Thursday morning January 28

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Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.
Your light springs up for the righteous
and all the peoples have seen your glory.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Sovereign God,
king of the nations,
to you be praise and glory forever.
From the rising of the sun to its setting
your name is proclaimed in all the world.
As the Sun of Righteousness dawns in our hearts
anoint our lips with the seal of your Spirit
that we may witness to your gospel
and sing your praise in all the earth.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


Ah! What Avails My Strife

Charles Wesley
Ah! what avails my strife, 
My wandering to and fro? 
Thou hast the words of endless life; 
Ah! whither should I go? 

Thy condescending grace
To me did freely move; 
It calls me still to seek thy face, 
And stoops to ask my love. 

My worthless heart to gain, 
The God of all that breathe, 
Was found in fashion as a man, 
And died a curséd death. 

And can I yet delay
My little all to give? 
To tear my soul from earth away, 
For Jesus to receive? 

Ah! no; I all forsake, 
I all to thee resign: 
Gracious Redeemer, take, oh, take, 
And seal me ever thine! 

Confession of sin

O King enthroned on high,
filling the earth with your glory:
holy is your name,
Lord God almighty.

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

In our sinfulness we cry to you
to take our guilt away,
and to cleanse our lips to speak your word,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the God of all healing and forgiveness
draw us to himself,
and cleanse us from all our sins
that we may behold the glory of his Son,
the Word made flesh,
Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Word of God

Psalm 47

Sing praises to God! Sing praises!

Clap your hands, all you people!
    Shout joyfully to God with a joyous shout!
Because the Lord Most High is awesome,
    he is the great king of the whole world.
He subdues the nations under us,
    subdues all people beneath our feet.
He chooses our inheritance for us:
    the heights of Jacob, which he loves. 
God has gone up with a joyous shout—
    the Lord with the blast of the ram’s horn.
Sing praises to God! Sing praises!
    Sing praises to our king! Sing praises
    because God is king of the whole world!
    Sing praises with a song of instruction!
God is king over the nations.
    God sits on his holy throne.
The leaders of all people are gathered
    with the people of Abraham’s God
    because the earth’s guardians belong to God;
        God is exalted beyond all.

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.

Sing praises to God! Sing praises!

Psalm prayer

As Christ was raised by your glory, O Father,
so may we be raised to new life
and rejoice to be called your children,
both now and forever.

Psalm 48

God, we dwell on your faithful love.

In the city belonging to our God,
    the Lord is great and so worthy of praise!
His holy mountain is a beautiful summit,
    the joy of the whole world.
    Mount Zion, in the far north,
    is the city of the great king.
God is in its fortifications,
    revealing himself as a place of safety.
Look: the kings assembled themselves,
    advancing all together—
    when they saw it, they were stunned;
    they panicked and ran away frightened.
Trembling took hold of them right there—
    like a woman giving birth,
    or like the east wind when it smashes
    the ships of Tarshish.
Just like we had heard,
    now we’ve seen it for ourselves
    in the city of the Lord of heavenly forces,
    in the city of our God.
        May God make it secure forever!
We dwell on your faithful love, God,
    in your temple.
Your praise, God, just like your reputation,
    extends to the far corners of the earth.
        Your strong hand is filled with righteousness.
Let Mount Zion be glad;
    let the towns of Judah rejoice
        because of your acts of justice!
Walk around Zion;
    go all the way around it;
    count its towers.
Examine its defenses closely;
    tour its fortifications
    so that you may tell future generations:
“This is God,
    our God, forever and always!
    He is the one who will lead us
    even to the very end.”

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.

God, we dwell on your faithful love.

Psalm prayer

Father of lights,
raise us with Christ to your eternal city,
that, with kings and nations,
we may wait in the midst of your temple
and see your glory forever and ever.

Old Testament reading
Genesis 15

After these events, the Lord’s word came to Abram in a vision, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your protector. Your reward will be very great.”

But Abram said, “Lord God, what can you possibly give me, since I still have no children? The head of my household is Eliezer, a man from Damascus.” He continued, “Since you haven’t given me any children, the head of my household will be my heir.”

The Lord’s word came immediately to him, “This man will not be your heir. Your heir will definitely be your very own biological child.” Then he brought Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them.” He continued, “This is how many children you will have.” Abram trusted the Lord, and the Lord recognized Abram’s high moral character.

He said to Abram, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land as your possession.”

But Abram said, “Lord God, how do I know that I will actually possess it?”

He said, “Bring me a three-year-old female calf, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a dove, and a young pigeon.” He took all of these animals, split them in half, and laid the halves facing each other, but he didn’t split the birds. When vultures swooped down on the carcasses, Abram waved them off. After the sun set, Abram slept deeply. A terrifying and deep darkness settled over him.

Then the Lord said to Abram, “Have no doubt that your descendants will live as immigrants in a land that isn’t their own, where they will be oppressed slaves for four hundred years. But after I punish the nation they serve, they will leave it with great wealth. As for you, you will join your ancestors in peace and be buried after a good long life. The fourth generation will return here since the Amorites’ wrongdoing won’t have reached its peak until then.”

After the sun had set and darkness had deepened, a smoking vessel with a fiery flame passed between the split-open animals. That day the Lord cut a covenant with Abram: “To your descendants I give this land, from Egypt’s river to the great Euphrates, together with the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.”

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Matthew 26:47-56

While Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came. With him was a large crowd carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “Arrest the man I kiss.” Just then he came to Jesus and said, “Hello, Rabbi.” Then he kissed him.

But Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

One of those with Jesus reached for his sword. Striking the high priest’s slave, he cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put the sword back into its place. All those who use the sword will die by the sword. Or do you think that I’m not able to ask my Father and he will send to me more than twelve battle groups of angels right away? But if I did that, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this must happen?” Then Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, like a thief? Day after day, I sat in the temple teaching, but you didn’t arrest me. But all this has happened so that what the prophets said in the scriptures might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left Jesus and ran away.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

This is the Christ, the Chosen of God, the one who will bring healing to the nations.

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.

This is the Christ, the Chosen of God, the one who will bring healing to the nations.

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


Father, by your Spirit
Bring in your kingdom.

Silence may be kept.

Collect of the day

Almighty God,
whose Son revealed in signs and miracles
the wonder of your saving presence:
renew your people with your heavenly grace,
and in all our weakness
sustain us by your mighty power;
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

Believing the promises of God,
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 Christ, who sends us to the nations,
give us the power of his Spirit.