Thursday evening December 31

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Opening response

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.
You laid the foundation of the earth
And the heavens are the work of your hands.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
our light and our salvation,
to you be glory and praise forever.
To dispel the darkness of our night
you sent forth your Son, the firstborn of all creation,
to be the Christ, the light of the world.
Rejoicing in the mystery of the Word made flesh,
we acclaim him Emmanuel, as all creation sings to you:
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


In the Midst Do Thou Appear

Charles Wesley
In the midst do thou appear,
Lord, reveal thy presence here!
Sanctify us now, and bless;
Breathe thy Spirit, give thy peace.

While we walk with God in light,
God our hearts doth still unite,
Sweetly each with each combined
In the bonds of duty joined.

Father, still our faith increase:
Cleanse from all unrighteousness,
Thee the unholy cannot see;
Make, oh make us meet for thee!

Mutual love the token be,
Lord, that we belong to thee,
Only love to us be given,
Lord we ask no other heaven.

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 90

I take refuge in you, Lord, my God.

Lord, you have been our help,
    generation after generation.
Before the mountains were born,
    before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world—
    from forever in the past
    to forever in the future, you are God.
You return people to dust,
    saying, “Go back, humans,”
    because in your perspective a thousand years
    are like yesterday past,
    like a short period during the night watch.
You sweep humans away like a dream,
    like grass that is renewed in the morning.
True, in the morning it thrives, renewed,
    but come evening it withers, all dried up.
Yes, we are wasting away because of your wrath;
    we are paralyzed with fear on account of your rage.
You put our sins right in front of you,
    set our hidden faults in the light from your face.
Yes, all our days slip away because of your fury;
    we finish up our years with a whimper.
We live at best to be seventy years old,
    maybe eighty, if we’re strong.
But their duration brings hard work and trouble
    because they go by so quickly.
    And then we fly off.
Who can comprehend the power of your anger?
    The honor that is due you corresponds to your wrath.
Teach us to number our days
    so we can have a wise heart.
Come back to us, Lord!
    Please, quick!
    Have some compassion for your servants!
Fill us full every morning with your faithful love
    so we can rejoice and celebrate our whole life long.
Make us happy for the same amount of time that you afflicted us—
    for the same number of years that we saw only trouble.
Let your acts be seen by your servants;
    let your glory be seen by their children.
Let the kindness of the Lord our God be over us.
    Make the work of our hands last.
    Make the work of our hands last!

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.

I take refuge in you, Lord, my God.

Psalm prayer

Almighty God,
our eternal refuge,
teach us to live with the knowledge of our death
and to rejoice in the promise of your glory,
revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 148

Praise the name of the Lord.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from heaven!
    Praise God on the heights!
Praise God, all of you who are his messengers!
    Praise God, all of you who comprise his heavenly forces!
Sun and moon, praise God!
    All of you bright stars, praise God!
You highest heaven, praise God!
    Do the same, you waters that are above the sky!
Let all of these praise the Lord’s name
    because God gave the command and they were created!
God set them in place always and forever.
    God made a law that will not be broken.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you sea monsters and all you ocean depths!
Do the same, fire and hail, snow and smoke,
    stormy wind that does what God says!
Do the same, you mountains, every single hill,
    fruit trees, and every single cedar!
Do the same, you animals—wild or tame—
    you creatures that creep along and you birds that fly!
Do the same, you kings of the earth and every single person,
    you princes and every single ruler on earth!
Do the same, you young men—young women too!—
    you who are old together with you who are young!
Let all of these praise the Lord’s name
    because only God’s name is high over all.
    Only God’s majesty is over earth and heaven.
God raised the strength of his people,
    the praise of all his faithful ones—
        that’s the Israelites,
        the people who are close to him.
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.

Praise the name of the Lord.

Psalm prayer

O glorious God,
your whole creation sings your marvelous work;
may heaven’s praise so echo in our hearts
that we may be good stewards of the earth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Isaiah 59:15b-21

The Lord looked and was upset at the absence of justice.
Seeing that there was no one,
    and astonished that no one would intervene,
    God’s arm brought victory,
    upheld by righteousness,
    putting on righteousness as armor
    and a helmet of salvation on his head,
    putting on garments of vengeance,
    and wrapping himself in a cloak of zeal.
God will repay according to their actions:
    wrath to his foes, retribution to enemies,
    retribution to the coastlands,
    so those in the west will fear the Lord’s name,
    and those in the east will fear God’s glory.
It will come like a rushing river
    that the Lord’s wind drives on.
A redeemer will come to Zion
    and to those in Jacob who stop rebelling,
    says the Lord.

As for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord.
    My spirit, which is upon you,
    and my words, which I have placed in your mouth
    won’t depart from your mouth,
    nor from the mouths of your descendants,
    nor from the mouths of your descendants’ children,
    says the Lord,
    forever and always.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
John 1:29-34

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is really greater than me because he existed before me.’ Even I didn’t recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him. Even I didn’t recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit coming down and resting is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.”

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Magnificat (The Song of Mary)

When peaceful silence lay over all,
and night was in the midst of her swift course:
from your royal throne, O God, down from the heavens,
leapt your almighty Word.

With all my heart I glorify the Lord!
In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my savior.
He has looked with favor on the low status of his servant.
Look! From now on, everyone will consider me highly favored
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
Holy is his name.
He shows mercy to everyone,
from one generation to the next,
who honors him as God.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those with arrogant thoughts and proud inclinations.
He has pulled the powerful down from their thrones
and lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty-handed.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
remembering his mercy, 
just as he promised to our ancestors, 
to Abraham and to Abraham’s descendants forever.

Luke 1:46-55

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.

When peaceful silence lay over all,
and night was in the midst of her swift course:
from your royal throne, O God, down from the heavens,
leapt your almighty Word.

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.


Thanksgiving and intercession

Thanksgiving may be made for the day.
Intercessions are offered
for peace
for individuals and their needs


Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

Almighty God,
who wonderfully created us in your own image
and yet more wonderfully restored us
through your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as he came to share in our humanity,
so we may share the life of his divinity;
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.