Wednesday morning March 16

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Opening response

Lord, open our lips
and our mouth will proclaim your praise.
Let your ways be known upon earth,
your saving power among the nations.

Prayer of thanksgiving

Blessed are you, Lord God of our salvation,
to you be praise and glory forever.
As a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
your only Son was lifted up
that he might draw the whole world to himself.
May we walk this day in the way of the cross
and always be ready to share its weight,
declaring your love for all the world.
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God forever.


Come, O thou greater than our heart

Charles Wesley
Come, O thou greater than our heart,
And make thy faithful mercies known;
The mind which was in thee impart,
Thy constant mind in us be shown.

O let us by thy cross abide,
Thee, only thee, resolved to know,
The Lamb for sinners crucified,
A world to save from endless woe.

Take us into thy people’s rest,
And we from our own works shall cease;
With thy meek Spirit arm our breast,
And keep our minds in perfect peace.

Jesus, for this we calmly wait;
O let our eyes behold thee near!
Hasten to make our heaven complete:
Appear, our glorious God, appear!

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 55

Cast your burden on the Lord — he will support you!

God, listen to my prayer;
    don’t avoid my request!
Pay attention! Answer me!
    I can’t sit still while complaining.
    I’m beside myself
        over the enemy’s noise,
        at the wicked person’s racket,
        because they bring disaster on me
        and harass me furiously.

My heart pounds in my chest
    because death’s terrors have reached me.
Fear and trembling have come upon me;
    I’m shaking all over.
I say to myself,
    I wish I had wings like a dove!
    I’d fly away and rest.
    I’d run so far away!
    I’d live in the desert. 
    I’d hurry to my hideout,
    far from the rushing wind and storm.

Baffle them, my Lord!
    Confuse their language
    because I see violence and conflict in the city.
Day and night they make their rounds on its walls,
    and evil and misery live inside it.
Disaster lives inside it;
    oppression and fraud never leave the town square.

It’s not an enemy that is insulting me—
    I could handle that.
It’s not someone who hates me
    who is exalted over me—
    I could hide from them.
No. It’s you, my equal,
    my close companion, my good friend!
It was so pleasant when
    together we entered God’s house with the crowd.

Let death devastate my enemies;
    let them go to the grave alive
        because evil lives with them—
        even inside them!
But I call out to God,
    and the Lord will rescue me.
At evening, morning, and midday
    I complain and moan
    so that God will hear my voice.
He saves me, unharmed, from my struggle,
    though there are many who are out to get me.
God, who is enthroned from ancient days,
    will hear and humble them
        because they don’t change
        and they don’t worship God.

My friend attacked his allies,
    breaking his covenant.
Though his talk is smoother than butter,
        war is in his heart;
    though his words are more silky than oil,
        they are really drawn swords:
“Cast your burden on the Lord—
    he will support you!
    God will never let the righteous be shaken!”

But you, God, bring the wicked
    down to the deepest pit.
    Let bloodthirsty and treacherous people
    not live out even half their days.
        But me? I trust in you!

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.

Cast your burden on the Lord — he will support you!

Psalm prayer

Lord, in all times of fear and dread,
grant that we may so cast our burdens upon you,
that you may bear us on the holy wings of the Spirit
to the stronghold of your peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 124

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

If the Lord hadn’t been for us—
    let Israel now repeat!—
    if the Lord hadn’t been for us,
        when those people attacked us
then they would have swallowed us up whole
        with their rage burning against us!
Then the waters would have drowned us;
    the torrent would have come over our necks;
    then the raging waters would have come over our necks!
Bless the Lord
    because he didn’t hand us over
    like food for our enemies’ teeth!
We escaped like a bird from the hunters’ trap;
    the trap was broken so we escaped!
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.

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.

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Psalm prayer

O God, maker of heaven and earth,
through the blood of your Son you have set us free;
help us to put our trust in his victory
and to know the salvation won for us
by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Old Testament reading
Exodus 9:1-12

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, This is what the Lord, the Hebrews’ God, says: Let my people go so that they can worship me. If you refuse to let them go and you continue to hold them back, the Lord will send a very deadly disease on your livestock in the field: on horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, and flocks. But the Lord will distinguish Israel’s livestock from Egypt’s livestock so that not one that belongs to the Israelites will die.” The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” And the next day the Lord did it. All of the Egyptian livestock died, but not one animal that belonged to the Israelites died. Pharaoh asked around and found out that not one of Israel’s livestock had died. But Pharaoh was stubborn, and he wouldn’t let the people go.

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of ashes from a furnace and have Moses throw it up in the air in front of Pharaoh. The ashes will turn to soot over the whole land of Egypt. It will cause skin sores that will break out in blisters on people and animals in the whole land of Egypt.” So they took ashes from the furnace, and they stood in front of Pharaoh. Moses threw the ash up in the air, and it caused skin sores and blisters to break out on people and animals. The religious experts couldn’t stand up to Moses because of the skin sores, because there were skin sores on the religious experts as well as on all the Egyptians. But the Lord made Pharaoh stubborn, and Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had said to Moses.

Silence may be kept.

New Testament reading
Hebrews 12:3-13

Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up. In your struggle against sin, you haven’t resisted yet to the point of shedding blood, and you have forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons and daughters:

My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline
    or give up when you are corrected by him,
because the Lord disciplines whomever he loves,
        and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts.

Bear hardship for the sake of discipline. God is treating you like sons and daughters! What child isn’t disciplined by his or her father? But if you don’t experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters. What’s more, we had human parents who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live? Our human parents disciplined us for a little while, as it seemed best to them, but God does it for our benefit so that we can share his holiness. No discipline is fun while it lasts, but it seems painful at the time. Later, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and weak knees! Make straight paths for your feet so that if any part is lame, it will be healed rather than injured more seriously.

Silence may be kept.

Gospel canticle
The Benedictus (The Song of Zechariah)

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved.

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.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are being destroyed. But it is the power of God for those of us who are being saved.

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

Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
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

Standing at the foot of the cross,
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 bore our sins on the cross,
set us free to serve him with joy.