity finds refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the bounty of your house;
    you let them drink from your river of pure joy.
Within you is the spring of life.
    In your light, we see light.
Extend your faithful love to those who know you;
    extend your righteousness to those whose heart is right.
Don’t let the feet of arrogant people walk all over me;
    don’t let the hands of the wicked drive me off.
Look—right there is where the evildoers have fallen,
    pushed down, unable to get 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.

Within you, God,  is the spring of life.

Psalm prayer

O God, the well of life,
make us bright with wisdom,
that we may be lightened with the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 146

The Lord will rule forever!

Praise the Lord!
    Let my whole being praise the Lord!
I will praise the Lord with all my life;
    I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.
Don’t trust leaders;
    don’t trust any human beings—
    there’s no saving help with them!
Their breath leaves them,
    then they go back to the ground.
    On that very same day, their plans die too.
The person whose help is the God of Jacob—
    the person whose hope rests on the Lord their God—
    is truly happy!
God: the maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them,
God: who is faithful forever,
    who gives justice to people who are oppressed,
    who gives bread to people who are starving!
The Lord: who frees prisoners.
    The Lord: who makes the blind see.
    The Lord: who straightens up those who are bent low.
    The Lord: who loves the righteous.
    The Lord: who protects immigrants,
        who helps orphans and widows,
        but who makes the way of the wicked twist and turn!
The Lord will rule forever!
    Zion, your God will rule from one generation to the next!
Praise the Lord!

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 will rule forever!

Psalm prayer

Lord of all,
our breath and being come from you,
yet our earthly end is dust;
as you loose the bound and feed the hungry,
so bring us in your mercy through the grave and gate of death
to the feast of eternal life,
where you reign forevermore.

Old Testament reading
Genesis 37:13-20

Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers tending the sheep near Shechem? Come, I’ll send you to them.”

And he said, “I’m ready.”

Jacob said to him, “Go! Find out how your brothers are and how the flock is, and report back to me.”

So Jacob sent him from the Hebron Valley. When he approached Shechem, a man found him wandering in the field and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

Joseph said, “I’m looking for my brothers. Tell me, where are they tending the sheep?”

The man said, “They left here. I heard them saying, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.

They saw Joseph in the distance before he got close to them, and they plotted to kill him. The brothers said to each other, “Here comes the big dreamer. Come on now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of the cisterns, and we’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we will see what becomes of his dreams!”

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 18:1-10

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

Then he called a little child over to sit among the disciples, and said, “I assure you that if you don’t turn your lives around and become like this little child, you will definitely not enter the kingdom of heaven. Those who humble themselves like this little child will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

“As for whoever causes these little ones who believe in me to trip and fall into sin, it would be better for them to have a huge stone hung around their necks and be drowned in the bottom of the lake. How terrible it is for the world because of the things that cause people to trip and fall into sin! Such things have to happen, but how terrible it is for the person who causes those things to happen! If your hand or your foot causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life crippled or lame than to be thrown into the eternal fire with two hands or two feet. If your eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter into life with one eye than to be cast into a burning hell with two eyes.

“Be careful that you don’t look down on one of these little ones. I say to you that their angels in heaven are always looking into the face of my Father who is in heaven.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

To us is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
and all the heavenly hosts now sing,
Glory to God in the highest.

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.

To us is born a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
and all the heavenly hosts now sing,
Glory to God in the highest.

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, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

Heavenly Father,
whose children suffered at the hands of Herod,
though they had done no wrong:
by the suffering of your Son
and by the innocence of our lives
frustrate all evil designs
and establish your reign of justice and peace;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.

The Lord’s Prayer

Rejoicing in the presence of God here among us,
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 God, who has called us out of darkness
into his marvelous light,
bless us and fill us with peace.